Temasek annual report: Longer lifespans, sustainable living shaping investment focus

Temasek noted that increasing longe-vity presents both challenges and opportunities. PHOTO: REUTERS

Longer lifespans and a focus on sustainable living have prompted Temasek to look into companies that are developing new therapies for ageing-related diseases and solutions that can lead to people living more fulfilled lives.

These key trends are already influencing the investment firm's investment directions and helping to reshape its portfolio.

Temasek has invested in Neoen, an international solar, wind and energy storage company, as well as Pivot Bio, a synthetic biology firm producing nitrogen-fixing microbes that reduce the need for chemical fertilisers.

"We recognise there is an urgent need for solutions that support sustainable, longer and more fulfilling lives, while protecting the natural environment," it said at its annual review yesterday.

It noted that increasing longevity presents both challenges and opportunities.

Temasek has put money in BeiGene, a China-based firm developing novel therapies for cancer, as well as United States-based Denali, which looks into solutions for neurodegenerative diseases.

Investing in solutions is one of several moves the company is undertaking as it focuses on sustainability, with chairman Lim Boon Heng describing climate change as the "most urgent challenge confronting humanity".

Apart from new investments, Temasek wants to encourage its portfolio firms to look into sustainable solutions as well, said Tema-sek International chief executive Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara.

For example, the district cooling systems that Singapore Power and Keppel have can slash energy use by 40 per cent to 50 per cent, he noted.

Other moves include striving towards its own carbon neutrality with portfolio companies.

Mr Sandrasegara said: "We would like to see that by 2030, the carbon emissions for the entire Temasek group is reduced by 50 per cent."

Head of Americas John Vaske added that Temasek has a framework to incorporate environmental, social and governance considerations in investment decisions.

But Mr Sandrasegara said: "It doesn't mean that we don't invest in companies that have a more carbon-positive trajectory, but the question is, can we help them change, be better and have a better carbon outcome?"

Follow ST on LinkedIn and stay updated on the latest career news, insights and more.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2019, with the headline Temasek annual report: Longer lifespans, sustainable living shaping investment focus. Subscribe