A study by Schneider Electric has found that the sustainability momentum in Singapore has accelerated strongly over the last 12 months, with nine in 10 (90%) business leaders stating that they now work for organisations with sustainability strategies and policies, compared to less than seven in 10 (67%) a year ago.
Those who believe their organisations are performing “very strongly” on climate change has also doubled to 34%, compared to just 17% a year ago.
The findings are published in the second edition of “Building a Greener Singapore”, launched by Schneider Electric. The study which surveyed 500 business leaders with sustainability responsibilities at organisations in Singapore, was undertaken in September 2022 – one year after the inaugural study in October 2021.
Singapore organisations, including SMEs, are advancing up the sustainability maturity curve
The study found that more organisations are making sustainability a central part of their strategy, with 54% of respondents indicating so, compared to 41% a year before. The number of organisations that have a climate action plan to address climate risk, has also increased to 51%, compared to 40% in 2021.
In terms of sustainability performance, more respondents also believe their organisation is doing all it can to operate sustainably. This was more notable among SMEs with nearly one in two (49%) respondents believing so, compared to just over one third (35%) a year ago.
Yoon Young KIM, Cluster President, Schneider Electric Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, said: “In the past year, we have witnessed many encouraging signs of organisations – small and large – aligning their beliefs towards climate change by matching it with investments for climate action.”
Organisations are also increasingly aligning with global standards of climate reporting such as the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) (46% in 2022 vs 29% in 2021) and Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) (42% in 2022 vs 23% in 2021).
Culture change remains a barrier and room for leadership improvements
While these findings present promising trends, the study also highlights that considerable room for improvement remains. Culture change was identified as the largest barrier to organisations implementing a climate action plan, with almost one in two respondents (48%) citing this as an issue, as compared to 34% in 2021.
This was followed by issues with moving from strategy to action (44%) and financial constraints (42%).
The study also reveals slight dips in important areas such as attitudes around transparency and compliance as well as how engaged leaders and employees are with their organisation’s sustainability efforts.
For example, only 33% of respondents now believe their leadership team cares about sustainability, compared to 40% a year before. This is despite 47% of leaders saying they are now extremely concerned about climate change – up 17percentage points from one year ago.
Further, the survey highlights that views on meeting climate targets have grown more disparate. While the number of business leaders who are very confident in attaining their targets has almost doubled (38% in 2022 vs 21% in 2021), the number of those who are not confident has about doubled too (12% in 2022 vs 6% in 2021).
Technology adoption and energy transition will continue to drive momentum
Looking ahead, stronger momentum is indicated around technology adoption and energy transition, as business leaders work to fund energy and sustainability initiatives from a broader range of sources.
Nearly nine out of 10 (87%) organisations including SMEs are now either fully or partially utilising new technologies available to them to address sustainability challenges.
Close to three quarters (71%) of business leaders believe their organisation is making good progress in energy management and are transitioning towards renewables – this marks a 10-percentage point increase over the past 12 months. This increase could be partially attributable to increased concerns in climate change and its associated impacts (50%) and carbon or energy regulation (56%).