Singapore has been an active player in the fight against climate change. In efforts to build a more sustainable home for future generations, the Singapore government has put together a 10-year plan – the Singapore Green Plan 2030.
While going green can seem like an added cost area for businesses, we cannot put a price tag on a healthier environment. Moreover, businesses that go green may even see cost reduction in the long term, as well as attract employees who are passionate about making positive change.
Similarly, governments, institutions and investors are increasingly scrutinising the ESG impacts of a business before investing and working with them – this means going green can have positive impacts on a company’s topline and ability to raise funds for their projects.
What is the Singapore Green Plan 2030?
Launched in February 2021, the Singapore Green Plan 2030 is a long-term, whole-of-nation sustainable development agenda. With firm action plans that touch upon almost every aspect of our lives, the Green Plan 2030 aims to secure a green, livable, and sustainable home for future generations of Singaporeans.
Spearheaded by 5 ministries, the Green Plan 2030 consists of 5 pillars – City in Nature, Energy Reset, Sustainable Living, Green Economy and Resilient Future.
In his Budget 2021 speech, DPM Heng Swee Keat urged businesses to play their part in protecting the environment. He added that the Government will help businesses seize new opportunities in the green economy with a slew of schemes and initiatives.
While the Green Plan 2030 can seem like a monstrous undertaking by the government, there are ways businesses can also contribute to building a sustainable and green city – and ultimately towards the Green Plan 2030.
#1 Adopt Environmentally Friendly Business Practices
Every action count – regardless of how small. Companies can start by adopting environmentally friendly practices in their workplace such as making consistent efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle the usage of energy, water, plastics and paper.
Businesses can also consider switching to an e-option or cloud-based option for processes that used to require paperwork and filing. This not only saves paper and potentially office space, but also reduces your company’s carbon footprint.
If feasible for certain businesses, considering either partial or complete telecommuting can lead to a significant reduction in power and water consumption. Not only does telecommuting help to save the environment, it also reduces costs incurred from renting an office space and utilising resources to keep it running. If you require employees to come into the office, you can consider subsidising their public transport cost or encouraging car-sharing.
As suggested by the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE), businesses can join programmes such as the Singapore Green Labelling Scheme and Project Eco Office among others to get started. For more comprehensive eco-tips, you may tap on the resources provided by MSE.
#2 Tap On The Green and Sustainability-Linked Loan Grant Scheme (GSLS)
Effective from 1 January 2021, the Green and Sustainability-Linked Loan Grant Scheme (GSLS) seeks to support companies of all sizes to obtain green and sustainable financing. Under the scheme, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will defray up to $100,000 of the expenses that companies incur to validate the green and sustainability credentials of a loan.
The GSLS is valid till 31 December 2023. Accompanying the launch of the GSLS, banks have introduced loan frameworks that qualifies for the scheme.
For example, OCBC’s SME Sustainable Finance Framework, for instance, will allow Singapore SMEs to access sustainable financing of up to $20 million, following an existing framework rather than having to develop their own. Green project categories include, but are not limited to, Clean Transportation, Renewable Energy, Green Buildings and Pollution Prevention and Control. For more information on the framework, click here.
#3 Incorporate Green Projects In Your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Plan
Businesses can consider donating to and/or volunteering at environmental charities as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
For instance, your company could take part in the Plant-A-Tree Programme – an initiative by the Garden City Fund. Businesses who wish to participate in the programme will need to make a minimum donation of $300 which will be used to support the cost of the tree and site preparation. Any balance will be used to fund outreach and education programmes. For more information on how you can take part in this programme, click here.
During Budget 2021, DPM Heng also announced that businesses will continue enjoying a 250% tax deduction on qualifying expenditure incurred from 1 July 2016 to 31 December 2023 when they send their employees to volunteer and provide services, including secondments, to Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs).
Businesses who are passionate about preserving the ecosystem and protecting our biodiversity can also partner with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) through Campaign Sponsorships, Marketing Partnerships and Strategic Philanthropy. For more information click here.
#4 Switch To Fully-Electric Commercial Vehicles
Businesses that require vehicles to support their daily operations can consider purchasing or switching to a fully-electric commercial vehicle. Examples of fully-electric commercial vehicles that are currently available in Singapore include the Renault Kangoo Z.E. Electric, BYD T3 Electric, and the BYD T9R.
Apart from producing zero carbon emissions which charts our nation’s path to a low-carbon future, fully-electric commercial vehicles can help businesses save in the long run. The BYD T3 Electric, for instance, will help you save between $6,374 to $13,841 a year in fuel costs compared to similar combustion engine commercial vehicles.
#5 Rent A Business Space In Buildings That Have Green Mark Certification
Launched in January 2005, the Green Mark certification scheme is a green building rating system designed to evaluate a building’s environmental impact and performance.
Businesses can support buildings that have obtained the Green Mark Certification by choosing to rent office space in these buildings. Do note that tenants may have to commit to promote environmental sustainability, through energy efficiency improvements, positive behavioural changes and healthy practices whilst occupying the building and premises. For example, companies can establish an office policy to ensure that energy efficient settings are enabled on all equipment.
Certain businesses such as developers and building owners can consider obtaining a Green Mark certification for new and existing buildings.
Possible long-term benefits of green projects include, reduction in the usage of energy, water and material resource; improved indoor environmental quality; and a positive effect on leasing and resale value of buildings.
To accelerate the adoption of environmentally friendly building technologies and building design practices, the government introduced the Green Mark Incentive Schemes (GMIS) which consists of 5 different schemes to provide successful applicants with financial support. For more information on the GMIS, click here.
This article was originally published on 18 Mar, 2021 and updated with new information.
Building a Sustainable Future
Be part of the Singapore Green Plan 2030 and achieve your business’ sustainability goals. Fund your green initiatives today with the OCBC SME Sustainable Financing Framework.
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