By Clay Lim SINGAPORE - Local firms will receive help in disclosing data about how well they perform in terms of considering the environment, as well as how they stack up against their peers in the industry, under a new environmental disclosure programme launched on Thursday. The Catalysing Sustainability in Singapore’s SMEs programme is a joint effort by Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) and CDP, a global non-profit organisation specialising in environmental disclosure for companies. Under the programme, local firms will have access to a structured framework that will guide them in disclosing their environmental data and performance, EnterpriseSG and CDP said in their statement. Participating companies will also receive benchmarking data on key performance indicators measured against other companies in their sector, to help them better understand what they lack and what is expected of them, and integrate environmental considerations into their business strategy. Mr John Leung, director of South-east Asia and Oceania at CDP, said: “It is crucial that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are equipped with the tools and resources they need to not only commit to and accelerate environmental action, but also to ensure their own long-term business viability.” To encourage environmental disclosure in Singapore, EnterpriseSG will support participating firms by providing 70 per cent of the programme fees for the first year of disclosure. The newly launched programme is among initiatives EnterpriseSG has rolled out to encourage more companies to focus on sustainability. In October 2021, EnterpriseSG introduced the Enterprise Sustainability Programme (ESP), which provides businesses with an overview of different areas of sustainability and how sustainability can be used as a business strategy. Sustainability courses were added to the programme in January 2022. So far, more than 250 companies from different sectors, such as transport and logistics, retail and lifestyle, and manufacturing have participated in these courses. Recognising the need to implement sustainable practices in the retail industry, retail company TEO Garments enrolled in EnterpriseSG’s ESP Foundational Course. Mr Wilson Teo, managing director of TEO Garments, told The Straits Times: “Sustainability is a rising trend in the fashion industry. As a trusted apparel manufacturer in Asia, it is important for TEO Garments to be abreast of global trends and changing preferences of our global partners.” The course covered various topics, including the different scopes of carbon emissions, sustainable development goals and diverse reporting standards. “The ESP Foundational Course has helped to uplift our management’s knowledge of sustainability by providing an overview of key sustainability topics and information on how to piece together a sustainability plan,” said Mr Teo. EnterpriseSG also provided further resources and financial support to TEO Garments. Ms Tan Song Qing, compliance and sustainability executive at TEO Garments, told ST: “After mapping out our strategic plan, we got support from EnterpriseSG to engage a consultant to help with our annual sustainability report, which is compatible with industry reporting standards.” Since the inception of ESP, EnterpriseSG has also expanded the programme to cover topics such as decarbonisation and sustainable finance, in response to growing interest in these areas. Mr Geoffrey Yeo, assistant chief executive officer of urban solutions, sustainability and enterprise finance at EnterpriseSG, told ST: “Decarbonisation is an increasingly important topic, given the urgency to reduce our carbon footprint, and many companies are interested to find out how to measure their emissions and decarbonise their business operations. “Sustainable finance is another area which is getting a lot of interest from companies, driven by the fact that more financial institutions in Singapore are offering green finance.” Companies keen to embark on sustainability projects in areas such as strategy and product development, resource optimisation and standards adoption can also tap the Enterprise Development Grant, which covers a wide range of projects. EnterpriseSG plans to continuously review and update the ESP according to evolving sustainability trends and industry needs. It is also working with stakeholders to curate basic carbon accounting solutions supported under the Productivity Solutions Grant for businesses, Mr Yeo added.
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.