New scheme to help SMEs adopt sustainable practices

Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu speaking at the Singapore FinTech Association FinTech Awards yesterday. She said that the industry can play an important role in the Singapore Green Plan 2030.
Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu speaking at the Singapore FinTech Association FinTech Awards yesterday. She said that the industry can play an important role in the Singapore Green Plan 2030.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

A new initiative will help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) adopt sustainable practices and capture opportunities in the "green" economy.

The scheme was announced by Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu yesterday, who added that more details will be announced soon.

"Businesses play an important role in Singapore's sustainability journey," said Ms Fu.

"Hence, we will introduce an enterprise sustainability programme to help enterprises, especially SMEs, to grow their capabilities to adopt sustainable practices, solutions and standards, enhance their resource efficiency and capture new business opportunities and sustainability."

The minister was speaking to business leaders at the Singapore FinTech Association (SFA) FinTech Awards, and said that the industry can play an important role in the Singapore Green Plan 2030.

Unveiled yesterday, the plan charts a path towards a more sustainable future for Singapore, and one aim is to transform industries here and develop sustainability as a competitive advantage.

New jobs and business opportunities will also be created in areas such as green finance, sustainability consultancy and credits trading.

Ms Fu also shared that an industry-led group has proposed an idea to develop a marketplace to trade carbon credits. The proposal was made by the Alliance for Action on Sustainability, which was set up last June under the Singapore Together Emerging Stronger Taskforce to get private and people sector players to work with agencies on growth opportunities.

Association of Small and Medium Enterprises president Kurt Wee said the new programme for SMEs is timely and relevant: "It's been a big movement as far as sustainability and environmental issues, going forward, are concerned.

"In Singapore, there has been a rise in SMEs doing clean energy, and a lot of developments in sustainable farming," he said. "For those looking to rethink and re-plan their business over the longer term, sustainability and climate are major topics on their minds."

Ms Fu also urged the fintech industry to make use of initiatives by the Monetary Authority of Singapore that support green projects, adding that Singapore hopes to become the leading centre for green finance in Asia and globally. "Singapore is well poised to not just excel in fintech, but to do so sustainably and enable more sustainable global development," she said.

Ms Fu also announced the setting up of a new subcommittee under SFA that will give fintech companies more opportunities to work together on green initiatives and contribute to the Green Plan.

Yesterday's awards ceremony recognised 26 individuals and organisations for their contributions to fintech. Winners included Ms Caecilia Chu, co-founder and chief executive of payment services company YouTrip, who won the FinTech Leaders Award and Women In FinTech Award.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2021, with the headline 'New scheme to help SMEs adopt sustainable practices'. Subscribe