The Government of Singapore unveiled the Singapore Green Plan 2030 (“Green Plan”) in February 2021, a “pan-national movement” to advance Singapore’s national sustainability agenda. An update on the progress of the Green Plan was provided during the Appropriations Committee debate in March 2022 (“Green Plan Progress Update”), where the Government of Singapore made various updates and announcements on the main objectives and initiatives in support of the Green Plan.
The Green Plan sets ambitious and concrete goals for the next decade, reinforcing Singapore’s commitments under the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement.
Main pillars of the Green Plan
The Green Plan seeks to rally bold, collective action to tackle climate change and positions Singapore to achieve its long-term net zero aspiration as soon as possible.
Led by five ministries, the Green Plan includes five key pillars: (i) City in Nature, (ii) Sustainable Living, (iii) Energy Reset, (iv) Green Economy and (v) Resilient Future. In order to achieve these pillars, the Singapore government has put in place a wide range of initiatives and support measures in the areas of research and development, energy, green finance, sustainable tourism and land transport.
Overview of initiatives and support measures
Business Sustainability Program. As part of the Government of Singapore’s efforts to empower, invest in and partner with businesses and communities in the green transition, Enterprise Singapore (“ESG”) has launched the S$180 million Enterprise Sustainability Program to assist Singapore businesses, especially small and medium enterprises, on their journey to sustainability and seize green economy opportunities to remain competitive in the local and global economy. Such support will focus on three key components: developing sustainability capabilities in businesses, building sector capabilities, and fostering a vibrant and enabling sustainability ecosystem. ESG also works with industry partners to develop training workshops and capability or product development projects.
Leading center for green finance. One of the main goals of the Green Plan is to make Singapore a leading center for green finance in Asia and globally. To facilitate Singapore’s transition to a low-carbon economy and spur Singapore’s development as a green finance hub, the Singapore government announced in Budget 2022 that the public sector would issue S$35 billion of green bonds by 2030 to finance public sector green infrastructure projects.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore is also working on a comprehensive long-term strategy to make sustainable finance a defining feature of Singapore’s role as an international financial center and is taking active steps to promote sustainable finance. For example, the Green Finance Industry Task Force has published a detailed implementation guide for financial institutions’ climate-related disclosures, a framework to help banks assess finance transactions eligible green businesses, and a white paper outlining recommendations and laying out a roadmap for scaling up green finance. in the real estate, infrastructure, fund management and transition sectors. Most recently, in June 2022, the Singapore government released the Singapore Green Bond Framework, a governance framework for sovereign green bond issuances. The proceeds of the green bonds issued under this framework will be used to finance expenditure in support of the Green Plan.
Solar deployment. As Singapore moves towards a green and low-carbon future, the Singapore government aims to increase the deployment of solar energy, as well as an increase in the deployment of energy storage to cope with the intermittency solar energy and improve grid resilience. One of the goals is to increase the development of solar energy fivefold to reach at least a peak of two gigawatts by 2030, in order to produce enough electricity to power around 350,000 homes a year. To achieve its solar goal, solar photovoltaic systems have been installed on the roofs of apartments and estates in the Housing Development Board, Changi Business Park, Central Business District and Tengeh Reservoir.
Impact of the Green Plan on Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region
In the Green Plan progress update, the Singapore government raised its ambition to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by or around mid-century. This landmark decision aims to establish the economy’s competitive advantage early in a low-carbon future and create new growth opportunities in industry, services and finance. The Green Plan offers new opportunities in areas such as green finance, carbon services, trade and sustainable tourism in Singapore.
Singapore’s sustainability efforts and ambitions could create new green growth potential for the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. In particular, its strategic position as a regional hub in Southeast Asia can empower the region in its sustainability and decarbonization efforts and accelerate Southeast Asia’s green transition.
The Green Plan demonstrates Singapore’s resolve to take firm action to build a sustainable future and combat climate change. The Singapore government has hailed the Green Plan as a “living plan” that will evolve with Singaporean society as new technologies and solutions present new options.
As sustainability efforts gain momentum in the global economy, it is more urgent for Singapore to meet its targets under the Green Plan if it is to lead the region in sustainable development and finance. Nonetheless, the initiatives and measures already taken by the Singapore government under the Green Plan are proactive and concrete steps towards a low-carbon future.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.