Despite the long list of obstacles companies have faced throughout the pandemic and are continuing to face today, sustainability has remained a top priority in many regions. Far from taking a back seat, a recent poll of over 600 business leaders around the world has shown that investing in sustainable products and systems continues to be a major focus, particularly in Hong Kong and Singapore.
In the latest Transforming Business survey, 129 respondents said that sustainable systems and products are a major investment focus to drive innovation at their companies. In particular, 34% and 38% of respondents from Hong Kong and Singapore respectively ranked “sustainable systems and products” as a top priority.
In October 2020, Insider launched the first Transforming Business poll, and found that 23% of the 53 total respondents planned to invest in sustainable systems and products in 2021. This first poll, while a smaller sample size, involved business leaders from Asia, North America, and Europe.
The new survey data shows sustainability remains top of mind for many business leaders, despite significant concerns over supply chain disruptions and general economic uncertainly worldwide. Insider interviewed several of the survey respondents who were also featured in the energy sector of the 100 People Transforming Business series last year.
In Singapore, a few companies focused on renewable energy solutions like Sunseap and Green Li-ion have invested heavily in stronger, more resiliant maufacturing systems to support the renewable energy sector.
One such Transformer is Reza Katal, CTO and cofounder of Green Li-ion, a Singapore-based startup that is developing unique technology to improve the recycling process of lithium-ion batteries.
“For two decades, lithium-ion batteries of the kind you would find in laptops, smartphone, and now electric vehicles have been our preferred source of portable energy,” Katal told Insider in a recent interview. “But the sad reality is that with a lifespan of only one to three years, 95% of these batteries end up as dangerous landfill. With current technology, it is simply not economical to recycle.”
The poll also showed that the pandemic has spurred respondents in Singapore to invest more aggressively in their innovation drivers, rather than slowing down. For example, Sunseap, a Singapore-based solar power company, took on several innovative projects throughout 2020 after the country announced its ambitious goal to increase its solar power seven times over by the year 2030.
“I believe this is just a start,” Frank Phuan, CEO and cofounder of Sunseap said. “Singapore has plans for carbon neutrality and we are going to need a lot more solar to achieve this.”
In 2020 Sunseap also began pursuing solar capacity on sea water, for the technology.
“We are currently completing installation of a 5MW floating coastal photovoltaic (PV) farm in the northern coastal waters in between Singapore and Malaysia,” Phuan told Insider in a previous interview. “This is the largest in the world. In terms of coastal water, this small pilot will act as a proof of concept, and we will begin to see PV islands around Singapore.”
Furthermore, a majority of Singapore and Hong Kong respondants said that their companies were comitted to combatting climate change. Respondents from Asia generally weighed sustainability more heavily than those in western regions in response to questions about sustainability, with 66% of Hong Kong respondents and 78% of Singapore respondents saying that their companies have made a public comittment to climate change. Respondents from India also ranked this priority highly at 74%.
This SurveyMonkey Audience poll targeted individuals who work in a management capacity at their company according to the Audience panel. They included respondents from Hong Kong (n=50), Singapore (n=50), The United States (n=207), Canada (n=104), France (n=52), the United Kingdom (n=51), Germany (n=50) and India (n=50), with local translations in Germany and France. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn’t try to weight its sample based on race or income. Polling data collected total of 614 respondents March 3-4, 2021.
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