The findings indicate strong support for Singapore’s green ambitions, says Schneider Electric's Yoon Young Kim
A survey conducted by Schneider Electric, the global leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, has found that close to 8 in 10 (76%) business leaders in Singapore are supportive of the country’s efforts to grow its green economy. Most of those surveyed said their companies are also planning to create green jobs in the next 12 months.
The “Singapore Green Pulse” survey, also found that about 9 in 10 (89%) of business leaders support the Singapore government’s plans to advance the green transition, as announced in this year’s Budget. However, only about 4 in 10 (42%) feel they have a strong understanding of the plans and measures.
The “Singapore Green Pulse” survey aims to track sentiments, attitudes, and perceptions towards sustainability in Singapore over time, and serves as a follow-up to the “Building a Greener Singapore” report released by Schneider Electric in October 2021. About 500 business leaders with sustainability responsibilities, from a broad range of industries took part in the survey conducted in March 2022.
Companies are cognisant of opportunities in the green economy
The green economy forms one of the five pillars under the Singapore Green Plan 2030 which outlines the country’s ambitious targets to advance its national agenda on sustainable development. The survey indicates there is a good level of awareness among companies about the opportunities that a green economy will bring, with 78% believing that local businesses can directly benefit from the growth of the green economy in Singapore.
At present, initiatives such as the Enterprise Sustainability Programme (ESP) are available to enable local enterprises to uplift their capabilities and capture opportunities in sustainability. In line with the push to seize opportunities in the green economy, companies are looking to attract and grow their pool of relevant manpower, with 7 in 10 business leaders saying their companies intend to create more green jobs over the year.
Given the profile of business leaders surveyed, these green jobs would be in industries such as energy, construction and buildings, manufacturing as well as transportation. These findings are aligned with a report released by SkillsFuture Singapore in December 2021, which highlighted how there will be more job roles in the various sectors in the green economy, such as sustainability managers, solar technologists and clean energy specialists as well as a growing demand for skills in green process design and carbon footprint management.
Green finance is also an important enabler for the green economy. 8 in 10 (80%) business leaders said they support Singapore’s ambitions to be a green finance and services hub for Asia, with a smaller group (73%) believing their company is well-placed to attract green finance investment.
Business leaders are supportive of higher carbon taxes
In the 2022 Budget, it was announced that Singapore’s carbon tax will be progressively increased to reach S$50 to S$80 per tonne of emissions by 2030, to meet the country’s new target of reaching net-zero “by or around mid-century”. The survey found that more than 8 in 10 (81%) business leaders support increasing carbon taxes in Singapore to fund decarbonisation efforts locally, with close to one in 4 (38%) highly supportive of this. Preparedness is also high with three quarter (73%) already having plans in place to mitigate the impact of carbon taxes on their company’s future profitability and/or sustainability.
ESG and sustainability efforts increasingly matter to companies and employees
The survey revealed that a majority of companies do see the need to have in place an ESG and sustainability strategy as essential, with 81% believing that a strong strategy offers competitive advantages for companies today. Nearly three quarters (73%) also see money spent on ESG and sustainability efforts as an investment in future growth rather than a company cost.
The survey also finds that ESG and sustainability efforts increasingly matter to employees. Close to 9 in 10 (88%) respondents feel their employees are engaged with their company’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and sustainability efforts. This is a marked improvement compared to findings in the Schneider’s “Building a Greener Singapore” report released in October 2021 where only 36% said they believed employees in their organisation are engaged with sustainability efforts.
Nearly three quarters (74%) also believe their company’s ESG and sustainability efforts are attractive in relation to retaining and attracting talent. And an overwhelming 93% of business leaders said that they would be likely to switch the company they work for because of its ESG and sustainability performance.
More are “very confident” they will achieve emission reduction targets
In pursuing a net-zero future, 81% of Singapore business leaders are confident that Singapore companies will achieve their publicly stated emissions reductions targets. Only 36% are very confident of this.
Tapping on green technologies will be fundamental to cutting emissions. The survey finds that 77% think there is currently sufficient investment in new technologies in the public and private sector to improve energy management and efficiency. However, only 28% strongly agree this is the case.
“The findings indicate strong support for Singapore’s green ambitions and increasing momentum among local companies to advance their sustainability agendas. The creation of green jobs, growth of green finance, and investment in technology will be critical to achieving net zero ambitions and other environmental goals. It is important that the private and public sectors continue to work closely together to achieve the country’s goals," says Yoon Young Kim (photo), Cluster President, Schneider Electric Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei.
The “Singapore Green Pulse” survey also asked respondents to rate their views and sentiments on several areas relating to ESG and sustainability performance and emissions reduction