Navigating ESG Grant Opportunities for Singaporean Businesses

Posted by Written by Ayman Falak Medina Reading Time: 4 minutes

Sustainability reporting in Singapore has evolved since the turn of the millennium with reporting provisions for Singapore-based companies have slowly increased.

Since 2016, the Singapore Exchange (SGX) has made it mandatory for all listed companies to disclose and publish an annual sustainability report. These reports are intended to complement the financial reports issued by listed companies and thus show how environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities are being managed.

The Singapore government provides an array of grants and incentives to help companies stay consistent with ESG metrics and transform into low-carbon businesses.

Energy efficiency grant

The energy efficiency grant helps businesses improve their energy efficiency for investments in energy-efficient equipment.

The grant available is up to S$30,000 (US$22,192) as base tier support and up to S$350,000 (US$258,000) for manufacturing firms. The grant is open for manufacturing companies classified under the Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) 10 to 32, food services classified under SSIC 56, and retail firms classified under SSIC 47.

Energy Efficiency Fund (E2F)

Launched in 2017, the energy efficiency fund assists manufacturing companies to invest in energy-efficient technologies as well as other low-carbon initiatives. To qualify, businesses will need an annual group sales turnover not exceeding S$500 million (US$370 million).

The support cap is set at 70 percent of the total qualifying costs. Further, the projects should entail the implementation and utilization of energy-efficient equipment or technologies that have a demonstrated history of conserving energy in an industrial setting. Its primary objective should be to achieve measurable energy savings.

The specific areas of support include:

  1. Resource-efficient design of new facilities or major expansions;
  2. Energy assessment of existing facilities;
  3. Adoption of energy-efficient technologies; and
  1. Implementation of an energy management information system.

3R fund

The 3R Fund serves as a co-funding initiative aimed at incentivizing organizations to diminish waste sent to NEA’s incineration plants and disposal facilities by executing projects focused on waste minimization and recycling.

These projects must result in an increase of the amount of solid waste being recycled or a reduction in the amount of solid waste generated.

The fund is available to any organization based in Singapore, including companies, NGOs, schools, town councils, and NPOs. The fund will cover up to 80 percent of qualifying costs, subject to a cap of S$1 million (US$740,000).

Enterprise Financing Scheme – Green

The Enterprise Financing Scheme – Green, aids project developers, system integrators, and technology and solution providers who innovate technologies and solutions to decrease waste, resource consumption, or greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in areas such as clean energy, circular economy, green infrastructure, and sustainable transportation. Starting from April 1, 2024, support is extended to encompass adopters of green solutions.

Further, the applicant company must have at least 30 percent local equity held directly or indirectly by a Singaporean or a Singaporean PR.

The scheme includes the following loan types:

Development capital – Provides a maximum loan of S$3 million (US$2.2 million) with a maximum loan repayment period of five years. The capital must be used for expenses related to green initiatives such as new product development.

Fixed assets loan – The maximum loan available is S$30 million (US$22.2 million) with a maximum loan repayment period of up to 15 years. The loan must be used for the purchase of equipment related to green initiatives.

Trade loan – Provides trade financing for green products and raw materials with the maximum amount available of up to S$10 million (US$7.4 million). The maximum repayment period is up to one year.

Project loan – Provides financing for completing domestic and overseas green projects. Up to S$50 million (US$37 million) is available with a maximum repayment period of up to 20 years.

Venture debt loan – This program offers financing for companies that have green initiatives using Venture Debts and Warrants. The maximum loan available is S$8 million (US$5.9 million) and a maximum repayment period of up to five years.

Mergers and acquisition loan – This loan provides financing for mergers and acquisitions of enterprises engaging in green initiatives. The maximum loan available is up to S$50 million (US$37 million) with a maximum repayment period of up to five years.

Green Mark Incentive Schemes

The Green Mark Incentive Schemes (GMIS) were established to expedite adopting of eco-friendly building technologies and design principles by offering cash incentives or bonuses based on gross floor area (GFA).

The schemes are of the following:

GMIS for Existing Buildings 2.0 (GMIS-EB 2.0)

A cash incentive is provided to reduce the initial expenses associated with energy efficiency retrofits for building owners who attain elevated energy performance standards, such as Platinum, Super Low Energy, and Zero Energy, for their buildings.

Built Environment Transformation Gross Floor Area Incentive Scheme

Developers and building owners embracing advanced Construction Industry Transformation Map (ITM) standards, particularly in digitalization, productivity, and sustainability (referred to as “ITM Outcome Requirements”), are eligible for additional GFA in private sector developments.

Sustainability reporting grant

Available for large companies with annual revenues of over S$100 million (US$74 million), the sustainability reporting grant will cover up to 30 percent of qualifying costs, capped at S$150,000 (US$111,000), per company, to prepare a company’s first sustainability report.  

To be eligible for the grant, disclosures must align with the standards set by the International Sustainability Standards Board. The administration of the grant falls under the purview of both the Economic Development Board and Enterprise Singapore.

Enterprise sustainability program

The Enterprise Sustainability Program (ESP) aids Singaporean companies, particularly SMEs, in enhancing capabilities and seizing emerging opportunities. Through ESP, a range of courses is available to assist in navigating the sustainability journey, while the Enterprise Development Grant supports diverse capability and product development projects.

Tourism sustainability program

To fortify the tourism sector’s groundwork in sustainability, the Tourism Sustainability Program (TSP) was formulated to bolster Thrust 2 – “Building a Sustainable Tourism Sector” – of the tourism sustainability strategy. The TSP is designed to assist tourism businesses in their sustainability endeavors across all stages of development. It aims to enhance workforce capabilities and foster the creation of innovative solutions to capitalize on opportunities arising from sustainable travel.

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