As published on zdnet.com, Tuesday 26 July, 2022.
Singapore is looking to drive the development of climate fintech products and services through a new initiative jointly launched with Google Cloud. The scheme aims to shortlist 100 applications that then will be developed and tested on the cloud vendor's open source platform
Called Point Carbon Zero Programme, the initiative is parked under Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) Project Greenprint and taps climate fintech services to boost the sector's access to "accurate and granular" climate-related data. This, in turn, will fuel more efficient deployment of capital towards green and sustainable projects, according to MAS.
The industry regulator said in a joint statement Tuesday that Google would provide its open source cloud platform, which was dedicated to facilitate climate finance development, to support the development and adoption of fintech applications.
Fintech accounted for more than half of the world's startup investments, but climate fintech remained a nascent sub-segment, MAS noted. It added that the new initiative aimed to drive anticipated growth of such applications in Asia over the next three years.
The programme would shortlist 100 applications for further development based on their potential to facilitate capital flows towards green and sustainable projects in the region. Applicants' submissions should address a range of climate finance problem statements, MAS said.
Selected applications would have the opportunity to deploy their solutions on Google's open source cloud platform in Singapore. The climate fintech applications then would be tested by a community of 1,000 financial institutions.
MAS said its programme also aimed to help 10,000 multinational corporations and small and midsize enterprises establish and track their sustainability goals.
In addition, the new initiative would offer selected applicants mentorship and funding from Google as well as access to aggregated climate disclosure, environmental, and public utilities data from Project Greenprint. Drawn from more than 200 public datasets across different sectors and hosted on Google Cloud, the data could be used to improve the accuracy of the climate fintech applications in measuring carbon emissions and the impact of an organisation's efforts to reduce these.
Shortlisted applicants also would be able to access Google Cloud's Carbon Sense services to track their own carbon footprint tied to their cloud usage. New climate-related datasets curated from these new applications could be made available, subject to the data owner's consent, to Project Greenprint's partners. MAS said this would be in line with its goal to facilitate "trusted and efficient" flows of quality sustainability data that supported financial institutions' sustainable finance and investment decisions.
MAS' chief sustainability officer Darian McBain said: "Singapore's financial and FinTech sectors can play a pivotal role in the efficient channeling of private capital toward sustainable projects and businesses focusing on their long-term sustainability impact. The effective employment of technology allows us to greatly enhance the quality, availability, and comparability of the ESG data needed to facilitate these financial flows [and] accelerate our transition to a low carbon economy."
According to Google Cloud's Singapore and Malaysia country director, Sherie Ng, while ESG initiatives were a priority for most global organisations, less than 2 in 10 of these firms currently were able to measure and optimise their efforts.
Through the Point Carbon Zero Programme, Ng added that Google hoped to drive green financial data flows and enable countries as well as organisations to make quantifiable steps forward towards a carbon-free future.
Singapore has a 10-year roadmap to drive sustainable developments and achieve its goal of net zero emissions as soon as viable. Its Green Plan 2030 outlines various targets across different areas, including plans to deploy enough solar energy to power 350,000 households a year, cut waste sent to landfill by 30%, and have at least 20% of schools be carbon-neutral.
Singapore early this year said it would allow only new data centres that demonstrated high resource efficiency to be built in the city-state. The announcement came after it temporarily stopped the construction of such facilities while it reviewed how the growth of data centres could be managed in a "sustainable manner", which was consistent with the country's climate change commitments.