Once a resource-constrained country, Singapore invests in sustainable and efficient technology to cater for its energy needs

Solar panels used to power walkway lights

Singapore has faced many challenges in the last two decades, most notably in the energy sector. With limited renewable energy options, the island still relies heavily on imports. Typically, according to the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCA), the average wind speed is not powerful enough to activate wind turbines, while calm seas limit tidal power generation. Not to mention that the country doesn’t have a river system with fast flowing water which makes hydroelectric power a rather impossible investment option, and nuclear plants are not safe due to the limited land area and population density.

Nevertheless, Singapore has committed to becoming a benchmark in green energy and to profit from one resource the island has abundantly: solar energy. Earlier this year, the NCCA announced that the country aims to increase solar deployment from 47MWp to 350 MWp by 2020. The goal is that renewable energy would represent 8% of all the power demand. In order to do so, the country is investing heavily in research and development, as well as in creating an attractive ecosystem for cleantechs.

One of the projects developed by the government is to install solar panels on rooftops of high-rise public buildings, as well as on water surfaces. The latter, pointed as a bold and innovative pilot program, has reached so many good results that it was recently extended to the ocean. Popularly known as ‘energy islands’, the structure will supply energy to industrial and residential areas. Yet, as the geographical limitation makes it harder for the country to expand indefinitely its solar power plants, the government has decided to invest in efficiency.

The University of Singapore is thus working on solar cells that convert more sunlight into energy, and is, to that end, is making them cheaper to be integrated into buildings. The cost of solar energy has also been reduced in the last decade, making it more competitive.

Last year, the government announced that six clean energy investments across the fields of solar, wind, microgrids and energy management will help position the country as Asia’s leading cleantech hub. Currently, more 100 than clean energy companies are part of this ecosystem and helping to attract research funds, as well as an elite team of researchers. The university has already 110 PhD students, half of whom have graduated and are working in the solar energy industry.

As the authorities have secured the funding and support for these projects, the future for clean energy in Singapore seems bright!

Singapore is the host city for the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum (SIGEF), organized by Horyou, the social network for social good. The event will be held in September 2018.

The UN Sustainable Development Goal number 7 aims to provide clean, affordable and reliable energy for all, to further inclusion, opportunity and empowerment.

Photo: UNDP India

Almost 200 years after the invention of the first electric motor, there still are 1 billion people with no access to electricity. Half of them are in sub-Saharan countries, most in urban areas. It’s ironic that Africa, a region so rich in natural resources, always mentioned as the future test site for clean energy, still has a considerable part of its population in the dark.

It is both a wonderful opportunity and a threat – without clean and affordable energy, our future is at risk. How many innovators are losing the opportunity to put their ideas into practice? For how many more years are we to keep burning fossil fuels to provide our populations with energy? For how long will we continue to consume power without even thinking about its sources or effects on the environment?

According to the last UNDP account and despite all international agreements, the renewable share in final energy consumption has grown modestly from 2012 to 2014 from 17,9% to 18,3%, most of it from water, solar and wind-generated power. In the most developed and largest energy-consuming countries, however, an effort has been made – especially by reducing power consumption through greater efficiency in industry. The challenge is to increase this share even more, especially in sectors like heat and transport which account for 80% of global energy consumption.

Progress still falls short, but there are many remarkable initiatives in large and small scale that give hope and inspiration. One of the active organizations on our Horyou platform, Geres, Group for the Environment, Renewable Energy and Solidarity, is a French NGO that works with innovative and sustainable development projects around Europe-Mediterranean, West Africa, South-East Asia and Central Asia. From building electrified zones in Mali through to developing bioclimatic solutions in houses and farms in the Indian Himalayas, Geres has empowered communities for more than 40 years.

Other initiatives were presented during SIGEF 2016 in Marrakesh – one of the SIGEF Awards runner-ups was Pocket Rocket, a company focused on energy saving. Its products and services help to reduce the percentage of CO2 released in the air. Another one is Can Heat, a project which facilitates the manufacturing of solar water heater panels through the reuse of waste materials.

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps promote clean and affordable energy in your region or anywhere in the world. Your support can be made easier and more effective with Spotlight, our digital currency for impact. Check it out and start using it to engage in any cause you feel concerned about. Be the change, be Horyou!

Barcelona is hosting its 8th annual Corporate Social Responsibility Week, an event which connects the public sector to companies and non-profit organizations to discuss the recent developments in CSR. Horyou team has visited the venue and reports on some success stories.

8th CSR Week Barcelona took place from 14th to 18th November

What can a food bank do about global warming? Why should a healthcare and beauty products industry career coach unemployed women? Those are merely signs that CSR is pushing companies to go beyond their backyard. We all find profit in a better world.

The 8th edition of the annual CSR Week in Barcelona was an indication that many companies are trying to run the extra mile through their environmental and social actions. On a panel titled «Conferencias Soc-Eco-Amb», held on Tuesday, four organizations from very diverse industries showcased their actions.

Miguel Ángel Trabado, Henkel Beauty and Healthcare regional head of Professional Partnership Services (PPS), shared the «Fundación Quiero Trabajo» experience inaugurated this year. The project provides hairdressing, clothing, styling and professional coaching to unemployed women, helping them to recover from a job loss and restore their self-confidence. So far, 53 women have received assessment and advice, and 71% have found a new job. «It’s important to notice that most of the work is done by volunteers, and the great majority are women as well», he said. It is a global project that has produced remarkable results in Spain, with a high rate of successful job placements.

