Four keys that could unlock a better, more sustainable world

Four keys that could unlock a better, more sustainable world

To reduce the world’s reliance on fossil fuels and reach net-zero emissions by 2050, global investments in clean energy must triple by the end of the decade, says the International Energy Agency.

In a time of doubt and cynicism, particularly on global climate change efforts, localisation specialist Emma Wong’s steadfast idealism is inspiring.

Like many of her peers, Ms Wong, 25, refuses to buckle under the relentless drumbeat of climate doom, holding fast to the belief that it is not too late to fix our warming planet. She takes small actions in her daily life — like introducing more plant-based protein into her diet — to support the global environmental movement in her own way.

Her passion for the environment has even rubbed off on her family, inspiring them to actively recycle. Ms Wong, who lives with her parents and a younger sister in a condominium, shares: “At home, we have sorting bins in our kitchen, and it is interesting to see how we have all learnt to take apart packaging and sort them appropriately.”

Yet she is grounded by the knowledge that the actions of individuals like her are simply not enough. More needs to be done urgently.

“I think it’s important for those with strong financial influence to stand behind companies that are trying to help solve the world’s sustainability problems,” says Ms Wong.

“The floods in Europe and Asia, the dangerous typhoons, and here, more extremely hot days and heavy downpours with flash floods — these are real reminders of climate change. We can’t afford to ignore the signs anymore.”

The recent surge in the number of companies setting climate targets and committing to secure the future of our planet suggests that the private sector is taking notice, as consumers like Ms Wong increasingly expect them to contribute towards climate action.

The bigger the brush, the broader the impact

In August, the United Nations’ (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its starkest warning yet about climate change. 

UN secretary-general António Guterres called it a “code red for humanity”, urging governments, businesses and individuals to work together to limit global average warming to 1.5 deg C above pre-industrial levels.

To do so, the world will need to reach net-zero emissions — when the total amount of greenhouse gases produced by humans equals the amount removed.

Experts, however, warn that governments and corporates must have a concrete plan to achieve these targets.

One company that has developed a road map to help it shape a better, more sustainable and liveable future is investment company Temasek. With a net portfolio value of S$381 billion as of 31 March 2021 and an active investment pipeline, Temasek is in a prime position to be a catalyst for meaningful change.

“We must find better ways to inform, educate, persuade, and change mindsets so that people understand we are running out of time,” said Temasek’s Chairman Lim Boon Heng, speaking at the Ecosperity Week sustainability conference in September.

We must find better ways to inform, educate, persuade, and change mindsets so that people understand we are running out of time. MR LIM BOON HENG, chairman, Temasek

But how can a state investment company make a difference to your real-world lives, your future, your livelihood? 

The answer lies in the four trends that guide its investment activities: Digitisation, Sustainable Living, Future of Consumption and Longer Lifespans. These trends are interconnected and cut across sectors with the same destination in mind — to build a resilient world for future generations.

Take Temasek’s investment in micro-irrigation company Rivulis for example. Its water-saving technologies empower farmers to manage this finite resource more effectively — a digital solution that enables sustainability.

So why is Temasek doing this? “We aim to deliver a more sustainable portfolio, one which can deliver beyond this decade, and one which leans forward for a better and more liveable world, for generations to come,” explains Mr Chia Song Hwee, deputy CEO of Temasek.

The strategy is purposeful: Investing today, with tomorrow in mind.

For Ms Wong, a better tomorrow is one where people are more conscious of how they live and more considerate of their impact on the planet. “We must look after what we have been given for those who come after us to enjoy.”

Temasek shares a similar vision of shaping a liveable world for this and future generations.

Emphasis on ESG considerations

Besides the four structural trends and its risk management framework, Temasek also incorporates environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations in its investment processes.

This is crucial, as Temasek believes that “generating sustainable returns over the long term depends on stable, well-functioning and well-governed social, environmental and economic systems”.

One recent change to its ESG framework is its increased focus on carbon emissions.

