In this episode of KPMG’s SG Budget 2024 Insights, Chan Xue Pei, Director, Corporate Tax Planning & Compliance, KPMG in Singapore sat down with Sharad Somani, Partner and Head of KPMG ESG, KPMG in Singapore and Cherine Fok, Partner and Head of Our Impact Plan, KPMG in Singapore, to discuss how Singapore can further support businesses and sectors on their path to net-zero.
Read video transcript below.
With only a few years left to meet 2030 sustainability goals, what more can Singapore do in the climate financing space to boost Singapore's position as a climate leader in the region?
Sharad Somani: Climate change is an existential risk for many sectors, companies as well as countries. This can also be a huge opportunity.
If you look at what is required to address the climate challenge, there are three aspects to look at. First is a robust policy framework, second is innovative financing, third is leveraging technology.
Singapore Budget 2024 can highlight some of the specific initiatives in these three areas. On the policy front, we believe that it is important to create more green projects. To conceptualise and showcase those projects, enabling the industry to benefit. On financing, we suggest the creation of a fund which can leverage public, private, and philanthropic capital. Up to $100 billion can be created as a seed fund to drive some of those technologies.
On the technology front, we believe that certain use cases will have to be demonstrated whether it's in the storage space or carbon capture, utilisation & storage (CCUS) space or green hydrogen space. This will motivate the entire ecosystem to drive the climate change agenda in the country.
Let's explore Singapore’s green transition. How can businesses navigate and seize opportunities for growth on their journey to net zero amid greenwashing concerns and complex regulations?
Cherine Fok: This is really an agenda that is all hands-on deck. To Sharad’s point on the three green areas that will need to come together for us to be successful in this green transition, are namely policy, technology, as well as the people.
We really have to be very careful around our talent transition roadmap. For all our sectors and the hard-to-abate ones, we have developed transition roadmaps for decarbonisation. Along with it, our people factor is really strong.
Hence, as a talent hub, Singapore has always been able to hire and attract the best talents. We are talking about the convergence of the top talents in our country, to enable Singapore to lead and blaze the way for environmental, social, and governance (ESG).
Energy stands as a cornerstone in Singapore's robust climate action initiatives. With the COP28 deal on fossil fuels, what areas could the Singapore Budget 2024 prioritise to further amplify efforts in enhancing energy capacity and efficiency by 2030?
Sharad Somani: The big three recommendations coming out of COP28, the agreement reached was on tripling renewable energy, doubling energy efficiency and moving away from fossil fuels.
These are all very critical for Singapore's energy security going forward as well. We have started investing a lot on energy efficiency, we are also importing renewable energy.
The specific initiatives that the Singapore government can rollout as part of this Budget 2024 to support these broad three initiatives.
The first is to attract private capital in the transmission distribution infrastructure because that will be critical as we import more electricity and move towards more regional grids.
The second important aspect is to promote storage technologies. As we have more intermittent renewable energy coming into the system, we require a lot of storage investments. Hence, rolling out policies to support investment in storage will be very critical.
And the third is the need to work across industries to map out decarbonisation roadmaps so that energy efficiency can become part of each and every value chain of the companies.
These are the three specific initiatives we believe will be important as we decarbonise the entire energy sector.
With all this talk on climate change, can you share with us the state of climate reporting and how Singapore can further support businesses with their mandatory climate disclosures?
Cherine Fok: For the large organisations, they are not new to the sustainability reporting journey.
With the regulators as well as the trade associations, they really have been the leaders in terms of adopting various sustainability reporting standards and they are now also getting ready for financial disclosures relating to climate change opportunities as well as exposures.
The next step is really around the adoption of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) standards which are meant for capital markets. For which these companies will report in line with ISSB and the financial reporting standards and this forms a strong basis for capital attraction.
As for the smaller companies, they are still very much on the journey. But rest assured because we have trade association support and a lot of support coming through from the government, as well as the professional services body, to be able to help smaller companies with the transition.
Also available on: