Key initiatives to transform the environmental services industry launched at CESS

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, launched two key initiatives at the CleanEnviro Summit Singapore (CESS) 2018, which will help to 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 environmental services industry digital plan.

“As a small city state, Singapore has always been keenly aware of the need to balance economic development and environmental sustainability. The environmental services industry faces acute challenges such as an aging workforce and low productivity, but vulnerability can be turned into strength and opportunity,” Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, said at the Clean Environment Leaders Summit at CESS 2018. “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.”


Regulatory sandbox for environmental services

The regulatory sandbox serves as a key enabler for interested parties to trial innovative environmental services-related technologies and solutions in a controlled environment within a fixed duration, without compromising environmental, public health and safety aspects.

Currently, the experimentation of new technologies and solutions is allowed on a case-by-case basis, subject to compliance of existing regulatory requirements. The environmental services landscape is evolving, with emerging and disruptive technologies and business models that have the 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 it, resulting in missed opportunities.


A responsive and forward-looking regulatory approach is thus necessary to create an environment where trials of innovative technologies or 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.


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 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 last year, 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 our Zero Waste vision and a clean and liveable Singapore.