Singapore Manufacturing Federation launches decarbonisation programme to help SMEs attract businesses with sustainability reporting requirements
Launched at SMF’s inaugural Manufacturing Day Summit 2024, the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO)- as-a-Service programme will help manufacturers assess their sustainability position, prioritise improvements with the most significant impact, develop an actionable roadmap and submit data, including greenhouse gas emissions (GHG Scope 1 and 2) to Gprnt.ai, an integrated environmental, social and governance (ESG) data platform launched by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to generate internationally-compliant reports.
The manufacturing sector is Singapore’s most significant driver of nominal GDP (21.6%) 1 , and companies need to start reporting emission numbers or risk losing out to competitors, as many of them are suppliers for international partners who will soon need to submit reports about the carbon footprint of their supply chain.
The Singapore Manufacturing Federation’s (SMF) CSO-as-a-Service (CSOaaS) programme developed to help local manufacturers take their first steps towards reducing carbon emissions and prepare them to support the sustainability reporting efforts of their partners who need to disclose carbon emissions of their supply chain, was launched today at the inaugural SMF Manufacturing Day Summit 2024.
As the largest national organisation representing the interests of manufacturing organisations, SMF is working closely with members to address challenges SME manufacturers face on their sustainability journey. Many of them cannot afford to hire dedicated staff to plan and oversee sustainability initiatives due to limited resources and, as a result, are unsure about where to begin.
The CSOaaS programme, which will adapt from the Green Compass for the local manufacturing sector, will handhold SMEs through their sustainability transformation, assessing their sustainability gaps and prioritising improvements based on financial and strategic impacts. The Green Compass was first developed by A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), TÜV SÜD and JTC, and has been highly subscribed to date. SMF-appointed Sustainability Consultants attached to the companies will translate the findings into actionable decarbonisation roadmaps to reduce carbon emissions. Upon implementation, the Sustainability Consultants will also help companies submit the relevant data, which includes greenhouse gas emissions (GHG Scope 1 and 2)2, to Gprnt.ai.
The CSOaaS programme uses Gprnt.ai, the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) environmental, social and governance (ESG) data platform3 to simplify the sustainability reporting process. Importantly, Gprnt.ai aligns with international reporting standards like the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) and Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), ensuring global compliance and recognition.
Mr Lennon Tan, President of the Singapore Manufacturing Federation, said, “SMF is at the forefront of leading local manufacturers into the next industrial era — Industry 5.0. We work with partners to keep a pulse on shifting trends so that we can help our members navigate a fast-paced global market. CSOaaS, the AMTA Playbook, and the n AlAPAC Greeliance (APAC-GA) are key initiatives driving this larger vision. With CSOaaS, our goal is to help strengthen the resilience of Singapore’s manufacturing industry, which will, in turn, drive tomorrow’s innovations.”
SMF is also proud to be a founding member of the APAC-GA alongside the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA), Confederation of Asia- Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), and the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). SMF will play an active role in advocating and promoting Green Excellence for both Manufacturing (GEM) and Non-manufacturing SMEs (Green Excellence in Business, GEB), future-proofing small businesses through capability development, standards development, tools (e.g. carbon accounting, sustainability reporting, etc.), advisory support and forging industry recognition. The objective is to collectively strive towards a net-zero goal and be future ready for Industry 5.0.
APAC-GA will also assess the post-implementation progress of the companies that undergo the CSOaaS programme and confer a Green Excellence for Manufacturing (GEM) Mark4 according to their progress.
The APAC-GA is also joined by Knowledge Partner, A*STAR to support standards development and share industry best practices.
Why was CSOaaS developed?
The launch of the CSOaaS programme was prompted by looming deadlines for sustainability compliance worldwide and the need to support local manufacturing companies needing help to do so. In Singapore, listed companies start reporting from 2025, while large non-listed companies start from 2027. These companies must also report their supply chain’s carbon footprint, including emissions from SMEs.
Although non-listed SMEs are not required to report their carbon footprint, if they are suppliers to companies, local or international, obligated to comply, they risk losing that business. As such, SMEs are particularly vulnerable.
According to a 2023 survey5 of 115 manufacturing companies, of which 82% are SMEs, only 21% report on sustainability, while 45% have no plans to do so within the next one to three years.
Another study6 of primarily SMEs indicates that the lack of expertise is a sizeable problem, with 34% of companies finding it challenging without an ESG specialist, 31% struggling to understand reporting standards, and 29% lacking technical know-how to plan and execute. Only 37% have a clear roadmap, and 72% need to hire skilled talents to run ESG projects.
Having well-documented ESG metrics makes working with MNCs and other large corporations easier and will open doors to green loans and grants, which can be instrumental in spurring growth.
A spokesperson for XCEL said, “SMF CSOaaS helps us to develop new methodologies and framework with collective data for analysis, which strengthen our business strategy and continuity plans towards a more sustainable entity.”
Information on APAC-GA and CSOaaS
The Trade Association and Chamber (TAC) members of the APAC-GA are responsible for
- promoting the GEM/GEB Mark along with its associated tasks;
- advisory support/ consultancy to help companies embark on sustainability transformation;
- training of certified consultants and auditors.
The CSOaaS programme fee is between S$10,000 to $30,000 depending on the scope, and companies may tap into the following funding support:
Mentorship Support Grant (70-90%), through:
- Singapore Polytechnic – Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Energy Efficiency
Career Conversion Programme (CCP), a company who applies for CSOaaS may also tap on the CCP to have an existing or new staff undergo the on-the-job training to become a Sustainability Lead / Facilitator in the future for their company, through:
- Nanyang Polytechnic
2 SMEs are not required to report GHG emissions (Scope 1 and 2). However, the companies SMEs supply to (who need to comply with reporting) require this information to fulfil Scope 3.
3 https://www.mas.gov.sg/news/media-releases/2023/mas-launches-digital-platform-for-seamless-esg-data- collection-and-access
4 Companies that underwent CSOaaS and implemented their strategies will be evaluated and awarded a GEM Mark Gold, Silver or Bronze according to their progress.
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