Environmental technology market in Singapore E-mail
Thursday, July 16, 2009

Environmental technology market in Singapore report by the Trade Council of Denmark

Due to the current global economic circumstances, the Trade Council of Denmark claims the right to make reservations about the accuracy of the sector analysis. For an updated sector analysis, please contact the Trade Council in Singapore directly.


A broad definition of the environment is the natural conditions, such as air, water and land, in which people, animals and plants live. Environmental technology (ET) involves the protection and enhancement of the environment. It includes such diverse activities as developing substitutes for ozone depleting substances, waste management, monitoring of discharges into water, land contamination, clean air, resource optimization, recycling and so forth.

Over the past two decades, responsible management of the environment has contributed to Singapore's economic success without compromising the needs of a better quality of living environment. Basic environmental infrastructure has been developed to support and ensure that the economic activities in industrial, commercial and service sectors continue to grow without damaging the environment. As a result, Singapore becomes a city with a well designed land-use plan, a modern environmental infrastructure and effective environmental management system.

Market size indicators
Singapore has accumulated considerable experience and know-how in environmental management, protection and infrastructure. Specific 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 building up its capabilities in research and development in environmental technology. An Environmental Technology Institute was set up in 1996 to spearhead the R&D in ET in Singapore.

The development of ET industry in Singapore
In recent years, there has been a growth in Singapore companies engaging in various environmental services. There has also been growing interest among local companies to diversify into environmental business. 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, especially those engaged in the construction of waste water treatment plant, have been very successful in establishing a niche in the regional market.

In support of ET companies across the full value chain from innovation to test-bedding and commercialization of technologies, the Environment and Water Industry Development Council (EWI) has been set up to spearhead the growth of the environment and water industry in Singapore. The launch of the EWI follows the announcement by the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council (RIEC) in July 2006 to provide USD 218.43 million over the next five years to boost the development of the local environment and water industry by providing additional funding for R&D.

Market trends
The environmental technology industry has emerged as one of the fastest growing industries in the Asia-Pacific countries. Rapid economic progress and urbanization have been accompanied by growing pollution and environmental problems. This has generated demand for a wide range of environmental products, services and technology. Singapore's environmental expertise was built up from similar economic, social and physical circumstances to many countries in the region; this expertise is relevant to them. Singapore can share this expertise and has positioned itself as the regional centre for environmental technology and an ideal hub for marketing environmental technology and expertise to the region.

Singapore has the capacity to share its proven expertise in a number of areas:

a) Manufacturing sector

Singapore has experience in design, fabrication and construction of plant and equipment to prevent, contain, treat and dispose of gaseous, liquid and solid wastes. It also has considerable expertise in process-control instrumentation and systems for monitoring, testing and analysis.

b) Consultancy services

Singapore can offer consultancy services in pollution control, feasibility and hazard studies, environmental impact studies, and in providing technical support in waste management, recycling, disposal and treatment. Environmental engineering services in sewerage systems, incineration plants and drainage systems are other areas in which it has a reputable record.

c) Other services

Singapore also has expertise in air- and water- quality monitoring, testing and laboratory services, and training in environmental planning, management, control and technical support services.

Market opportunities
The environmental technology sector, in particular, is enjoying strong growth in Asia and with emerging consciousness among Asia-Pacific countries on the need to balance economic development with environmental protection, both local and foreign environmental technology companies can use Singapore as a base from which to market and provide their environmental engineering services to the region and to exchange skills and expertise in environmental management and protection.

Strategic options which Singapore offers to environmental technology companies include manufacturing/service operation; product and process development; regional training and distribution centre; procurement.

Singapore will continue its ties with countries in the region through formal bilateral linkages and joint programs to promote regional interests on environmental technology. These linkages will offer the opportunities of exporting Singapore's environmental management expertise.

Promotion of environmental technology
The Singapore government plays a facilitating role in the development of ET in Singapore. This role involves the government as a "market maker", spotting market and technological opportunities and encouraging ET companies to exploit those opportunities. To meet the environmental sustainability needs and to promote this vibrant industry, Singapore’s government aims to become a Global Hydro hub, accounting for 3-5 pct. of the global water industry by 2015. In addition, Singapore is striving to become a leading provider and sophisticated user of Alternative Energy products and services.

The Government also encourages companies to switch or develop environment-friendly substitutes, adopt innovative technologies which will minimize pollution, and upgrade the skills of their staff.

Danish exporters of products, services and know-how in ET should be able to find suitable niches in which they could participate. Collaboration in joint projects in third country is also possible for turnkey projects or as sub-contactors in specialized areas of some projects.



