Masagos urges firms to check on emissions

Singtel is the first company in Asia, aside from Japan, to have its carbon reduction targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative - an organisation specialising in advising companies on how much they should be decreasing carbon emissions.

"I applaud Singtel for taking the lead in corporate responsibility and ask that more companies, big and small, undertake efforts to study and publish their carbon footprint," said Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, at his opening plenary address at the second day of the Responsible Business Forum yesterday.

Singtel have set an ambitious target, as Mr Masagos put it, due to a potential increase in energy consumption as they expand their network. Singtel has also endorsed the new reporting recommendations made by the international Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures on climate-change risk.

Mr Masagos encouraged more companies to work towards strength in the face of climate change.

He said: "We have seen examples where such decisions help businesses stay sustainable and profitable as the world transits to a low-carbon economy."

Mr Masagos also highlighted Singapore's agreement, under the Paris Agreement, to lower carbon emission intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels despite the fact that Singapore contributes a mere 0.11 per cent of global emissions.

Singapore's 2019 plans to introduce a price signal for companies to reduce emissions - a carbon tax - were highlighted, for the promise they bring in encouraging companies to reduce their carbon footprint.

"The revenue collected from the carbon tax will go into supporting initiatives to improve industry energy efficiency," Mr Masagos said.

Singapore's sunny weather comes in handy for its potential to harness solar energy. Of all the renewable energy sources, Mr Masagos highlighted, solar power brings Singapore the most promise.

He said that to do this, "research centres, such as the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore, and the Energy Research Institute at Nanyang Technological University, are collaborating with industry".

Singapore has had interaction with international partners and 112,000 officials visiting from developing countries to focus on sustainable development and other key areas.

MrMasagos closed the speech with his call to governments, the United Nations, businesses and the public for unity in working towards a sustainable future.

The Responsible Business Forum in Singapore was a start in making this happen.

He said: "I encourage all of you to take the opportunity at this forum to think about how your initiatives can help to accelerate action on sustainable development."

Shelina Ajit Assomull

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2017, with the headline 'Masagos urges firms to check on emissions'. Print Edition | Subscribe