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Temasek sets 2030 target for its portfolio to halve greenhouse emissions

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"Clean air, clear waters, healthy soil and green forests - businesses have a frontline responsibility to protect these natural resources," Temasek CEO Ho Ching said.

Singapore

RISING to the challenge of global warming, Temasek Holdings will report on its usage of water, paper, electricity and air miles starting this financial year - and its chief executive Ho Ching has asked other businesses to do likewise by the next financial year.

The Singapore state-owned company also aims to halve the greenhouse gas emissions of its entire portfolio by 2030, according to Ms Ho who is also Temasek Holdings' executive director.

"We will also study how we can shape a carbon neutral portfolio sooner than later," she said in the opening address of the Global Compact Network Singapore Summit on Tuesday.

"The biggest challenge in the coming decade is to reduce the greenhouse gases, like CO2, or methane," Ms Ho said. "The risk of stranded assets is real. Ask any coal-fired power-plant owner in the US, and now increasingly, in India."

Temasek is pushing clean energy and ESG - environmental, social and governance - initiatives. Last month, it said it was considering setting up a new unit to house renewable power projects as it increasingly eyes investments outside of fossil fuels.

"Some of our portfolio companies are well ahead with their climate or UN SDG (UN Sustainable Development Goals)," Ms Ho said in her address on Tuesday.

"We encourage others to join us to report electricity and water consumption, as well as any direct emissions.

"Whether you are big or small, it's a very simple step to take. It's a proxy for our indirect emissions. Producers could also track and report on their direct emissions from burning fossil fuels or green forests," she said.

The theme for this year's Global Compact Network Singapore Summit, which is into its 11th year, is "Reimagining businesses for resilience". Global Compact Network Singapore is the local chapter of the United Nations Global Compact, which is a non-binding UN pact to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation.

Ms Ho said companies could also report on their water consumption as many countries in Asia would face water shortages in the next decade or so.

"Once we track and measure, as all businesses know, we can start to scope our solutions to reduce emissions or reduce waste," she said.

Temasek has been investing in solutions for a cleaner, cooler and more sustainable world, according to her.

These include plant-based proteins and better fertilisers. The state-owned investment company would go carbon neutral by 2020.

"Clean air, clear waters, healthy soil and green forests - businesses have a frontline responsibility to protect these natural resources," the Temasek CEO said. "It is both good governance and a real contribution to a better life for people in their communities."

Ms Ho said that while global warming is a challenge that businesses cannot avoid, it's also an opportunity for better business.

"Businesses can save money - that's what we all understand - when they reduce waste," she said. "Businesses can reduce risks when they eliminate pollutions that harm people and planet."

If nothing else, that first step in reporting on electricity and transport consumption could be helpful to improve efficiencies, reduce cost, mitigate risks, or find new opportunities, according to her.

Ms Ho said businesses have the resources and organisational capacity to make a real impact in a systematic and tangible way.

"From production and resource efficiency, to workforce training; from good governance to the environment - businesses can set the tone for their people."

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