Despite being a tropical country with plentiful rainfall, Singapore is currently only 60 pct. self-sufficient in the water supply. This is because the city-state is housing 4.7 mio. people and is only 704 sq km in size or about the size of Bornholm Island, which have a population of 44,000.

Besides Singapore’s own water resources, Singapore has two long term water supply agreements with the neighbor country, Malaysia. Singapore has tried to supplement the source of Malaysian water by looking at the possibility to pipe water from the relatively underdeveloped Rhio archipelago in Indonesia. From a security stand point however, it is prudent for Singapore to depend more on its own water resources and achieve as close as possible to self-sufficiency.

Whenever there is friction and disagreement between Singapore and its neighbors, Malaysian politicians would call on their government to turn the tap off. Although the Malaysian government always has assured Singapore that it will not be denied the water its needs, the price to be paid might raised too much.

Market size indicators
On the industry front, Singapore has identified water and the environment sector as a key growth area. The National Research Foundation has committed some USD 233 mio. over five years to promote R&D in this sector. To spearhead this growth, the Environment and Water Industry Development Council was set up last year, with the aim of growing the Singapore economy. By 2015, we aim to double the number of jobs in the water industry to 11,000, with the value-add to the economy tripling to USD 1,2 bio.

Market trend
Because of the above mentioned unstable water supply Singapore has embarked on a program to improve the sustainability of clean water supply. Singapore’s strategy is to diversify the water sources, optimize the water supply and focus on new technologies to develop alternative water sources. With the government encouraging and supporting companies to develop new methods and technologies within the water sector, it ensures that Singapore is moving towards a robust and reliable water supply.

The main task of developing Singapore's water resources falls on the shoulders of the Public Utilities Board (PUB), a quasi-government organization. One of PUB's main goals is to facilitate Singapore's development as a hub for water technologies. PUB Singapore was in 2007 awarded with the Stockholm Industry Water Award for their transformation of the city from an urban nation to a model of smart and sustainable water management practices.

Singapore’s water supply can be divided into four sources;

1) Water from local catchments
2) Imported water from Johor in Malaysia
3) NEWater (recycled waste water)
4) Desalinated water

Singapore are setting up their fifth NEWater plant and their goal is that the capacity from NEWater will be increased from 15 pct. to 30 pct. by 2011.

Many technology groups and alliances have been formed to study ways to further raise Singapore's water production, conservation and treatment capabilities to greater heights.

Examples of these projects include cutting-edge membrane technology for more effective wastewater treatment. This has been successfully tested. The results of these efforts have been the growth of water technology and companies associated with it. Technologies and solutions that have been developed, in addition to improving water resources in Singapore are now being exported. Areas of application include wastewater treatment into potable water, and water purification for pharmaceutical industries etc. There are now close to ten local companies with indigenous capabilities and know-how that enable them to take on the largest water projects all over Asia.

Some initiatives have been taken to fulfill this goal. One measure is the introduction of the Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme others are collection of storm water, construction of a new reservoir and the enlargement of existing ones. Reminders to citizens regarding water conservation are also an on-going task and all manners of water saving measures and devices are welcome and considered.

The private sector has also taken the cue from the government to develop solutions of their own. The Singaporean government has encouraged the private sector by providing incentives for Research & development (R&D) and assistance in R&D.

The various on-going efforts is expected to secure that Singapore will be 80 pct. self-sufficient in water supply by 2011. It is Singapore’s goal to be totally self-sufficient in water resources by 2061, when Singapore’s water supply agreement with Malaysia expires. With many viable alternatives at hand, negotiation for water supply with Malaysia or Indonesia becomes less of a one-sided affair.

The Ministry for Environment and Water Ressources in Singapore does among other provide funding to both the industry and academic/research communities for basic and applied research projects which pursue innovative and novel ideas. These projects would need to have recognizable potential for commercialization of the new processes, technologies or products. All Singapore-based companies, tertiary education institutions, research institutes and public agencies are eligible to apply. The government provides grants to support costs arising from the projects such as manpower, training, equipment investment and professional services costs

Danish companies’ have a good reputation and many years experience in creating environmental products, services and technologies which ensures a lot of possibilities within Singapore’s water sector. They can look forward to selling products, equipment, services and know-how to Singaporean companies and vice-versa. Alternatively they could collaborate with Singaporean companies in taking on projects in Asia or other parts of the world. R&D cooperation and projects could be further options.
    Ministry of environment and water resources
    Economic Development Board Singapore

For yderligere information, venligst kontakt ambassadens handelsafdeling:

Tel: +65 6355 5010

Martin Just
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Anthony Leong
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Edited June 9, 2009

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