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Published 15.10.2018 by Sunniva Bratt Slette, Sustainability analyst. From The Solutions Magazine, Autumn Edition 2018

Sustainable urban development is essential if the Paris Agreement and UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved.

Singapore is a usual suspect in rankings of the world’s most sustainable cities, for instance in the Global Smart City Performance Index (Juniper Research, 2016 and 2017). Themes like smart mobility, internet of things (IoT), renewable energy, open data, greenification, connectivity and living laboratories are streamlined to secure the interplay between technology, legislation, business and inhabitants. Targeted investments in urban planning and sustainable in-frastructure demonstrate how new technology and citizen habits could expedite a smarter city.


A visit to the NEWater Visitor Centre displayed how companies contribute with innovative solutions to reduce the water consumption. Used water from industry and houses is filtered and treated with ultraviolet radiation. NEWater is developed by PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency. In 2003 NEWater was launched to the public, after thorough testing since 1970. Through information campaigns the concept was relatively quickly embraced by the public. Today, NEWater is produced in five factories around the city, which covers 40 percent of Singapore’s water demand.

«The award-winning and environmentally certified building complex had green zones for pedestrians, hydroponic walls (vertical plant covered walls) and 1,800 m2 of solar panels producing 219,000 kWh annually.»

Sunniva Bratt Slette and Tulia Machado Helland
Storebrand’s sustainability analyst Sunniva Bratt Slette and Tulia Machado-Helland, Senior Legal Advisor ESG have recently returned from a trip to Indonesia and Singapore. The main focus was to meet companies and see technology that contributes to sustainable urban development in one of the smartest cities in the world.


Greenification and sustainable buildings is another aspect of smart cities. A meeting with the real estate developer City Developments Limited (CDL) provided a good overview. Being partners in UNEP FI’s investor group on TCFD integration, CDL was a valuable contact with whom to discuss sustainable real estate investments. The company provided insight into how they use the SDGs to target their long term investments. A visit to their property South Beach gave an impression of how greenification works in practice. The award-winning and environmentally certified building complex had green zones for pedestrians, hydroponic walls (vertical plant covered walls) and 1,800 m2 of solar panels producing 219,000 kWh annually. The display of technical innovations like façade integrated solar panels and rainwater capture and use was implemented in several sites, with a high potential for upscaling.

Smart City summarised 

Storebrand’s recently adjusted sustainability rating is based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The visit to Singapore particularly covered SDG numbers 11 (sustainable cities), 12 (responsible consumption and production) and 13 (climate action).The visit provided inspiration for potential new data sources for the KPIs that feed into Storebrand’s sustainability rating.

City Developments Limited (CDL) - Smart City Flagship Property - South Beach
A splendid example of greenification was Gardens by the Bay. The park is constructed as a bio energy power plant and air pollution filter system and is a tourist magnet. The lighting system is driven by solar energy. The park is also designed to delay water during heavy precipitation as a climate change mitigation measure. Cooling systems for the botanical gardens and the irrigation are of course run with NEWater.


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