Temasek Holdings chairman Lim Boon Heng has urged businesses to be bold in setting sustainability goals.
He was speaking at Ecosperity, an annual conference hosted by Temasek Holdings since 2014.
Businesses expected to take lead in climate action
In his opening remarks, Lim cited the Global Warming of 1.5°C report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to highlight the urgency to act on climate change.
The report suggested that the world is left with 12 years to limit a "climate catastrophe", which demands businesses to act promptly.
Lim said: "If we make these changes voluntarily, we may have some control over the pace, outcome and consequences of the changes."
"If we don’t make those changes, the planet will make them for us, and the consequences will be very hard on humanity."
The conference gathers global leaders from public, private, academic and non-profit fields to discuss and share best practices on sustainable development.
This year marks the sixth Ecosperity Conference.
Climate change impact mounting
Speaking after Lim, the World Bank's regional vice president of East Asia and Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa cautioned that the impacts of climate change are mounting and can get much worse.
The Minister of Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli also said in his opening speech that "the government cannot address climate change on its own".
Furthermore, Lim also cited a study by Edelman Trust Barometer, which suggested that the public expects businesses to take the lead in developing sustainable solutions.
Sacrifices and radical changes might be necessary
With only 12 years left to prevent a climate crisis, Lim, called upon a collective effort from business leaders.
He said: "I have said this many times: There is no Plan B, because there is no Planet B."
"We need bold businesses to work in partnership with their communities, balancing business outcomes with global sustainability goals."
Sacrifices and radical changes might be necessary to shift to a resource-efficient and low carbon economy in order to avoid crossing the tipping point.
However, any efforts to tackle climate change should be informed and science-based.
Ecosperity Conference is part of the Ecosperity Week, which consists of other sustainability-related events by local partners as well as regional experts.