SINGAPORE, July 13 — As part of Singapore’s efforts to build a more sustainable future, the public sector is aiming to cut the waste disposed of by each person by 30 per cent and reduce the sector’s overall energy and water use by 10 per cent by 2030.

All government cars will also be of cleaner energy models from 2023 and run on cleaner energy by 2035, five years ahead of the nationwide target to do so.

These initiatives and others — including a push by the public sector to peak its carbon emissions by around 2025 as part of the Singapore Green Plan 2030 — were outlined yesterday by Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment. 

First announced in February, the plan sets targets across different sectors to help Singapore become more sustainable and reach the nation’s target of peak emissions by 2030.

A separate GreenGov.SG initiative will also see the public sector take the lead in sustainability efforts. The Government had talked about this in March before its official launch yesterday.

As part of the initiative, the public service set the 2025 peak emissions target, five years ahead of the national target. It was the first time the public service had set a carbon emissions target for itself.

Launching the initiative at the Partners for the Environment Forum, Fu said that while government agencies have made good progress in sustainability efforts over the years, they “must do more”.

“The public sector has a responsibility to set the pace in sustainability, drive innovation and create demand,” she said during the event that was streamed on the Facebook page of the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE). 

The forum kicked off the ministry’s annual Climate Action Week, which rallies the community to take collective climate action for Singapore’s sustainable future.

Laying out new targets for the public service under the GreenGov.SG initiative, Fu said that the targets were “more ambitious” than national goals.

“This will require us to use less energy, water and resources by improving the efficiency of our operations and to increase the use of cleaner energy such as solar.” 

The following are the details of the targets to be achieved.

1. Peak public sector carbon emissions around 2025 

  • By 2030, the public sector will increase its solar energy deployment to 1.5 gigawatt-peak across all of its premises where feasible. This will account for three quarters of the national solar target and is equivalent to powering more than 260,000 households yearly
  • All new cars newly procured and registered by the public sector from 2023 will be clean energy vehicles. All government cars will run on cleaner energy by 2035

2. Reduce energy use in 2030 by 10 per cent from average of last three years

  • All new and existing public buildings are to achieve Green Mark Platinum Super Low Energy standards or equivalent, where feasible. The standards require buildings to achieve at least 40 per cent of energy savings based on the prevailing building code
  • Government data centres will achieve the Green Mark Platinum standard by 2025

3. Reduce water use in 2030 by 10 per cent from average of last three years

  • All government premises will install fittings that are rated as three ticks under the Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme. The rating is out of a maximum of four ticks
  • For instance, basin taps must have a flow rate of 2 litres a minute or less, while flushing cisterns must dispense 3.5 litres or less for a full flush, or 2.5 litres or less for a reduced flush

4. Improve waste disposal by 30 per cent by 2030 from 2022’s levels

  • From 2024, food-and-beverage establishments in public sector buildings will segregate food waste for treatment
  • There will be no bottled water provided by agencies at meetings organised within public sector premises

5. Raise standards of green items procured by public sector

  • For integrated compact fluorescent lamps and light emitting diode (LED) bulbs, they have to be rated a minimum of three ticks under the National Environment Agency’s energy consumption rating 
  • IT equipment must meet the latest Energy Star standards. Computers, for example, must activate its sleep mode after half an hour of user inactivity, among other requirements
  • Building products for interior use such as wall and ceiling finishes must be accredited with the Singapore Green Labelling Scheme or Singapore Green Building Certification scheme

Consumers must send ‘strong signal’ 

In a 30-minute fireside chat moderated by energy researcher Melissa Low from the National University of Singapore during the forum, Fu said that it was up to consumers to send a “strong signal” to producers to reduce waste in their production.

“If consumers can send a strong signal… to the vendors that we are looking at how they are managing the production process, how much waste they are reducing and how they are producing sustainability, that will be a strong motivation for companies to go upstream and reduce waste in their process.” 

She was responding to a question from a forum participant on how to regulate responsible consumption.

To boost recycling rates, the Government is looking into improving the recycling infrastructure here.

It is also working with companies from various industries such as those in waste and oil and gas to help them get better value out of their recyclables, Fu said.

On how frequently the Green Plan will be reviewed, Fu said that as a “living plan”, the path towards meeting the plan’s targets are “a work in progress” and will change as technology advances.

The targets will be reviewed on an annual basis but a “major revision” will occur when there is a shift in technologies. This could include finding better ways to build the built environment, to generate electricity or get renewable energy in Singapore, she added. — TODAY