30 March 2020

On 4 March 2020, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (“MEWR”) announced key initiatives to build a climate-resilient Singapore.

In its press release, MEWR noted that as a small island city-state, Singapore is vulnerable to the impact of climate change. It is crucial that Singapore continues to strengthen efforts to meet the long-term challenges of climate change. It is also noted that building a sustainable, liveable and climate-resilient Singapore will bring economic opportunities for Singapore’s industries and enterprises as well as create high-value jobs for Singaporeans.

Some of the key initiatives announced by MEWR are set out below.

Mitigating climate change

To complement the comprehensive suite of measures already in place in Singapore, such as zero waste initiatives, MEWR is introducing the following:

  • Reduction of emission of hydrofluorocarbons (“HFCs”): The proper recovery, reclamation and destruction of spent refrigerants will be mandated, along with restrictions on equipment using HFCs with high global warming potential. 
  • Green waterworks: Floating solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems will be deployed by 2021, making Singapore one of the few countries in the world to have 100% green waterworks. 
  • Reducing vehicular emissions: A new Commercial Vehicles Emissions Scheme will be introduced for new light goods vehicles. The Early Turnover Scheme will also be enhanced to encourage the early turnover of existing commercial vehicles. 
  • Coastal protection: The Public Utilities Board (“PUB”) will act as the national Coastal Protection Agency from April 2020, to lead national efforts across the public and private sector. A Coastal and Flood Protection Fund will be set up within PUB, with an initial funding of S$5 billion from the Ministry of Finance.

Transition to circular economy

MEWR has announced the following steps to better manage waste streams:

  • Packaging waste including plastics: Producers of packaged products will be required to collect their packaging data from 1 July 2020 and submit this information to the National Environment Agency (“NEA”) in early 2021. A Deposit Refund Scheme for beverage containers will be implemented by 2022. NEA is also working with government and industry partners to explore establishing a pilot plant that will help anchor the chemical recycling value chain in Singapore within the next few years. 
  • E-waste: A Producer Responsibility Scheme operator will be appointed further to a tender process conducted by NEA. The operator will be appointed by the second half of 2020. Two planned recycling facilities will be completed by mid-2020 and mid-2022.

Combating disruptions to food supply

Climate change is anticipated to affect access to critical resources such as food. The Government will pursue three strategies in this regard: growing food overseas, diversifying food import sources and increasing local food production. MEWR aims to meet 30% of Singapore’s nutritional needs with food produced in Singapore by 2030. Food safety will continue to be safeguarded in Singapore. New initiatives will include optimising land and sea space for food production, facilitating high-tech sustainable farms, and the introduction of new framework for food licensing.

Reference materials

The following materials are available on the MEWR website www.mewr.gov.sg:


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