6 minute read
In Focus: Lucy Thomas, RSK
By Lucy Haydon, Editor
Let’s begin with the RSK Centre for Sustainability Excellence, which opened in April (see image below). What are the Centre’s priorities during its first 12 months?
The RSK Centre for Sustainability Excellence was created to support the delivery of the Singapore Green Plan 2030 and support businesses and governments across the Asia Pacific region in enhancing climate resilience. The Centre is supported by RSK’s 175 businesses globally that work across the water, food and drink, energy, and property sectors.
The key priorities are building the RSK brand in the region and developing relationships with key stakeholders such as the government, industry, NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) and some of the educational facilities. The Centre focuses on four key themes that will help us all deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals:
• Sustainable agriculture
• Renewable energy
• Climate and sustainability strategy
• Digitalisation, particularly in the water sector
In the first 12 months, we will focus on climate strategy and digitalisation, as the first is a real priority on a global scale for measurement and reporting, financial disclosures, etc. The digitalisation team has been working with Binnies Singapore, which is now part of the RSK Group, on the Choa Chu Kang Waterworks project to increase automation in our water infrastructure.
We are also excited to develop a local talent pool of sustainability experts – especially in the fields of climate mitigation and adaptation, climate finance, development and delivery of strategies, and carbon off-setting – and data and environmental scientists. These are supported through our institute for climate strategy, which will enable us to apply the latest climate science in our projects through collaboration with universities in the region.
Why choose Singapore as the location for the Centre?
It was always in the RSK Group’s 2025 strategy to enter this region, and the acquisition of Binnies Singapore expedited the move. Singapore is also attractive for its educational system, strong digital skills, the drive, and innovation to make progress on some of the more challenging topics such as climate change, and of course, its status as a financial centre for the region.
The Singapore Government, through the Singapore Green Plan 2030 – and more recently, the plan to achieve net zero by 2050 – has developed a noticeably clear plan to move towards a greener, more sustainable future. Binnies Singapore, a business that provides solutions in water infrastructure, gives us a strong foothold in Singapore, so it seemed the logical home for the Centre.
Binnies Singapore – which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year – has played a key role in improving Singapore’s water infrastructure, and has worked on multiple key projects, including the Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant, and has been selected by PUB to provide detailed design and construction supervision for the reconstruction of Choa Chu Kang Waterworks.
Moving on to the broader sustainability agenda in Singapore, the city-state recently announced it is considering setting 2050 as its net zero target. What are your thoughts on this updated timeline, and where can the public sector focus its efforts to achieve this goal?
It is excellent that the Government opened public consultation as it engages people in the debate and educates them on the challenges and solutions. It is quite courageous for Singapore to align their targets with other parts of the world, given its dependence upon relationships with other countries for importation of energy and food, for example. Some strategies include expediting the use of emerging technologies in the water sector; supporting the energy transition through low-carbon solutions such as tidal and floating solar panels; and implementing action plans on how we measure and decarbonise airports, island communities, food and drink, media, and events.
Within industry, how do you see businesses being able to contribute to positive, practical change?
There are many ways, including getting acquainted with climate strategy and disclosures, undertaking carbon accounting, water, and biodiversity audits, developing management plans, and accessing the green finance and carbon offsetting market. The RSK Centre for Sustainability Excellence aims to become a trusted partner to businesses and organisations of all sizes in setting and achieving their sustainability goals and is already delivering climate-related financial disclosures.
With respect to carbon, it is critical to be measuring your carbon footprint and that of your supply chain and customers – right through the lifecycle of the product and waste disposal; otherwise, you may not be reducing emissions but simply moving them elsewhere.
Realistically, it is difficult to reduce emissions fully to zero as technology has not yet caught up across all industries, so offsets are necessary. With COP15 later this year, biodiversity should also be considered, not just carbon.
About RSK Group
RSK is a global leader in the delivery of sustainable solutions. Its family of more than 150 environmental, engineering, and technical services businesses and 10,000 employees, work together to provide practical solutions to some of the greatest challenges societies have ever faced. The company operates in most sectors of the economy, including many of those most critical to future global sustainability such as water, energy, food and drink, infrastructure, urban development, mining, and waste. With its integrated offering across research and development, consultancy, and on-the-ground application RSK can deliver a complete solution that is unrivalled in the market. The company is certified to the ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 international standards for quality, environmental management and health and safety management.
About RSK Centre for Sustainability Excellence
The RSK Centre for Sustainability Excellence aims to be a world-leading centre that develops and delivers solutions to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Net Zero ambitions, and resolve the global challenges we face. Consolidating the expertise of over 150 environmental businesses under the RSK Group, the RSK Centre for Sustainability Excellence will provide practical solutions for industries and governments, particularly to enhance the climate resilience of businesses across Asia Pacific. Established to contribute to the global debate on corporate climate strategy, the RSK Centre for Sustainability Excellence bridges academia and practice through robust and timely research projects across four key themes – climate and sustainability strategy, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and digital water. The RSK Centre for Sustainability Excellence is a subsidiary of RSK Group Limited.
RSK are active members of the BritCham Sustainability and Energy & Utilities Committees.