Mr Lars Svensson
Sustainability and Communication Director of IKEA Southeast Asia
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Good afternoon. Before I begin, allow me to express my condolences on the recent passing of your founder, Ingvar Kamprad, whose pioneering work has made IKEA into the worldwide brand it is today. I am glad that the IKEA Concept – which has sustainability at its core, continues on.
2. The installation of solar collectors at Alexandra, and solar panels at Tampines, are a boost to IKEA’s sustainability efforts, and shows that environment and economic objectives need not be at odds. In fact, by embarking on green and sustainable practices, it is good for business, the environment, and people. These efforts are also a step towards reducing IKEA’s carbon footprint and taking climate action. The solar energy harnessed will be used to power the cooling systems at the Alexandra store, and cut approximately 10% of electrical costs at the Tampines store. This is commendable.
Sustainable Development and Deployment of Solar Energy
3. As energy demand in Singapore grows, we will continue to explore all energy options to meet our needs in a secure, competitive and sustainable manner. Among the clean energy options, solar energy is the most feasible for Singapore. Under the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint, we plan to raise the adoption of solar power in our system to 350 megawatt peak (MWp) by 2020.
4. We are taking proactive steps to support solar deployment in Singapore. Through the SolarNova Programme, we intend to provide lead demand in solar energy, to build industry capacity in this sector. Other initiatives include the piloting of a floating solar photovoltaic (PV) installation in Tengeh Reservoir, the Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator (REID) micro-grid test-bed on Pulau Semakau, and the Energy Market Authority’s $6.2 million research grant to develop solar forecasting capabilities. Such projects can be the seeds for scaling-up innovative clean technologies in Singapore, as well as regional markets. All these initiatives become even more important as we face the threat of climate change.
Impacts of Climate Change and Climate Action Year
5. As an island city state, Singapore is especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Rising sea levels poses an existential challenge for us; while weather extremes can result in droughts and flash floods. It is important that people are made aware of the impacts of climate change, and start to take action now
6. This is why Singapore designated 2018 as the Year of Climate Action. Addressing climate change is a collective responsibility. Although Singapore only contributes 0.11% of global emissions, we will do our part as a responsible global citizen to meet our targets under the Paris Agreement. The Year of Climate Action also supports the 2030 Development Agenda. We are working with the international community to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 13 which calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
7. While we have in place a comprehensive Climate Action Plan that maps out the various climate adaptation and mitigation measures, the Government alone cannot achieve our targets. We will need the strong support and collective action from businesses, communities and individuals.
8. Together we can fight climate change, make Singapore the best city to live in, and the best choice for companies to locate their business.
Role of Businesses in Climate Action Journey
9. Whilst climate change poses operational risks, there are also opportunities to be seized. Globally, we are seeing greater demand for clean energy and significant investments in renewable energy solutions. In 2017, global investment in clean energy totalled close to US$333 billion, compared to US$182 billion 10 years ago. Businesses can benefit by reaping cost savings through the use of renewable energy, or enhance brand reputation through sustainable practices.
10. Businesses can also take the lead in raising awareness and encouraging climate action from individuals. I am heartened by IKEA’s local initiatives such as the recycling of light bulbs, ceasing the issuance of plastic bags, and recycling waste oil to bio-diesel.
11. I also understand that IKEA has committed to make the Climate Action Pledge in support of Climate Action Year. All these are positive actions that not only help conserve our planet, but also instil an environmental consciousness among people. Businesses are one of the key players in the climate action journey, and it is crucial that they are on board. Effort from all stakeholders is required
12. In this Year of Climate Action, I would like to encourage all of us to step up and do our part. Please take out your mobile phone, go to www.climateaction.sg and take the Climate Action Pledge. You will join the thousands of individuals, organisations and schools who have done so.
13. I congratulate IKEA for this commendable step, and look forward to even more sustainable practices from IKEA. Thank you.