Singapore

Applications open for $50m fund that supports sustainability projects

Individuals, groups, and businesses with sustainability ideas such as reducing waste, and coming up with ways to mitigate climate change, can now apply for funding for their projects.

The first grant call for the SG Eco Fund was announced by the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) yesterday. Applications will close on Jan 31 next year.

The $50 million fund was initially announced by MSE during the Committee of Supply Debate in March. It will support ground-up projects led by the community that aim to build a more sustainable future. Applicants will be expected to co-fund their projects, and they may receive funding of up to 80 per cent, subject to a cap of $1 million.

At the MSE year-end appreciation event yesterday, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said: "The Fund will cover projects in a broad range of areas, from farming and food production to climate change mitigation and resilience, resource efficiency and recycling, and conservation of diversity."

While acknowledging that sustainability is a collective effort, Ms Fu hopes the public, private and people sectors can work together to tackle climate change.

For instance, residents in Tampines GreenLace used compost from food waste in a community gardening initiative to grow edibles such as passionfruit and tapioca. This was part of a pilot project by MSE on household food waste segregation, with the help of organisations such as Zero Waste SG and Foodscape Collective.

In response to a question from the audience on the types of projects the ministers hope the SG Eco Fund would support, Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Desmond Tan said one aspect would be to improve recycling among citizens. He noted that rates of recycling from recycling bins are not at an ideal level.

Another important area would be the rapidly developing food sector, as there are "many technological solutions out there, but not all of them are necessarily applicable and need to be adapted to our local context".

In the next few years, with more newcomers entering the market, there needs to be a structured way for industry players to exchange technological know-how and experience with one another.

This would ensure they do not have to go through the same steep learning curve as existing players in the industry, allowing Singapore to reach its 30 by 30 goal of producing 30 per cent of its nutritional needs locally by 2030 - with as few mistakes as possible, said Ms Fu.

Environment