Environmental Technology In Singapore
1.0 MARKET STRUCTURE
In 1968 Singapore introduced the concept of a "clean and green garden city." Since then the
Ministry of the Environment has carefully monitored the environmental impact of urban
growth and industrialisation.
The government is a key driver for change in Singapore and in 1992 introduced the
“Singapore Green Plan 2002.” This plan outlined the steps required for cleaner air, water
and land in Singapore. A draft plan of SGP 2012 was released in November 2001 with an
emphasis on environmental sustainability. SGP 2012 focuses on areas including optimizing
resources through recycling and conservation, minimizing environmental impact through
creative use of technology, and the sharing of ideas with countries in the region.
Over the past three decades, Singapore has transformed from a labour driven economy to
an advanced high-tech country. Driven by the “Greener Singapore” policies, upgrading
chemicals, electronics and petrochemicals plants are a requirement in order to meet
The Prime Minister of Singapore has urged the private sectors of Singapore and a handful of
European nations to work together on developing environmental technology. As a
consequence, a number of joint-ventures have formed between local companies, such as
SembCorp Engineering, and leading waste management firms including Sita from France.
1.2 Market Size
Singapore has accumulated considerable experience and know-how in environmental
management, protection and infrastructure. Specific skills in environmental planning and
development, environmental skills in environmental planning and development,
environmental public health, operation and maintenance of environmental facilities and
legislation were developed. Capabilities such as engineering construction, procurement,
mechanical equipment control and maintenance, water and wastewater treatment, pollution
control measurement and control technology, instrumentation, laboratories and consultancy
services have also been built up.
Singapore is also building up its capabilities in research and development in environmental
technology. An Environmental Technology in Institute was set up in 1996 to spearhead the
R&D in ET in Singapore. There are more than 100 ET companies in Singapore comprising
mainly small local companies and a few major engineering companies which are public listed
companies Companies in the engineering services, wastewater and waste treatment
dominate the environmental technology industry. Some of these companies have been very
successful in establishing a niche in the regional market.
1.3 Growth Rate
Government policies and national legislation are the main drivers for the growth of
environmental market. In order to sustain the engineering sector's growth, the Singapore’s
Economic Development Board (EDB) is promoting four new industries, one of them being
No data is available for the market growth rate within Singapore but the global growth rate is
estimated to be between 15% and 30%.
1.4 Known Factors Influencing Growth Rate
Singapore is developing itself as a hub for environmental technology and infrastructure. The
drive to become a recognised hub is being lead by the Government who recognises the
economic and social value of such an endeavour.
The significant electronics and chemical clusters in Singapore require large quantities of
water. As water is a scarce and precious resource in Singapore, these industries have use
industrial water as much as possible for their supporting activities such as cooling towers,
and component washing. Environmental technology companies which are involved in the
manufacturing of high value-added treatment facilities and media, such as membranes, and
water treatment chemicals, are expected to be sought after.
The rapid urbanisation in the region and rising demand for consumer goods is leading to a
vast market for municipal solid waste collection, disposal services and facilities. Singapore is
producing three times more waste than it was 20 years ago, and pressure is mounting on the
solid waste collection facilities.
Incineration disposes of almost 90% of the solid waste produced in Singapore. The resulting
ash is typically used for landfill, however Singapore is now investigating converting the ash
into roading materials as is done in several European countries.
The Environmental Technology Institute of Singapore is also using marine-clay unearthed
from the North-East MRT line's (underground subway) construction to transform it to building
Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) recently joined an alliance of 5 of
Asia’s top universities to research environmental technologies.
2.0 ENVIRONMENTAL OVERVIEW
Minister of the Environment Associate Professor Yaacob Ibrahim
Total Energy Consumption (1999E) 1.4 quadrillion Btu* (0.4% of world total
Energy-Related Carbon Emissions (1999E) 25.5 million metric tons of carbon (0.4% of
world carbon emissions)
Per Capita Energy Consumption (1999E) 341.7 million Btu (vs. U.S. value of 355.8
Per Capita Carbon Emissions (1999E) 6.4 metric tons of carbon (vs. U.S. value of
5.5 metric tons of carbon)
Energy Intensity (1999E) 19,455 Btu/$1990 (vs U.S. value of 12,638
Carbon Intensity (1999E) 0.36 metric tons of carbon/thousand $1990
(vs U.S. value of 0.19 metric tons/thousand
Sectoral Share of Energy Consumption
Transportation (61.2%), Industrial (30.8%),
Commercial (4.8%), Residential (3.2%)
Sectoral Share of Carbon Emissions (1998E) Industrial (58.3%), Transportation (26.5%),
Commercial (9.1%), Residential (6.1%)
Fuel Share of Energy Consumption (1999E) Oil (95.9%), Natural Gas (4.1%), Coal
Fuel Share of Carbon Emissions (1999E) Oil (96.9%), Natural Gas (3.1%), Coal
Renewable Energy Consumption (1998E) 2.9 trillion Btu* (60% decrease from 1997)
Number of People per Motor Vehicle (1998) 6 (vs. U.S. value of 1.3)
Status in Climate Change Negotiations Non-Annex I country under the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change (ratified May 29th, 1997). Not a
signatory to the Kyoto Protocol.
