Ms He Ting Ru asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance with regard to the first issue under the Singapore Green Bond Framework (a) how will concerns be addressed about using proceeds to fund expenditures of the Cross Island Line, given the environmental issues raised about the construction of the line; and (b) what are the specific rigorous sustainability criteria applied to be considered “eligible green expenditures” to ensure that the projects funded remain true to their green credentials.
Mr Lawrence Wong: Prior to embarking on any development project, the Government undertakes a thorough review of the project’s potential impact on various factors including the environment, traffic, public health and heritage, before a decision is made to proceed. The Government works closely with various stakeholders such as nature groups and other agencies to mitigate potential risks and impacts. This is undertaken regardless of whether the project is financed by bond issuance under the Singapore Green Bond Framework.
The planning process for the Cross Island Line follows this approach. The impact of the Cross Island Line on the environment has been addressed previously in this House. Environmental Impact Assessments have been shared with the public, and will continue to be shared when such studies are conducted for the Cross Island Line. Agencies will study views gathered during the feedback period and incorporate further measures where possible to mitigate potential environmental impact.
The Singapore Green Bond Framework sets out additional requirements for projects financed using green bonds issued by the Government, guided by market best practices. This includes specific and stringent eligibility criteria for green projects. For instance, the Cross Island Line qualifies as a green project under the “Clean Transportation” category as it is an electric rail line with zero direct emissions.
Our Green Bond Framework was independently assessed by an external reviewer to be credible, impactful and aligned with international standards. The framework and external reviewer’s report can be readily found on MOF’s website. The strong investor demand received during the inaugural Singapore sovereign green bond issuance also affirmed the market’s confidence in our framework and the green credentials of our projects, including the Cross Island Line. To provide transparency to investors and the public, the Government will publish annual reports on the allocation and impact of the green bonds, in accordance with the framework.
Ministry of Finance
3 October 2022