Singapore keen to partner European businesses in low carbon solutions, green finance: Gan Kim Yong

(From left) EU Ambassador to Singapore Iwona Piorko, Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong, EuroCham Singapore president Federico Donato and EuroCham Singapore executive director Nele Cornelis. PHOTO: EUROCHAM SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - The Republic is keen to partner European businesses to make strides in low carbon solutions and green finance as it establishes itself as a regional carbon service hub, said Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong on Friday (Nov 19).

"We welcome companies across the carbon service value chain to set up or expand their practices in Singapore to unlock the potential of carbon markets in South-east Asia," said Mr Gan at the second edition of the EuroCham Sustainability Awards, organised by the European Chamber of Commerce, Singapore.

The awards recognise companies from Singapore and Europe for their efforts in areas like green finance, biodiversity and agriculture, and the building of sustainable workforces.

Mr Gan said at the hybrid event that Singapore was keen to develop and deploy low-carbon solutions, in areas such as solar and hydrogen power, and carbon capture, utilisation, and storage. "We would be happy to explore collaboration in these areas."

Another area for potential partnerships is in green finance, which enables investments in green technologies, products and services as the world transitions to a low carbon future, added Mr Gan. He noted that Singapore is the region's largest green finance market, accounting for almost half of Asean's total green bonds and loan issuance.

"We are keen to partner European financial institutions in developing sustainability-related capabilities in Singapore, and growing the range of sustainable finance solutions to serve clients in Asia," he said.

The climate crisis is an important area of focus for Singapore and the European Union, both of whom support multilateral action to address climate change, said Mr Gan.

Singapore joined the Powering Past Coal Alliance earlier this month, along with EU countries, pledging to phase out unabated coal from its electricity mix by 2050.

Unabated coal-burning power plants do not use technology to capture the emitted carbon to store or convert it to other substances.

Singapore and the EU are also part of the Global Methane Pledge, a commitment by more than 100 countries to collectively slash emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane by 30 per cent by 2030.

Mr Gan added that Singapore will help businesses leverage the potential of the green economy: "We aim to develop green growth sectors and build new capabilities, and decarbonise at scale by catalysing technology development and piloting new projects."

Six companies bagged awards at EuroCham's event on Friday.

Swedish fashion retailer H & M Hennes & Mauritz won in the green consumer category, food service and facilities management firm Sodexo Singapore in biodiversity and agri-business, and Singtel in the sustainable workforce category.

Swiss banking group Lombard Odier won in green finance, and Engie South East Asia - an arm of French utility company Engie - in smart mobility.

The awards' inaugural Judges' Choice prize went to shipping and logistics company CMA CGM Asia Pacific.

Its chief executive officer Stéphane Courquin said the French-based CMA CGM Group aims to become a net zero carbon company by 2050.

The group currently operates 20 dual-fuel container vessels that are powered by liquefied natural gas, which reduces carbon dioxide emissions. The engines fitted on these vessels are also able to use biomethane, which cuts 67 per cent of such emissions.

(Front row, from right) EuroCham Singapore executive director Nele Cornelis, EU Ambassador to Singapore Iwona Piorko, Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong and EuroCham Singapore president Federico Donato with the award winners. PHOTO: EUROCHAM SINGAPORE

EuroCham president Federico Donato said sustainability has become a top priority for all companies and governments across the globe, with Europe leading in innovation and setting standards.

"Consumers are asking for sustainable producers and investors are increasingly demanding for ESG (environmental, social and governance) compliant solutions. The companies who won't be able to adapt will likely risk becoming obsolete."

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