Major Environmental Issues Industrial pollution; limited natural fresh
water resources; limited land availability
presents waste disposal problems; seasonal
smoke/haze resulting from forest fires in
Major International Environmental
A party to Conventions on Biodiversity,
Climate Change, Endangered Species,
Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear
Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection and Ship
* The total energy consumption statistic includes petroleum, dry natural gas, coal, net hydro,
nuclear, geothermal, solar, wind, wood and waste electric power. The renewable energy
consumption statistic is based on International Energy Agency (IEA) data and includes
hydropower, solar, wind, tide, geothermal, solid biomass and animal products, biomass gas
and liquids, industrial and municipal wastes. Sectoral shares of energy consumption and
carbon emissions are also based on IEA data.
3.0 COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT
3.1 Major Players in the Market
Major players in this market are mainly government owned companies or foreign companies.
These are consultants, waste management companies, infrastructure development,
environmental engineering, products and services related companies.
Some of the major players in Singapore are:
• Altvater Jakob (Germany),
• Endress+Hauser (SEA) Pte Ltd (Holland),
• Binnie Black & Veatch (SEA) Pte Ltd (USA),
• Montgomery Watson Asia (USA),
• Belt Collins (USA),
• Edeleanu Asia Pte Ltd (Germany),
• Shimadzu (Asia Pacific) Pte Ltd (Japan),
• Dredging International Asia Pacific Pte Ltd (Belgium),
• Sembcorp Waste Management Pte Ltd (Singapore),
• SEMAC Pte Ltd (Singapore),
• Singapore Environmental Management & Engineering Services Pte Ltd (Singapore),
• Intraco Ltd (Singapore),
• Natsteel Envirotech Pte Ltd (Singapore), and
• Eco Industrial Environmental Engineering Pte Ltd (Singapore).
3.2 Distribution Channels
Distribution can either be direct, through a representative, or by setting up a base in
Singapore (commonly through a joint venture partnership.) Singaporean companies are
often much more comfortable dealing with a local representative than direct.
Major projects are usually through open tender where price and capability of the applicant is
of prime interest. Despite price being an important cog in the procurement process, New
Zealand companies should also emphasise quality products and after-sales service.
4.0 REGULATORY OVERVIEW
Singapore is a duty free port, however a 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) is applicable to
all goods and services sold in Singapore.
4.2 Regulatory and Licensing Restrictions or Difficulties
Singapore is a transparent market, and in general terms there are few restrictions on the
entry of goods. Product standards are often the same, or similar to, those enforced in the UK
and to a lesser degree, the United States.
Local companies involved in environmental technology need to be certified by approved
agencies like the Singapore Productivity and Standards Board (PSB). There are 16
organizations, including the PSB and the Building and Construction Authority, that can certify
companies as being environmentally friendly.
5.0 RECOMMENDED STRATEGIES
5.1 Possible Points of Differentiation for New Zealand Companies
New Zealand has a reputation as a nation with substantial natural resource and
environmental awareness, however education may be required in some instances to convey
the depth of technological expertise within the private sector. Singaporean companies are
familiar with the options presented by larger European or North American organisations, yet
the flexibility, ingenuity, quality of New Zealand companies needs promotion.
The relatively recent Free Trade Agreement between the two countries places a further
incentive for bilateral trade in products and services.
5.2 Tactical Recommendations on Market Entry
With emerging consciousness among Asia Pacific countries on the need to balance
economic development with environmental protection, New Zealand companies can use
Singapore as a base from which to market and provide their environmental engineering
services to the region and exchange skills and expertise in environmental management and
5.3 Recommendations on Long Term Strategic Issues for Exporters to Consider
Business in Singapore is highly relationship dependent. New Zealand companies should
take a long-term view when forging partnerships and be prepared for bilateral exchanges.
Many Singapore companies have extensive links into the Asian region that can be tapped for
future market development.
Prepared by: New Zealand Trade & Enterprise Singapore
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