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Businesses should lead the way in sustainability: Minister

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Sustainable practices can help companies and is about stewardship, says Heng Swee Keat

Pursuing sustainable practices is a "matter of survival and of stewardship" and businesses should be leading the way, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat last night.

Mr Heng told the Singapore Apex Corporate Sustainability Awards at the Parkroyal on Pickering hotel that even as "climate change poses a real threat for small island states like Singapore", sustainability is also a matter of survival for businesses.

"Studies show that sound sustainability standards lower a company's cost of capital and result in better operational performance," he said.

"Investor demands and customer expectations are increasingly favouring sustainable businesses.

"Sustainability is also about what we leave behind after our time. We have a duty of stewardship to future generations... Businesses, too, have a duty of stewardship, to their shareholders, their employees, their customers and their community."


Mr Heng said Singapore can build upon its own strengths, such as in the urban solutions space, to make a meaningful contribution in global efforts towards sustainable development.

He cited the new Changi Airport Terminal 4, which is part of the Changi Airport Group's Living Lab programme.

The programme allows the firm to collaborate with companies to test new solutions, such as automation and robotics as well as smart infrastructure management, in a live airport environment.

Mr Heng urged businesses here to take up more of such initiatives, which could see "many exciting solutions" emerge.

The Government, for its part, is also committed to the cause for sustainability. Mr Heng noted that the Government can contribute by aggregating demand for clean energy.

It has ratified the Paris Agreement, with plans to implement a carbon tax on the emission of greenhouse gases.

Awards were conferred on 10 organisations for their performance and innovation in corporate sustainability.

The awards aim to recognise organisations that have demonstrated excellence in sustainability and highlight standards for those aspiring to better their sustainability practices.