Product development jobs, carbon services to emerge from S'pore's sustainability push: EDB chairman

Singapore is actively pursuing opportunities in carbon capture and storage in its efforts to move towards a green economy. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The Republic's push for sustainability is set to create new types of jobs in research and development, product development, related manufacturing activities and carbon services, said Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) chairman Beh Swan Gin.

The alternative proteins industry is an example of an area with much room for growth, he said.

"Many of the companies setting up here are still trying to refine their product and make it commercially viable. There will be new production activities required to produce these low-carbon substitutes," added Dr Beh, citing the example of Californian start-up Eat Just which produces an egg substitute made from mung bean.

The company announced last year that it had partnered a consortium led by Proterra Investment Partners Asia to build and operate a plant protein production facility in Singapore to cater to the Asian market.

"This (involves) production jobs, and a lot of the skill sets will come from people who have worked in the pharmaceutical biotech and chemical industries, because this is process manufacturing," Dr Beh told reporters on Tuesday (Aug 17) during a virtual interview held in conjunction with EDB's 60th anniversary.

Carbon offsets and carbon trading will also create more carbon services jobs in areas such as verification, he said.

For example, in order for a company cultivating mangroves - which absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) - to sell carbon offsets as its revenue stream, it will need people to verify that the acreage of mangrove can indeed capture a certain amount of CO2.

Singapore is also actively pursuing opportunities in carbon capture and storage in its efforts to move towards a green economy, added Dr Beh.

"Longer term, the hydrogen economy - more broadly - is something we are keeping a close eye on. Right now, the economics don't look right, but with so much attention and investment companies and countries are putting in, perhaps it will become economically viable at a certain point," he said.

Dr Beh noted that the Energy Market Authority is looking at importing electricity generated from green sources.

"This will be another way to lower the carbon footprint from our power sector. We hope that this, in the longer term, can lead to a regional grid that can be useful for South-east Asia because it strengthens the resilience of electricity supply in this part of the world."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.