We’ve grown up hearing about campaigns to “stop climate change” and being told to “save the environment”. What might once have been a foreign thought to our parents’ and grandparents’ generations is a movement that’s been gradually growing over the years, perhaps even influencing us in recent times to “go green” by using less single-use plastic and recycling where we can.
The general consensus now is: It is no longer optional to take steps to slow down climate change and conserve our environment — it has become necessary for the sake of our future generations, especially as climate temperatures continue to rise to unprecedented levels.
As such, more people are commemorating Earth Day on 22 April every year in an attempt to spread awareness of protecting our Earth.
But what exactly is Earth Day?
22 April: Earth Day
Earth Day, an annual worldwide event to show support for environmental protection, was first held in 1970, where 20 million people in the United States took to the streets to protest about oil spills, polluted rivers, and smog. It was the largest civic action at the time that resulted in the creation of environmental agencies and the passing of environmental laws1.
Today, it still holds great significance — one of which was the signing of the Paris Climate Accord on Earth Day 2016. This is an agreement between over 100 nations to limit global temperature rise to less than 2°C over pre-industrial levels and strengthen countries' abilities to mitigate climate change's negative impacts.
In 2020, over 100 million people globally observed the 50th anniversary of Earth Day — an occasion that was labelled as the largest online mobilisation in history2.
More Singaporeans are becoming eco-conscious
As the industrial world came to a grinding halt in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps it was timely that we observed more people taking part in sustainable and green efforts in 2020 across a wide array of areas. These included:
Sustainable urban agriculture: Fear of food shortages during the pandemic has made Singaporeans think about ways to grow their own food sustainably. And so began an increased interest in urban farming. Even the government encouraged this as a sustainable method to produce food3.
Green Finance: When COVID-19 first started, stock markets worldwide took a hit as investors preferred to have cash in hand. However, companies with a high environmental, social, and governance (ESG) focus performed better with time4, showing that more consumers are thinking of the future.
In fact, according to Standard Chartered’s 2020 Sustainable Investing Review report5, four in ten Singapore investors are looking at sustainable investments over the next few years as the pandemic raised awareness of sustainable issues. We can expect ESG investing to continue gaining steam in the years to come, as people become more environmentally conscious.
How we DO Sustainability
As the only habitable planet in the solar system, it is essential we remember that conserving and protecting our Earth cannot and should not only be done on 22 April; it has to be a continuous effort throughout the year.
This is why companies are committing to long-term targets like net-zero carbon emissions or improving efficiency targets by 2050. Prudential too has its own green pledge
As part of our ESG strategy
, we focus on innovating to enable sustainable living for everyone through the solutions we offer, the investments we make, and the lives we touch. We achieve this with good governance and responsible business practices, by ensuring responsible investments, and engaging with and investing in the community around us.
“Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues such as widening inequalities, climate change, employment, and sustainable finance, were put in the spotlight as material factors that we must appropriately and effectively manage. Not only is it critical that we understand and manage our impacts on the environment, economy, and society but that we do it with urgency, scale and through a multi-stakeholder approach,” says Dennis Tan, CEO of Prudential Singapore. See what else he says here
To make sure that we are held accountable for these, we voluntarily track and report our own sustainability initiatives
every year, which reflect our commitment to ensuring our internal processes are geared to integrate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The following are some initiatives we have undertaken and reported in our 2020 Sustainability Report
. Want to know more about our Sustainability report? Watch it here.
- Incorporated an ESG screening approach into our due diligence for new and annual reviews of funds
- Enabled the transition to a lower-carbon economy and striving to ensure that it is inclusive — supporting sustainable growth and economic health where we operate
- Decarbonising investment portfolios
- Developed Sustainable Procurement Policy and Supplier Sustainability Guidelines to drive responsible procurement practices
- Committed to investing S$200 million of our total assets under management in ESG funds by the end of 2021
These are just a few examples of how we DO Sustainability at Prudential. Through these, we hope to do our part to help save the Earth and its people, and sustain the livelihoods of our customers for generations to come