S'pore public sector to take the lead in sustainability with new & more ambitious targets: Grace Fu

More than 1,600 buildings in Singapore will be subject to these sustainability targets.

Zi Shan Kow | July 12, 2021, 03:36 PM

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During the Partners for the Environment Forum held on July 12, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu laid out the plans for how the public sector will take the lead in Singapore's sustainability goals.

During her opening speech, Fu introduces the details of the GreenGov.SG initiative, the public sector's contribution to Singapore's Green Plan 2030.

This builds on earlier efforts under the Public Sector Taking the Lead in Environmental Sustainability (PSTLES) initiative.

According to Fu, "The public sector has a responsibility to set the pace in sustainability, drive innovation and create demand."

GreenGov.SG has three pillars: Excel, Enable, and Excite.

Excel: Ambitious targets

For the first time, the government is introducing new and ambitious carbon emissions targets for the public sector.

The sector aims to peak carbon emissions reduction target for the public sector around 2025, five years ahead of our national target.

To achieve this, all new government cars will be of cleaner energy models from 2023, and all government cars will run on cleaner energy by 2035, five years ahead of the national 2040 target.

By 2030, the public sector will increase solar energy deployment to 1.5 gigawatt-peak, which is equivalent to powering more than 260,000 households a year. This will account for three quarters of the national solar target of 2 gigawatt-peak by 2030.

The public sector also aims to reduce energy and water use by 10 percent from the average of last three years.

For waste, the amount of waste disposed is targeted to be reduced by 30 per cent by 2030 from 2022 levels. For example, the public sector will stop providing bottled water at buildings within their premises and all agencies have to implement recycling programmes.

Beyond government offices and schools, GreenGov.SG will also green all public sector's infrastructure and operations, including hawker centres, universities and public transport infrastructure. This means a total of more than 1,600 buildings in Singapore will be subject to these sustainability targets.

For example, the government aims to improve the NEWater process by halving the amount of energy used to produce desalinated water and exploring new technologies in reverse osmosis.

Enable: Embedding sustainability

As a major buyer of goods and services, Fu shared that "the public sector will influence our service providers and suppliers to be more sustainable, and encourage our companies to grow their capabilities to thrive in the low-carbon global economy."

Government agencies will be required to purchase products that meet high efficiency or sustainability standards.

This measure is expanding to include eco-friendly building materials, most efficient electrical appliances and water fittings.

By doing this, Fu hopes to "trigger a mindset shift amongst our procurement officers, suppliers and partners, and create a ripple effect in the wider economy."

Through education and community based programmes, Fu aims to continue educating and raising awareness on sustainability issues.

One such showcase of sustainability features will be seen at Senja hawker centre, featuring food waste digesters, rainwater harvesting and solar panels.

Excite: Mobilise public officers

GreenGov.SG encourages our public officers to practise sustainability in their work and daily lives and build a culture of sustainability in the public service.

"Sustainability is a key plank of public sector transformation, and public sector leaders will have opportunities to exchange ideas and best practices with one another and with the offices to foster collective ownership of our sustainability drive," Fu said.

Regular sharing sessions by industry professionals and technical experts will be organised within the public sector to promote the exchange of ideas, best practices and latest technological solutions.

These conversations aim to inspire and support public officers to champion ground-up initiatives.

Beginning with our public servants, the government will also organise campaigns to "raise awareness and encourage public raise awareness to take simple steps to lead a more sustainable lifestyle", Fu said.

While the public service will lead the charge towards a more sustainable and low carbon future through the GreenGov.SG, Fu also emphasised the participation from scientists to develop new technologies and business leaders to provide goods and services in a more resilient and sustainable manner.

According to Fu, the GreenGov.SG plan will be reviewed on a yearly basis and updated every few years, with major revisions when possibly major technological shifts occur.

The Partners for the Environment (PFE) Forum also kicks off Climate Action Week from July 12 to 18, with more than 130 activities.


Top image via Getty Images