Temasek Review 2019

Sustaining Our Planet

Climate change is the most urgent and critical global issue of our time. We must act now, together, to sustain our planet for future generations.

The Earth is being pushed to the tipping point. Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that we have barely 10 years to reverse the global carbon and greenhouse gas emissions or face catastrophic consequences sooner than we think. Climate change is already bringing destructive hurricanes and weather extremes. Consequences include forest fires, floods, and crop damage. Lives are being lost, and livelihoods already impacted.

A photograph of a mountain of trash in Terjun Village in Medan, Indonesia, submitted by Saddam Husein for Shoot for Sustainability, a photo competition organised by Temasek.

Governments, businesses, civil societies and individuals must work together to reverse the harm to our planet, and ultimately our people, lives, and livelihoods. We support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as one framework for us to work towards a better and more sustainable world.

Since 2014, we have been promoting Ecosperity – the twinning of ecology and prosperity as a sustainable pathway for growth. Together now, we can achieve an abc World of active and productive economies, beautiful and inclusive societies, and a clean, cool Earth.

We are alert to the issues of climate change, and address these in our investment theses. We share our perspectives with our portfolio companies and stakeholders.

While the risks of climate change are well known and hopefully a catalyst for urgent action, we have the opportunity – for the first time in human history – to begin to reverse the negative impact of human habitation on our planet. Knowing the risks, the opportunity requires our positive action. It will be a long journey, but it starts with the actions we all take. We see the part we can play as consistent with our obligation to do well, do right and do good.

Catalysing Solutions

Temasek seeks to invest in companies and ideas that deliver better lives for more people. Solutions to overcome food, energy, waste and water challenges are key areas of focus.

We worked with the Economic Development Board and the Singapore Food Agency to commission a study on insect production as a form of protein. Edible insects are a potential alternative source of protein to livestock animals like cattle or pigs, and require less feed stock to produce. Findings of the study were made available to budding insect protein companies, providing them with information to help them decide whether to set up operations in Singapore and the region.

We partnered ST Engineering to design the “Airbitat Oasis Smart Bus Stop”, a low-impact solution to help commuters in Singapore beat heat and pollution. The bus stop is equipped with an energy-efficient overhead air cooling and filtration system.

Commuters can enjoy a cooler and more comfortable wait at the “Airbitat Oasis Smart Bus Stop”, located outside Plaza Singapura along Orchard Road.

Together with Singapore Power, we co-funded a waste treatment system at Gardens by the Bay to repurpose unsorted waste into hot water for food & beverage outlets, and biochar for soil remediation.

Further afield, we have invested in environmentally friendlier solutions developed by companies such as Impossible Foods and Perfect Day.

Engaging with our Partners

The name ‘Ecosperity’ twins ecology with prosperity, reflecting our belief that doing good and doing well can – and must – go together. Themed “Tomorrow Starts Today: From Ambition to Action”, the Ecosperity 2019 conference, helmed by Temasek, focused on action to achieve a low carbon and resource efficient future. The discussions explored business approaches and successful collaboration models along the thematic tracks of Circular Economy, Energy Transition and Water Management.

Lim Boon Heng, Chairman, Temasek Holdings, delivering the welcome remarks for the Ecosperity Week this year.

Ecosperity has scaled significantly since its inception in 2014, growing from a single day conference of 200 attendees to a full week of activities this year. Attended by over 3,000 global business leaders, policymakers, investors, entrepreneurs and academics, Ecosperity Week is a platform that drives thought leadership and action on sustainable development. This year’s partner events included the World Bank Group's Innovate4Climate, Business China's FutureChina Global Forum, Temasek Foundation’s The Liveability Challenge, Singapore International Water Week Spotlight, CleanEnviro Summit Singapore Catalyst, and many more.

Organised throughout the year, the Ecosperity Conversations series is a regular touchpoint to engage our portfolio companies and key internal and external stakeholders on sustainability-focused topics, to highlight the business case for sustainable development.

Robert Swan, OBE, the first person in history to walk to both the North and South Poles, interacting with audience members of Ecosperity Conversations.

This year, we formed the Ecosperity Advisory Group. With its expertise on wide-ranging sustainability issues, this group will help shape and sharpen our institutional approach towards sustainability.

We started a programme to engage our portfolio companies more closely on sustainability topics of strategic importance. Through dialogue and other engagement platforms, we are facilitating the sharing of insights and knowledge across the Temasek ecosystem, and in the process, encouraging joint efforts to work towards a sustainable future.

To increase understanding among our colleagues on sustainability issues, we launched a series of sustainability-themed talks, ranging from investible opportunities for the underserved to biodiversity and innovation.