Speaking for Metro de Madrid on its recently launched CSR Policy, in line with the 11th and 13th UN Sustainable Development Goals on Sustainable Cities and Climate Action respectively, Monica Mariscal insisted on the company’s commitment to invest in innovation and technology in order to deliver the best user travel experience. Metro de Madrid is thus reusing 80% of its consumed water and, in 2017, it will reduce by 25% its energy consumption. Insisting on the responsibility to cater for the vast diversity of its users, she disclosed that «From a social perspective, the company has a commitment to diversity, and is building accessible stations and training both employees and people with disability to better use the metro». The goal is to have 73% of all stations accessible to people with disability by 2030.

Ana Gonzales talks about the CSR and Environment projects in Caprabo

As for the national supermarket chain Caprabo and its microdonations program, it is striving to reduce food waste, as well as to support people in need. Hence, the company donate small quantities of its unsold products – a pack of eggs in which just one is broken, for instance -, to non-profit organizations or food banks. This sounds simple but it requires some logistics in relation to food preservation and employee training to send out only items that are safe for consumption. According to Ana Gonzales, in charge of CSR and Environment for Caprabo, «The program is a success as it helps to feed 788 families per year. It also reduces food waste by more than 2,000 tons».

Caprabo micro donations go to organizations like Banc dels Aliments de Barcelona, a food bank that provides 18,000 tons of food to 137,000 people in Catalonia. In addition to putting meals on needy families tables, the organization has recently signed an agreement with the public sector by which it is working on reducing CO2 emissions. According to Joan Bosch, Economic Resources Coordinator, it is an extra challenge they are happy to take. «We have changed all our lamps to LED and are looking forward to reducing our emissions by more than 2,300 tons of CO2 in 2017», he stated. It is all done thanks to volunteering work and donations, and we aim higher each year. «Poverty is more intense and chronic than ever. We cover only 27% of families in need, and we expect to improve this number and the quality of what people are eating», he added. It will be done, of course, with lower emissions and the tireless commitment to building a better society.

Le Forum de l’Innovation Sociale et de l’Éthique globale abordera l’énergie du futur, les villes intelligentes et les SDG, et conduira une délégation officielle à l’EXPO 2017 Astana

SIGEF 2017 will take place in Astana, Kazakhstan
La 4ème edition du SIGEF aura lieu à Astana, au Kazakhstan

Horyou, le réseau social por le social good, annonce la 4ème edition du SIGEF, Forum de l’Innovation Sociale et de l’Étique Globale. Cet événement désormais mondialement reconnu, aura lieu le 5 septembre 2017, au Président Astana de Rixos, à Astana, au Kazakhstan. Il sera suivi d’une visite d’une délégation oficielle à EXPO 2017 les 6 et 7 septembre. Animé par une équipe de conférenciers internationaux, de panélistes et de modérateurs, le SIGEF débattra de trois questions cruciales, à savoir les villes intelligentes, les objectifs de développement durable de l’ONU (SDG) et l’énergie du futur. «Avec le SIGEF, Horyou s’est engagé à exhorter les parties prenantes à se rassembler pour interagir et établir des partenariats en vue de construire de meilleures perspectives d’avenir. Le SIGEF réunira des entrepreneurs sociaux, des investisseurs d’impact et des philanthropes, au côté d’officiels et de représentants de la société civile afin de diffuser le message que nous pouvons tous devenir artisans du changement », commente Yonathan Parienti, fondateur et PDG d’Horyou.

L’année dernière, le SIGEF a été le principal événement parallèle officiel de la COP22, à Marrakech, au Maroc. Etalé sur trois jours, le forum a été suivi sur place par un public international de 2500 personnes, offrant un espace d’exposition à des ONG du monde entier, produisant des performance artistiques, organisant un dîner de la Fondation Horyou et présentant un prix pour les meilleurs projets d’impact social. C’était le premier SIGEF organisé hors d’Europe et en Afrique.

Cette année, Horyou affermit sa présence et sa notoriété mondiales en organisant le premier SIGEF en Asie centrale, avec un agenda profondément ancré dans l’avenir de nos sociétés interconnectées. À l’ouverture et à la clôture de la journée, les participants au SIGEF auront l’occasion, lors d’une séance de réseautage spécialement organisée, de rencontrer quelques représentants majeurs de l’entrepreneuriat social, au côté de chefs d’entreprises, de bailleurs de fonds et d’officiels.

Les 6 et 7 septembre, Horyou et l’équipe du SIGEF accompagneront une délégation officielle pour visiter les pavillons de l’EXPO 2017 Astana, le plus grand rassemblement sur l’énergie du futur de cette année. «Nous sommes ravis de faire en sorte que nos délégations internationales au SIGEF se connectent avec des participants de tous les continents présents à l’EXPO 2017 Astana pour établir des ponts de collaboration et favoriser des solutions durables qui profiteront à nos sociétés», explique encore M. Parienti.

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Horyou est le réseau social pour le social good. A travers une sensibilisation à la technologie, à l’innovation et à l’entrepreneuriat social, Horyou favorise des interactions impactantes et globales entre ses organisations adhérentes, ses membres et des personnalités membres. Sur sa plate-forme, ainsi qu’avec son application mobile et Spotlight, la première monnaie sociale mondiale d’impact, Horyou contribue à transformer les idées positives en actions concrètes, tout en stimulant des connexions constructives en ligne et hors ligne.

L’application mobile Horyou est disponible pour téléchargement gratuit sous iOS et Android.

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