The company has set an initial internal carbon price of US$42 (S$52) per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent to guide its investment analyses. 

Temasek says it will refine its carbon pricing strategies in the coming years, likely with the carbon cost increasing.

The company is working towards two climate goals: To reduce the net carbon emissions of its portfolio to half the 2010 levels by 2030, and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

How did Temasek decide on these four structural trends? How do you personally relate to them?

We actively shape our portfolio around how we see the world in future years: A world that must become more sustainable, and can become so, if we help emitters to change their business models and invest in solutions to transform.

The changes, and opportunities, from these four trends resonate strongly with me because I see these as reasonably secular.

They will continue to drive social and economic progress through cycles and events, because of the fundamental changes that are occurring across the world: Population growth, income distribution, technological innovation and addressing climate change are key drivers of these trends.

What is the growth potential of these trends, and how do you see them converging?

These trends are fundamentally changing the way we live, work and in many cases now, co-exist between the two.

Digitisation and Sustainable Living are cross-sectoral trends that have a pervasive impact across many sectors, as well as on the business models of emerging and established businesses.

Meanwhile, the two other trends, Future of Consumption and Longer Lifespans, reflect structural shifts in consumption patterns and growing needs of longevity arising from our population growth and longer expected lifespans.

I am especially excited to see how the trends interplay with each other in our investments, as we move towards a post-pandemic world.

Besides these four trends, what else is Temasek focusing on?

Sustainability, which is at the core of everything we do at Temasek.

As a company, we have delivered carbon neutrality for the past two years, and have continued to maintain this status this year. We are also committed to reducing the net carbon emissions attributable to our portfolio to half the 2010 levels by 2030, on a path to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

We have developed a three-pronged approach towards building a sustainable future: investing in climate-aligned opportunities, enabling carbon negative solutions, and encouraging decarbonisation efforts in businesses.

Examples include various partnerships we form to catalyse and multiply our efforts on our journey to decarbonisation, such as our joint venture with DBS Bank, Standard Chartered and the Singapore Exchange (SGX) to establish Climate Impact X, a global exchange and marketplace for high quality carbon credits.

Can Singapore companies benefit from these four trends?

Yes, but the benefits will require work on their part to build their own business models that align to the relevant future trends.

For instance, building a more sustainable business, or developing products and services that help meet the needs of an ageing population.

These will drive benefits similar to those we are seeking to unlock by investing around these trends.

What motivates Temasek to invest today, with tomorrow in mind?

We do things today, with tomorrow in mind, because we want to remain relevant and alive to future challenges beyond our own generation.

We do things today, with tomorrow in mind, because we want to remain relevant and alive to future challenges beyond our own generation. MR CHIA SONG HWEE, deputy CEO, Temasek

This means we are very mindful about creating flexibility and options for our successors to thrive, even as we deliver today.

We are more than just an investor; we are a provider of catalytic capital.

We catalyse a sustainable future, for future generations, by investing using four kinds of capital: Financial capital to stimulate innovations and spur sustainable growth; human capital, to build people, capabilities, and human resilience beyond the Workforce 4.0 goals; social capital to transform lives for a more inclusive and resilient society; and natural capital for a more liveable world.

This is the first of a four-part series brought to you by Temasek.

News Related


Inflation and omicron are weighing on markets. Here's what to keep in mind

The “Charging Bull” statue at Bowling Green in New York's Financial District.Drew Angerer | Getty Images As the U.S. stock market is whipped by rising inflation and the new omicron ... Read more »

Student-loan forgiveness would mean everything to Latinx students stuck in a debt cycle

The amount of student loan debt in the United States is $1.8 trillion dollars — and counting. The price to get an education has never been more expensive. The student ... Read more »

Three ways to invest in your employees in 2022

Customer second, employees first. That is the adage of Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group. A Gallup report says employees who are engaged are more likely ... Read more »

