Public sector to set first carbon emissions target as part of sustainability drive

Public sector to set first carbon emissions target as part of sustainability drive

singapore business district CBD central business district
A view of Raffles Place business district in Singapore. (AFP photo/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s public sector will set a carbon emissions target for the first time as part of the country’s Green Plan 2030, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu announced on Thursday (Mar 4). 

This is one of the four key shifts that the sector will take under the GreenGov.SG initiative, said Ms Fu during her speech as part of a joint-segment on sustainability in Parliament.

“The public service will lead on sustainability as part of the GreenGov.SG initiative which DPM (Heng Swee Keat) announced in his Budget Speech. We will have four shifts,” said Ms Fu.

“First, we will set more ambitious goals for the public service, including a carbon target for the first time. We aim to peak the public sector’s emissions around 2025, ahead of the national target of around 2030.” 

As previously announced, Singapore will aim to halve its 2030 peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and to achieve net zero emissions "as soon as viable" in the second half of the century.

The GreenGov.SG initiative is part of the Green Plan, which was launched earlier last month, and aims to be a “whole-of-nation movement” to advance the national agenda on sustainable development. 

The Green Plan charts Singapore’s green targets over the next 10 years, and is spearheaded by five ministries, including the education, national development and transport ministries. 

READ: Solar power for most schools as MOE aims for 2030 carbon-neutral target

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GreenGov.SG will be a “living plan”, said Ms Fu, adding that details on the initiative will be released over the course of the year. 

The initiative was previously known as the Public Sector Taking the Lead in Environmental Sustainability (PSTLES), which was introduced in 2006 before being enhanced in 2014.

Part of these enhancements included setting targets for electricity and water consumption, as well as green buildings, and requiring each ministry to appoint a sustainability manager to drive efforts within their agency.

READ: Singapore unveils Green Plan 2030, outlines green targets for next 10 years 

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In response to queries from CNA, a spokesperson from the Ministry for Sustainability and the Environment said that the public sector’s emissions as of 2018 is estimated to be about 3.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e). 

This figure includes emissions from Government offices, and public sector infrastructure and operations. 

FURTHER KEY SHIFTS

In addition to setting higher targets, the scope of GreenGov.SG will be expanded, said Ms Fu.

In setting its goals, it will go beyond government-owned offices to include other public sector infrastructure and operations such as public transport infrastructure and healthcare facilities.

“With this expanded scope, the public sector will take on a greater responsibility to enhance the sustainability of our operations,” she noted.

READ: Sustainability targets for built environment sector under newest Green Building Masterplan

In addition, the public sector will “embed" sustainability practices in core business areas and influence service providers and suppliers to be more sustainable, Ms Fu said. 

“One key tool is in green procurement. As a major consumer of goods and services, the public sector can and will influence the industry towards sustainable business choices and practices by incorporating more sustainability requirements in our procurement framework,” said Ms Fu.

With GreenGov.SG, the Government hopes to build “a culture of sustainability” among public servants, said MSE in a press release.

“While the public sector is taking the lead, achieving our goal of sustainable development is a whole-of-nation endeavour,” said MSE. “With the refreshed GreenGov.SG initiative, the Government hopes to inspire our people and partners to embrace green practices and make sustainability a way of life.

“Together, we can chart our way towards a low-carbon and sustainable future for Singapore.”

Source: CNA/mt(mi/ta)

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