Singapore: A leading Green Economy. Will others be able to follow?
In today’s world, most countries strive for economic growth and development. However, this optimistic goal comes with heavy costs: the depletion of natural resources, also known as scarcity of resources, and environmental damage. To try and avoid such detrimental costs to achieve economic growth, countries must take up Green Initiatives and become what is known as a Green Economy. As per the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a green economy is defined as low carbon, resource-efficient, and socially inclusive. In a green economy, growth in employment and income is driven by public and private investment into such economic activities, infrastructure and assets that allow reduced carbon emissions and pollution, enhanced energy and resource efficiency, and prevention of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services . Singapore is one of the frontrunners leading this movement and taking initiative to become a green economy.
Singapore has taken numerous measures to make sure that economic growth is achieved through sustainable development without compromising the environment. Some of the strategies used and initiatives taken by Singapore to achieve economic growth and a healthy living environment are “Singapore green plan 2030” and the “Sustainable Singapore Blueprint (SSB) 2015”. Singapore has taken early steps toward sustainable development, such as limiting car growth and switching from fuel oil to natural gas, the cleanest form of fossil fuel, to generate power. Natural gas now provides more than 95 percent of Singapore's electricity. These early actions have greatly slowed the rate of increase in our carbon emissions.
Some of the key targets that Singapore is planning to focus on to maintain its Green Plan in the future are City in nature, Green economy, and Sustainable living. Singapore plans to set aside around 200 hectares of land for nature parks. Every household will live within a 10-minute walk of a park. By planting one million more trees across our island, which will absorb another 78,000 tonnes of CO2, we will enjoy cleaner air and cooler shade. With more green spaces, there will be more wildlife around – from migratory birds and hornbills to otters and mousedeers. By 2030, Singapore will be a green and beautiful City in Nature. Combating climate change is a critical competitive advantage that will open up new growth and job opportunities. Singapore has launched a new Enterprise Sustainability Program to assist businesses, particularly SMEs, in embracing and developing expertise in this area in order to ride the green wave. Their goal is to become Asia's and the world's premier centre for green finance. Singapore is looking at ways to raise trips taken on mass public transport from 64% to 75% by 2030. Meanwhile, walking, cycling, and active mobility will be encouraged by expanding the cycling network from 460 km to around 1,320 km by then .
So what can a nation do to be considered as a Green Economy? Well, there are three key factors that must be addressed :
1) Advocacy of macro-economic approach to sustainable economic growth through regional, sub-regional and national fora
2) Demonstration of Green Economy approaches with a central focus on access to green finance, technology, and investments
3) Support to countries in terms of development and mainstreaming of macro-economic policies to support the transition to a Green Economy
By adopting such policies, Singapore is a shining example of sustainable development and other nations can definitely achieve similar results with proper planning and execution.
 - Green Economy. (n.d.). UNEP. Retrieved 2021, from https://www.unep.org/regions/asia-and-pacific/regional-initiatives/supporting-resource-efficiency/green-economy
 - Singapore Green Plan. (n.d.). SG Green Plan. Retrieved 2021, from https://www.greenplan.gov.sg/key-focus-areas/overview#city-in-nature