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How Singapore is enhancing efforts to support local businesses in their sustainability journey in 2024

How Singapore is enhancing efforts to support local businesses in their sustainability journey in 2024

More efforts will be focused on supporting workers in upskilling and reskilling to seize job opportunities in green growth areas, the Singapore Economic Development Board shared.

Amidst transformations spurred by the global transition to a low-carbon and sustainable future, Singapore is ramping up efforts to support businesses in their sustainability journey.

As the Economic Development Board (EDB) affirms, businesses will need to be more aware of their carbon footprint, adapt to meet rising investor and consumer demands on green products and services, and implement decarbonisation and energy efficiency solutions. As such, the Government will step up its support of businesses in these areas, in the following ways.

Supporting workers to upskill and reskill for the green transition

A successful shift to a low-carbon and sustainable economy will require a workforce equipped to ride the green transition.

Therefore, Singapore is supporting its workers in upskilling and reskilling to seize job opportunities in green growth areas and companies on their sustainability journey.

For one such example, the Green Skills Committee (GSC) was set up in 2023, which serves as a joint effort between government, industry, training providers, union and trade associations and chambers (TACS), to develop skills and training programmes for the low-carbon economy. As a start, it focused on sustainability reporting & assurance, and energy.

Moving forward, EnterpriseSG will partner sustainability service providers to give students and workers opportunity to gain exposure to sustainability reporting. This will include offering internships and attachments for students and mid-career working professionals to grow their skills in this area. It will be done through practical training on sustainability reporting projects.

The will further contribute to building the local talent pipeline and expanding the pool of potential sustainability reporting professionals.

In the energy sector, the Energy Market Authority (EMA) is working with training providers to launch training programmes to address clean energy skills gaps identified by the industry. This includes skills for the safe handling of energy storage systems and the planning and execution of high voltage direct current construction projects.

Lastly, Singapore is also harnessing its strengths as a commodities trading, professional and financial services hub to build capabilities in carbon services that can serve the decarbonisation needs in the region and the world. EDB and EnterpriseSG are working with National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University to develop training programmes in carbon management, services and trading in further support for the development of a vibrant carbon services and trading eco-system in Singapore. Further details will be announced by the IHLs later this year.

Enhancing the Energy Efficiency Grant (EEG)

Launched in 2022, the Energy Efficiency Grant (EEG) aims to support businesses in their sustainability journey by co-funding investments in energy-efficient equipment. It was initially introduced for businesses in the food services, food manufacturing and retail sectors. To date, almost 2,000 companies have tapped on EEG.

Moving forward, as announced in Budget 2024, Singapore is expanding the EEG to more sectors, including manufacturing, construction, maritime, and data centres and their users. Existing grant schemes for the adoption of EEG equipment will also be gradually streamlined and subsumed under the EEG.

[ALSO READ: Highlights from Singapore's 2024 Budget Statement impacting employers and HR leaders]

Expanding the Enterprise Financing Scheme (Green)

Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) will be extending the Enterprise Financing Scheme-Green (EFS-Green) by two years until 31 March 2026.

EnterpriseSG first launched the EFS-Green in October 2021 as a way to enable better access to green financing for Singapore companies that develop green technologies and solutions. This further enables them to develop capabilities and capture growth opportunities in the green economy. The EFS-Green provides risk-sharing of 70% to support lending by partner financial institutions to qualified Singapore enterprises. 

To add on, the scheme will be expanded beyond supporting the development of green solutions, to include adopting green solutions which are classified as ‘Green’ or ‘Amber’ under Monetary Authority of Singapore’ newly launched Singapore-Asia Taxonomy for Sustainable Finance (“Singapore-Asia Taxonomy”).

By providing clear science-based criteria and thresholds, the Singapore-Asia Taxonomy ensures that companies taking up the EFS-Green obtain financing to adopt credible technologies and solutions that enable them to reduce their carbon footprint, which in turn accelerates Singapore’s green transition.

New sustainability reporting grant and programme

Climate-related disclosures is a communication tool to help companies be more transparent about the risks and opportunities faced based on its environmental impact. More investors are utilising such disclosures to understand companies’ environmental strategies and make their investment decisions.

EDB and EnterpriseSG is launching a Sustainability Reporting Grant, keeping up with the increasing demand for companies to publish climate-related disclosures, including upcoming regulations to mandate climate-related disclosures for some Singapore-incorporated companies.

This will provide funding support for large companies with annual revenue S$100mn and above, to cover a portion of their costs in producing their first sustainability report in Singapore. This will help companies kickstart their sustainability strategy and sustainability performance reporting journey.

The disclosures are to be consistent with the International Sustainability Standards Board’s (ISSB) standards. The grant defrays up to 30% of qualifying costs, capped at the lower of S$150,000 per company, or 30%, of the qualifying costs in the preparation of their first sustainability report.

While sustainability reporting is currently not mandatory for small and Mmedium sized enterprises (SMEs), it is still quickly  becoming a critical capability given the increasing requirement by large corporates and MNCs to assess their suppliers’ sustainability performance.

To facilitate SMEs in their sustainability reporting, EnterpriseSG will partner appointed sustainability service providers to launch a programme, which will help develop their first sustainability reports. The programme is targeted to be launched in late 2024, and will be available for three years. EnterpriseSG will defray 70% of eligible costs for SMEs participating in the first year of the programme, and 50% of costs for the next two years.

Enhancements to Resource Efficiency Grant for Emissions (REG(E))

Lastly, EDB is enhancing the REG(E) by lowering the carbon abatement threshold from 500 tonnes per annum to 250 tonnes per annum, and will be further bextended beyond March 2024. These enhancements will allow industrial facilities to tap on REG(E) for more projects that improve their energy efficiency and carbon emissions reduction.

Currently, the Resource Efficiency Grant for Emissions (REG(E)) provides support for industrial facilities to undertake projects that improve their energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. This allows companies to stay relevant in a low-carbon future.

Lead image / 123rf.com

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