Singapore Environment Council partners HSBC to pioneer green incentive

The Singapore Environment Council (SEC) announced on 19 March 2020 that Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) holding its internationally recognized certification, the Singapore Green Labelling Scheme (SGLS), and Eco Certifications can now apply for financing with HSBC SME Green Loan (Green Loan).

The HSBC SME Green Loan draws on existing eco-labeling certifications instead of the externally-reviewed bespoke Green Finance Frameworks typically associated with large corporates, filling a gap in the green financing for SMEs by reducing time, complexity and cost.

It will provide incentive for all businesses to adopt sustainable approaches and SEC can help SMEs with a suite of available internationally recognized programs by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN).

The SGLS has certified more than 830 companies across 3800 industrial and consumer products and is accredited to international ISO 14024 and ISO/ IEC 17065:2012 standards. Its Eco certifications have certified more than 1000 companies over the years.

Bearers of SEC’s green label can apply for the Green Loan for eligible green projects that may include purchase of greener equipment, development or production of sustainable or recycled products, construction or renovation of green buildings or towards the purchase of energy efficient fittings.

Said Ms Isabella Huang-Loh, Chairman, Singapore Environment Council, “we are pleased to be part of the first HSBC pioneering SME Green Loan available to SMEs. The Green Loan will certainly encourage SMEs to increase participation in their action against climate change through innovation of new green products.”

“SMEs can now look forward to access green finance to transform their business model and focus on environmental sustainability. This should spur on green innovative products amidst the pending gloomy global recession,” she added.

Said Mr Zech Chan, Chairman of the Green Label Steering Committee, Singapore Environment Council, “SEC’s internationally recognized certifications and accreditation by GEN and UNEP will help establish clear guidelines, frameworks and mutual appreciation of green initiatives to facilitate assessment for green financing. SEC’s Green Label and Eco certification ensure highest standards with relevant environmental regulations and bridges the gap of understanding and compatibility,”

HSBC Singapore’s Head of Business Banking, Li Lian Ng, added: “We know that SMEs want – and need – to kick-start sustainability initiatives, yet they’ve faced hurdles in accessing finance designated for green projects. Certifications like those of SEC’s offer internationally-aligned and market-leading due diligence, providing businesses with guidance around truly meaningful projects.”

“By utilizing pre-existing green labeling certifications from established organisations such as SEC in assessment criteria, SMEs can shorten the process and the cost associated with loan assessments,” she concluded.