The Singapore Green Plan 2030 is driving sustainability full-force across the various industries in Singapore, and everyone has a part to play in achieving this national sustainability agenda.
As part of its OCBC Sustainability Day programme, OCBC Group’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Helen Wong, delivered a speech today (August 18) to address the bank’s commitment towards sustainability and climate action.
She announced that OCBC has partnered with the National University of Singapore (NUS) on a series of sustainability research, starting off with a study on the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).
The overall research hones in on the decarbonisation of urban travel — one of the key features of the Sustainable Living pillar — and will be led by Associate Professor Alberto Salvo, Deputy Head of Research at NUS Department of Economics and a leading sustainability expert.
Finding out what will make Singaporeans switch to EVs
The collaboration between NUS and OCBC marks the start of the nation’s largest dedicated study to understand the most effective way for Singaporeans to adopt EVs.
32,000 OCBC Bank customers will contribute to the study — which is expected to stretch across three months — and will be selected on the basis of having a high likelihood of replacing their cars in the coming years.
NUS and OCBC aim to uncover the concerns that consumers have about making the switch to EVs, be it concerns over cost of EV ownership in the long-run, or climate-damaging carbon emission levels of petrol and diesel vehicles.
Persuasiveness of the different factors will be gauged by studying the anonymised data retrieved from the participants. These factors include transit spending, fuel purchases on OCBC cards, and EV transition rate.
Said findings will further help businesses and organisations accelerate consumers’ adoption of EVs and other green practices. It also aims to support Singapore’s current push to electrify its vehicle population by phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.
Once the study is concluded and results analysed, a research paper will be released in the second quarter of 2023.
“Only by understanding what makes consumers tick, and which factors really tip the scale for them in favour of electric vehicles, can we effectively encourage our customers to go green,” said Sunny Quek, Head of Consumer Financial Services Singapore, OCBC Bank.
Minister for Sustainability and Environment, Ms Grace Fu supported the collaboration between NUS and OCBC stating that it is a combination of strengths that complement each other, further strengthening the research outcome.
“Partnerships and collaborations are needed in climate action as global warming and resource depletion are complex wicked problems that no country or company can solve on its own,”Minister for Sustainability and Environment, Ms Grace Fu
Setting an example to push for a greener future
Minister Fu elaborated on the efforts of the Singapore government in pushing towards a greener future.
“To nudge the transition to a low-carbon future, we will be raising the carbon tax progressively to provide a clear price signal for businesses and individuals to internalise the costs of carbon, encourage the adoption of technology, and steer action towards more sustainable practices.”
She mentions how the carbon tax revenue will be used to support the transition to a greener economy through incentivising low-carbon solutions, as well as act as a cushion for the transitional impact businesses and households may face.
OCBC has also long made a concerted effort to launch sustainable products and services. These include green investment products, as well as OCBC ‘Eco-Care’ home, renovation, and car loans.
The bank first launched its enhanced electric vehicle loan ‘Eco-Care’ in March 2021, and has seen its take-up rate double so far. It expects the overall OCBC ‘Eco-Care’ care loan business to achieve growth of more than 250 per cent by end of the year due to the surge of demand and interest in EVs.
Its work with NUS will also add value to OCBC’s services, allowing them to further refine and tailor its green products to make them more attractive to customers.
The bank also recently announced a strategic partnership with Charge+, an operator and provider of EV charging solutions, to boost the latter’s plans of installing 10,000 EV charging points islandwide by 2030.
As a bank, OCBC is resolute in our commitment to sustainability and climate action. At last year’s COP26, sustainable finance was one of the key areas of focus. For OCBC, it is definitely high on our sustainability agenda. Since then, our sustainability financing commitments have grown to S$37 billion, putting us in a very good position to achieve our S$50 billion target by 2025.– Helen Wong, Chief Executive Officer, OCBC Group
Wong expresses the importance of a community-effort in the ‘Race to Zero’. OCBC’s own efforts go beyond sustainable finance, and it it’s on track to achieve carbon neutrality by the end of 2022 for its own operational emissions.
In the wider ecosystem, OCBC also supports Singapore’s national sustainability agenda through its partnerships with NParks on the OCBC Arboretum and its #OCBCCares Fund for the Environment.
As part of its OCBC Sustainability Day programme, the keynote is also supported by three exhibition booths showcasing different aspects of sustainability.
“Along with our OCBC Sustainability Innovation Challenge and working with our partners, we hope to sponsor the development of many innovative green solutions in the region which can make a lasting positive impact for the environment,” Wong concludes.
Featured Image Credit: Vulcan Post