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Singapore’s vision for a carbon-neutral society requires new wave of ESG tech leaders

February 7 2022 

ESG Finance Research

As we close off the first month of 2022, it’s clear that governments, institutions, investors, and consumers are all aligned on the need for sustainability to be at the heart of how we live, play, work, invest, shop, and travel.

The Singapore government, in particular, has led the way for all of us by being the leading champion and cheerleader of the local, regional, and global ESG transition that is now well underway.

It is the government that has been a vocal supporter of the need for a new wave of carbon services leaders both in and out of the technology and start-up ecosystem, which is where we at STACS firmly sit.

We are clear and aligned with the national agenda on this: tremendous opportunities lie ahead of us as the world transitions from fossil fuels to green alternatives, and our Little Red Dot must position itself now to capture these falling treasures.

Little Red Dot? Big Green Dot!

This month, we’ve seen a flurry of climate change motions in parliament with representatives of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Sustainability and the Environment voicing the need to strengthen areas including green financing, green jobs, and corporate transparency around ESG.

There is rightly recognition that the transition to net zero – or a ‘low-carbon society’, as it is now being called – will only be achieved in collaboration with the private sector, consumers, and society at large (with more education on things like carbon credits required).

As new green jobs in the technology and other sectors are created, workers from traditional industries including oil and gas will need to be retrained and reskilled, while at the same time businesses will need support in adopting green practices.

Indeed, already two years ago the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment estimated that the sustainability sector, which includes agriculture and waste management, will add 55,000 new and upgraded local jobs by 2030.

The opportunity before us is certainly challenging, but it is also vast.

Profitable companies will be sustainable companies

A recent piece of research by HSBC concluded that a lack of ESG transparency and staff qualified in related areas could reduce the attractiveness of companies to institutional capital as lenders and asset managers increasingly build sustainability criteria into investment decisions.

In other words, in order to be profitable companies will have to be sustainable – and at STACS we have made that something of a marching tune.

If we apply this to not just individual companies but to Singapore as a whole, we see it is vital for our competitiveness as a player in world markets to be a leader in the green transition and tick as many of these boxes as a nation.

It is not enough for some of us to succeed and for others to be left behind: we must all succeed in this transition together, or none of us will.

To quote statistics from the HSBC survey, it found that 40 per cent of institutional investors in Asia are already screening for ESG factors, with the corresponding numbers in Europe and the US being 91 per cent and 72 per cent, respectively.

So, what are we at STACS doing about this and how are we contributing to the new wave of carbon services technologies that our nation so desperately needs?

How STACS is helping

Firstly, we believe we are well positioned to be one such carbon services leader that helps drive Singapore’s transition to a green financial hub and carbon-neutral society within the decade.

We are educating the ecosystem and our partners on areas like carbon credits and how technology solutions – in our case built on the blockchain – can help them add more transparency and accountability to their operations and supply chains.

Through our new Greenprint ESG Registry, a blockchain-powered digital platform that we are building with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), our goal is to help financial institutions and corporates of all sizes (including SMEs) improve their data on sustainability.

Financial institutions collaborating with us include Aviva Singlife, Citi, OCBC, UBS, and UOB, among others, which we see as testament to the importance global leaders are attaching to the need for new ESG platforms.

Our Greenprint ESG Registry will allow for companies across sectors to be certified for improving their practices in the environmental, sustainability, and governance spectrum – all recorded transparently on an immutable ledger.

This Greenprint ESG Registry forms the core of STACS Vetta platform. Through additional modules under Vetta platform, we enable companies of all sizes to unlock value in enhanced ESG Finance via effective ESG financing, ESG investments, ESG insurances, and indisputable quality impact reports, as well as High-Quality Carbon Credits which generate secondary streams of income.

Towards a single cross-sector ESG platform

We believe that a major challenge remains in the lack of centralised and standardised platforms to store trusted ESG data on the private sector, both at home and abroad, so we hope our efforts in building this new registry will take us closer to such a goal for Singapore.

At present, we are focused on helping sectors where we believe there is the most potential for massive and rapid improvement.

Examples include transport (i.e. cutting emissions of vehicle fleets), building and construction, manufacturing, food and agriculture (i.e. ensuring no deforestation or forced labour), and renewable energy.

While we are still early on this journey, we must move quickly.

With your support as investors, regulators, businesses, and consumers we stand ready to play our role in transitioning our home to the carbon-neutral society we will one day all be proud of.


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