Never mind how Omicron blows, no shortage of economic forecasts

(NYTIMES) – The Omicron variant of the coronavirus could be dangerous enough to disrupt the lives of virtually everyone on the planet. Or it could represent a blip in a ... Read more »

Transforming Asia's food system to tackle our food and climate crises

Technology could help the agri-food sector transform by bolstering climate resiliency and sustainable food production. If you want more of what you like to eat, it’s time to think and ... Read more »

Here's what a lot of college grads don't know about their first job offer

Throughout our lives as students, we work hard to get a good education that will lead us to a solid job and fruitful career. But we aren't prepared for what ... Read more »

You need at least $1 million saved to retire in these cities

Sporrer/Rupp | Image Source | Getty Images How much do you think you'll need to save for retirement? If you're in one of these major cities, the answer will be ... Read more »

These are the five best states for drivers in 2021

Commuting doesn't have to be a bad thing. Ohio ranked as the best state for drivers in 2021, according to a study by Bankrate. The best states for drivers include ... Read more »

Smart moves to make with your retirement portfolio before the end of the year

Cravetiger | Moment | Getty Images As you make your to-do list to wrap up the year, don't forget to include checking on your retirement portfolio. There are several moves ... Read more »

Making New Year's resolutions during Covid has paid off: Fidelity survey

Uwe Krejci | Stone | Getty Images New Year's resolutions can be easy to make and even easier to break, but having a goal can help keep you upbeat and ... Read more »

Crypto is the 'top contender' for correction, money managers say

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) – By many counts, 2021 was the year cryptocurrencies were finally embraced by institutions. Now those same money-managers say the asset class is ripe for a big ... Read more »

Figuring out these three budget numbers will help you pay off debt and save more for retirement in 2022

The start of a new year can be a great time to revisit your budget. Your first steps should be figuring out how much money you actually have and finding ... Read more »

Covid mortgage bailout is expiring. Here's what to do if you still can't pay

courtneyk | E+ | Getty Images Covid relief programs allowed millions of struggling Americans to pause mortgage payments, and many of those bailouts are now expiring, putting cash-strapped borrowers at ... Read more »

BlackRock, Goldman opt for China over more pricey India stocks

(Bloomberg) In a change of tone over the world’s two biggest emerging markets, global investors overseeing billions of dollars are slowly starting to favour China over India – reversing a ... Read more »

Inflation-proof gifts with your time and schmaltz

Consider the gifts of tech, travel and time, says the writer. (NYTIMES) If groceries, petrol or cars were any part of your budget this year, inflation has hit you hard. ... Read more »

Australia's $3.3 trillion pension pot reaps dividends with ESG

Australians are moving their money to reap not only benefits for society and the environment, but also their retirement savings. (BLOOMBERG) Responsible investing is paying dividends for Australia’s A$3.4 trillion ... Read more »

Investors snap up metaverse real estate in virtual land boom

A tower in Decentraland that hopes will generate revenue from leases and advertising. Digital realms may appear as cartoonish, gummy-coloured fantasy worlds, or digital applications of places we know. ... Read more »

How much you'll need to invest to earn $35,000, $40,000 or $50,000 per year in interest for retirement

Living off your investment returns can help remove one of the biggest fears about life after leaving your job: Will my money outlast me? Once you decide how much you ... Read more »

Did you work from home this year? When you can claim the home-office tax deduction

Did your “Great Resignation” lead you to start a business or become your own boss this year? You may be able to write off the cost of your home office ... Read more »

This is how you can make the world a better place as you invest

With the range of investment opportunities offered by Prudential, investors can protect and grow their wealth while playing their part to leave a better world for the future. Our roles, ... Read more »

Making sense of insurance amid uncertain times

With a wide range of insurance policies available, it is vital to understand the differences before you commit. Insurance is crucial to better prepare for life’s uncertainties. Paradoxically, the wide ... Read more »

How much you can expect to get from Social Security if you make $30,000, $35,000 or $40,000 per year

The largest Social Security cost-of-living adjustment increase in decades is set to go into effect in 2022. The 5.9% pay bump was meant to help seniors cover the cost of ... Read more »

