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Singapore’s Ministry for the Environment and Water Resources launches two key initiatives to create opportunities for technology collaboration in the environmental services industry

Singapore’s Ministry for the Environment and Water Resources launches two key initiatives to create opportunities for technology collaboration in the environmental services industry

The Minister for the Environment and Water
Resources
, Mr Masagos
Zulkifli, launched
two key initiatives at the CleanEnviro Summit Singapore (CESS) 2018. These initiatives aim to help catalyse the transformation of the
environmental services industry and ensure more opportunities for technology
collaboration and adoption. These initiatives include the regulatory sandbox
for environmental services and an environmental services industry digital plan.

Speaking at the Clean Environment Leaders
Summit at CESS 2018, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, stated that Singapore,
being a small city-state, has always been
acutely aware of the need to balance economic development and environmental
sustainability. The environmental services industry must cope with critical
challenges including an ageing workforce
and low productivity. However, The Minister maintains that vulnerability can be
turned into strength and opportunity. “We launched the Environmental Services
Industry Transformation Map (ES ITM) last year, and we will continue to push
ahead with productivity, digitalisation, and innovation, as well as support our industry
to seize opportunities in the future economy,” he added.

Regulatory
sandbox for environmental services

The first initiative is a regulatory
sandbox which will serve as a key enabler for interested parties to experiment
with innovative environmental services-related technologies and solutions in a
controlled environment within a fixed duration, without compromising public
safety, sanitation, or hygiene standards. Currently, the experimentation of new
technologies and solutions is permitted on a case-by-case basis and is subject
to compliance with existing regulatory requirements. The environmental services
landscape is evolving, with emerging and disruptive technologies and business
models that have an immense potential to reshape economies and industries. In
circumstances where it is less clear whether a new technology or solution
complies with the regulatory requirements, some companies may err on the side
of caution and choose not to implement them. This, more often than not, results
in missed opportunities. A responsive and forward-looking regulatory approach
is thus necessary to create an environment where trials of innovative
technologies/ solutions can take place with a temporary relaxation of specific
existing regulatory requirements. Over time, this will enable the industry to
transform into one that is powered by the pervasive use of technology to
increase their operational efficiency and productivity.

The regulatory sandbox will serve the
following objectives:

i.    Encourage innovation in the
environmental services industry;

ii.   Allow trials of innovative
technologies/solutions with a temporary relaxation of specific existing
regulatory requirements;

iii.  Enable companies to experiment
and develop scalable and replicable solutions in Singapore and overseas; and

iv.  Provide an avenue for NEA to
review/adjust its existing regulatory, licensing and enforcement framework to
facilitate applications of new technologies and solutions.

Environmental
Services Industry Digital Plan

To support the productivity and innovation
objectives of the ES
ITM
, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), in partnership
with NEA,
has developed the Environmental Services Industry Digital Plan (ES IDP). The ES
IDP will provide SMEs in ES Industry with a step-by-step guide on how to
identify the digital solutions required at each stage of their growth. The IDP
also includes a Digital Roadmap (Training), which is developed in partnership
with SkillsFuture Singapore, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and the Institute for Technical
Education. It comprises a curated list of short modular SkillsFuture Series
programmes to equip the workforce with the relevant skills to keep pace with
digital transformation.

NEA launched the ES ITM in December 2017,
unveiling the strategies and initiatives to transform the environmental
services industry. The implementation of the key initiatives launched today as
well as other ongoing efforts will ensure a vibrant, sustainable and
professional industry that will provide services and solutions to help achieve a
Zero Waste vision and a clean and liveable Singapore.