Green Growth Forum In Singapore
The Singapore and UK governments have jointly organised and held a Green Growth Forum at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore on 3rd & 4th June 2014. There are more and more countries that are striving to achieve Green Growth these days. The main focus of this forum was to exchange experiences, challenges and best practices in dealing with Green Growth from the Asia-Pacific region and Europe.
The forum was attended by over 150 participants from different sectors that include government, industry, industry associations, experts and university. There were government representatives from Singapore, UK, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar that participated this forum. Furthermore, notable speakers such as Dr Arab Hoballah from the Chief of SCP Branch, UNEP (Paris), Dr Piyasvasti Amranand, the former Minister of Energy of Thailand and more gave their professional insights on Green Growth.
This forum has offered a platform for discussion on several components of Green Growth. These components include the financing solutions for Green Growth and energy efficiency that would surely concern governments and industry, the enabling policy frameworks for Green Growth, waste management and waste to energy, engaging big industry players etc.
The Path to Green Growth
The UK, Singapore and Japanese governments gave encouraging figures on how green growth has contributed to their respective economies. This can be reassuring to countries that are in the process of achieving Green Growth.
To arrive at Green Growth, many of the countries agreed that an overall strategy is required to ensure a holistic and coordinated effort by the government and to prioritise efforts and resources. In the UK, there is the “Enabling transition to a Green Economy” strategy document that includes several policy measures encapsulating strong energy efficiency regulations. Among these regulations, there are a 5 year carbon budgets and several targets for government and industry to comply with. Furthermore, a second critical requirement identified by various countries for Green Growth is having a well defined institutional framework. The key elements of this include having a cross-cutting mechanism to enable strong involvement by the entire government. For instance, lets use the UK as an example again, the Prime Minister has mandated the whole government with the responsibility to move towards a green economy with specific roles and targets for key agencies.
Significant elements of Green Growth
As cities are accounted for 20% of the world’s GDP, they are also accountable for substantial numbers of jobs and significant environmental impact in terms of GHG emissions, waste generation, energy use and water consumption. Therefore, an interesting perspective was presented that is the use of cities as engines for Green Growth.
In relation to the industry, several big industry players demonstrated their corporate approaches to Green Growth. Unilever has indicated with solid facts that they have doubled their business while reducing their environmental footprint and improving social outcomes after they embarked on their sustainability programme. They have created a sustainability code for their suppliers and implemented extensive awareness, training and technical assistance programmes. Since Unilever is a major corporation, they can influence a wide range of targets by greening their supply chain. For instance, over 500,000 small holder farmers who are Unilever’s suppliers have been benefited by way of efficiency in production.
In this forum, the concession was that many governments saw energy efficiency (EE) as the starting point to achieve green growth. This is because EE was seen to provide relative quick returns on investment with tangible growth impact. The examples of EE contribution to growth included cost reduction, savings by government, energy security and resilience etc.
Japan, Singapore, Vietnam and UK also presented their renewable energy strategies. The UK, within the space of 10 years, now has more installed wind energy than the rest of the world combined. This has been achieved through clear government targets, strong regulation and meaningful public-private partnerships.
The representative of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Malaysia, Dr Channa Gunawardena has presented Malaysia’s approach on Green Growth through SCP. There were many participants who felt that the Malaysia’s approach was state of the art and builds on best practices and mistakes learnt by other countries. The approach for using SCP to create a fundamental shift in behaviour amongst consumers and industry was lauded.
Through this forum, SCP Malaysia has fostered potential collaborations with many organisations and individuals. For instance, the British high commission in Malaysia has already indicated support for NAMAs activity. In addition, there were several government representatives (Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia) that were interested to participate in any future events of SCP Malaysia.
Please download the Malaysia's Green Growth Through SCP Presentation on the left for further information.