How a government shutdown would affect your Dec. 15 child tax credit payment

lisegagne | E+ | Getty Images Millions of American families with kids are set to receive the last of six advance monthly child tax credit payments Dec. 15. Yet, just ... Read more »

This millennial saved $100,000 and quit her marketing job by age 25. Here's how she did it

Having an emergency fund should be a cornerstone of household budgets. Experts commonly recommend you have at least three months of expenses in savings to handle unexpected setbacks. But how ... Read more »

The metaverse, crypto and EVs are among 2021's big tech winners

SAN FRANCISCO (BLOOMBERG) – When Americans gather around the Thanksgiving table this week, the blistering rally in technology, electric vehicles and crypto-related stocks is likely to be a part of ... Read more »

7 ways college students can help save the environment — and not go broke

The environment is one of the top concerns for Gen Z — even amid a pandemic. And, while some products that are billed as sustainable cost more, there are a ... Read more »

Fintech tools take the guesswork out of investing

The recent integration of Central Depository investment data to the SGFinDex further democratises financial planning for investors of all levels. When the pandemic hit last year, human resources executive Ms ... Read more »

If you don't get a 6% raise, are you taking a pay cut due to inflation? Here's what experts say

A worker helps a customer at the Presidente Supermarket in Miami on April 13, 2020.Joe Raedle | Getty Images Workers across the U.S. are wondering how rising inflation might be ... Read more »

Suze Orman: Can you afford to join the Great Resignation? Answer these 5 questions

Charnchai | iStock | Getty Images Working is not working out for a record number of us. According to federal data, the number of people quitting has never been higher ... Read more »

How much you need to invest per month to retire with $500,000, $750,000 or $1 million, broken down by age

Saving for retirement traditionally takes more than 40 years of work. Given that kind of time, investing a little extra cash every month can pay off exponentially in the stock ... Read more »

As inflation rises, here's where to find opportunities to make and save money

LeoPatrizi | E+ | Getty Images Rising inflation has Americans worried about purchasing power and their retirement plans. Yet there are some opportunities to make and save money in this ... Read more »

The 'Great Resignation' may help you land your dream job. What to know

Ben Hasty | MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle | Getty Images Thinking of quitting your job soon? It may help you find a better gig. Many Americans are leaving their current employers ... Read more »

Temasek offers Singapore retail investors rare opportunity to buy its bonds

SINGAPORE – Temasek Holdings launched a $350 million five-year bonds sale on Monday (Nov 15), part of which will be available for purchase by retail investors in Singapore. The state ... Read more »

Seizing Asia's investment moment in an increasingly multipolar world

To effectively position for Asia’s long-term opportunities, it is vital for business leaders and investors to understand the context and the dynamics of underlying trends in the region and how ... Read more »

TikTok Resumes and Instagram portfolios: How college students are using social media to find jobs

College students are on social media pretty much every day but when it comes to their job search, more than a third said they don't use social media at all, ... Read more »

Better to be smart than lucky

“I’d rather be lucky than be smart!” A lecturer in fund management for my Master of Science in Applied Finance course used to repeat this mantra in class. He used ... Read more »

How investors can have more say

Big index fund companies such as BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street and Fidelity are typically among the largest shareholders of publicly traded companies. Yet their ultimate owners – the millions of ... Read more »

Risk of having too much cash on flights in US

Travellers wait to drop their baggage at Miami International Airport in September 2021. (NYTIMES) – Odd-job worker Kermit Warren had about US$30,000 (S$40,600) cash on him when he flew from ... Read more »

Tips to avoid online shopping scams

A steady rise in online card fraud in recent years accelerated during the pandemic as more people shopped on the Internet. (NYTIMES) – You are expected to do much of ... Read more »

The money woes in Squid Game are real

In the hit TV series Squid Game, as in real life in South Korea, discrimination against women, the elderly and migrant workers is deeply entrenched, and many younger people find ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic