|PHOTOS: Tan Song Kow|
After a rousing kick off of the APEC SME Summit with keynote speeches by Alibaba Group’s Chairman and CEO, Jack Ma and international movie star and founder of One Foundation, Jet Li, the high-powered conference entered into a series of plenary dialogue sessions.
One of these dialogue sessions —“Opportunities in Green Technology & What does it mean for SMEs?”— was on the subject of sustainable development.
This session featured a panel of green experts such as William Pazos, Managing Director and Head of Carbon, Standard Bank (Singapore), Ralph Dixon, Director of Environmental Investments, YTL Corporation (Malaysia), Edwin Khew, CEO and Managing Director, IUT Global and Chairman, Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS) and Brian Dumaine, Global Editor, Fortune as the panel moderator.
Edwin Khew started the session by providing the SMEs an insightful overview of Singapore’s environmental challenges with climate change in Asia. This has resulted in the growing importance of sustainable development with the need to protect the region’s environment.
However, climate change challenges do present opportunities with environmental factors turning into economic merits for Singapore.
“The Singapore’s government has identified Environmental and Water Technologies (EWT) including clean energy industry as key growth areas for SMEs,” said Khew, “these are strategic areas that will provide Singapore with the competitive edge to generate future economic growth.”
In a move to show that it means (green) business, Singapore’s government has already set aside close to S$700m to build R&D and manpower capabilities in various clean technology areas. It hopes to establish the nation as a test bed for emerging technologies like smart grids and green building technologies
To date, the city-state has attracted leading industry players such as Renewable Energy Corporation and Vestas Wind Systems of Denmark. It is expected that Singapore’s clean energy industry will contribute S$1.7 billion to its gross domestic product and create 7,000 jobs by 2015.