First statutory board to issue green bond in support of Singapore’s green finance market
Singapore, 17 August 2021 – The National Environment Agency (NEA) announced the establishment of its S$3 billion Multicurrency Medium Term Note (MTN) Programme and NEA’s Green Bond Framework today. Proceeds from the issuance of Notes under the MTN Programme will be used to finance sustainable infrastructure development projects including Tuas Nexus Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF), NEA’s flagship waste management project.
2 Issuance of green bonds will help develop green finance solutions and markets, supporting Singapore to become a leading centre for green finance in Asia, and around the world. This is part of the Green Economy Pillar under the Singapore Green Plan 2030. Launched on 10 February 2021, Singapore’s Green Plan is a whole-of-nation sustainability movement to advance the national agenda on sustainable development. Under the Plan’s Green Economy pillar, Singapore will seek green growth to create new jobs, transform our industries and harness sustainability as a competitive advantage. The IWMF will provide opportunities for this, and financing it through Green bonds issuance closes the development loop by ensuring the facility adopt best-in-class environmentally friendly features.
Tuas Nexus Integrated Waste Management Facility
3 Tuas Nexus IWMF is an integral part of NEA’s long-term plan to meet Singapore’s solid waste management needs. It will be Singapore’s first integrated facility to treat incinerable waste, source-segregated food waste, and dewatered sludge. The facility will also have the capability to sort household recyclables collected under the National Recycling Programme. Tuas Nexus IWMF will be co-located with PUB’s Tuas Water Reclamation Plant (Tuas WRP) to form Tuas Nexus, Singapore’s first integrated solid waste and used water treatment facility that will meet Singapore’s long-term solid waste management and used water treatment needs (refer to the infographic on Tuas Nexus).
Infographic on Tuas Nexus. Photo credit: The National Environment Agency (NEA) and PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency
4 When completed, Tuas Nexus IWMF will be an energy and resource efficient solid waste management facility that will boost Singapore’s recycling efforts and bring Singapore closer to our zero waste vision. These efforts are part of Singapore’s Zero Waste Masterplan, where targets have been set to strengthen Singapore’s climate, resource and economic resilience through a circular economy approach (refer to Annex A for more information on Tuas Nexus IWMF).
5 Mr Luke Goh, Chief Executive Officer of NEA said, “The establishment of NEA’s Green Bond Framework to finance Tuas Nexus IWMF and other environmentally sustainable projects, marks another milestone in our stewardship journey. Tuas Nexus IWMF will be the region’s most advanced, efficient and integrated solid waste treatment facility that treats separate waste streams with greater energy efficiency and reduces Singapore waste resource management’s overall carbon footprint.”
NEA Green Bond Framework
6 Under NEA’s MTN Programme and Green Bond Framework, issuance proceeds will be used to finance Green Projects which meet the Eligibility Criteria outlined in the Framework.
7 The construction and operation of Tuas Nexus IWMF will bring a number of expected environmental benefits as it will:
- Be equipped with a highly efficient wet flue gas treatment system to ensure clean air emissions.
- Be an advanced, efficient and integrated solid waste treatment facility that treats multiple waste streams with greater energy efficiency.
- Achieve high resource recovery through an automated materials recovery facility with economies of scale, higher sorting efficiencies and recovery yields for recyclables such as metals, paper and plastic recyclables.
- Achieve high land use efficiency through the innovative use of space, plant design and equipment layout.
- Be equipped with advanced technologies to minimise solid residues for landfilling.
Refer to Annex B for more information on NEA’s Green Bond Framework.
8 V.E, part of Moody's ESG Solutions, has provided a second party opinion on NEA’s Green Bond Framework. V.E is of the opinion that the Framework is aligned with the four components of the Green Bond Principles 2018 and best practices identified by V.E . V.E has been part of Moody’s ESG Solutions since 2019. Moody’s ESG Solutions is a business unit of Moody’s Corporation that serves the growing global demand for ESG and climate insights. The group’s comprehensive offering includes ESG scores, climate data, Sustainability Ratings and Sustainable Finance certifier (refer to NEA’s website at https://www.nea.gov.sg/corporate-functions/resources/medium-term-note-programme for V.E.’s second party opinion).
9 Mr Clifford Lee, Global Head of Fixed Income of DBS Bank said, “The Singapore Green Plan 2030 focuses on developing the green financing market by opening up alternative sources of capital to support the development of sustainable public infrastructure projects in Singapore. The establishment of the NEA Green Bond Framework sets a critical first step and forms a necessary benchmark in the market, responding to the need for a common and trusted standard for issuers and investors to rely on. The framework will also be an important driver in channeling the capital needed to help businesses and industries transition towards a climate-aligned economy and to reinforce Singapore’s position as an international green finance hub.”
10 DBS Bank Ltd. is the Sole Arranger for NEA’s MTN Programme and Green Structuring Advisor for NEA’s Green Bond Framework.
11 NEA will announce more information on the inaugural issuance of NEA’s Green Bond under the MTN Programme in due course.
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About the Tuas Nexus Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF)
An artist's impression of Tuas Nexus Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF)
Photo credit: National Environment Agency (NEA)
In 2020, a total of 5.88 million tonnes of solid waste was generated. While about 52 per cent of waste generated was recycled, the four Waste-to-Energy (WTE) plants in Singapore incinerated about 2.67 million tonnes in 2020. The amount of waste generated is expected to grow with an increasing population and economy.
2 Unlike the existing WTE plants which only incinerate waste, the IWMF will adopt an integrated approach to process multiple waste streams for higher resource and energy recovery while reducing its environmental and land use footprint. The waste streams that IWMF will be handling include incinerable waste, household recyclables collected under the National Recycling Programme (NRP), source-segregated food waste and dewatered sludge from Tuas WRP. A summary of the treatment facilities and capacities is in the table below:
Waste Treatment Facility
Capacity (tonnes per day)
Material Recovery Facility (MRF)
Food Waste Treatment Facility
Sludge Incineration Facility
Table 1 – Summary of the tentative capacities for the treatment of the four waste streams at IWMF
Timeline of IWMF Development
3 IWMF will be developed in phases. The first phase of IWMF is expected to be completed in 2025, with development of Phase Two to follow thereafter.
4 Besides the use of natural ventilation and lighting, and green labelled building products, in the design and construction of the architectural façade, the IWMF will also integrate a viewing deck at its chimney to offer a bird’s eye view of the Tuas Nexus facility and the Tuas region, to all visitors for educational purposes.
5 NEA has appointed M/s Keppel Seghers - China Harbour Construction - ST Engineering Marine (KCS) Consortium as its Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) Package 1 contractor on 22 April 2020 to design, construct and commission a 2,900 tonnes per day (tpd) Waste-To-Energy (WtE) Facility and a 250 tpd Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) as part of IWMF Phase One development. To complete the development for IWMF Phase One, NEA has appointed UES Holdings Pte Ltd (UESH) – China Harbour (Singapore) Engineering Company Pte Ltd (CHEC) Joint Venture as its EPC Package 2 contractor on 30 July 2021 for the development of a 800 tpd Sludge Incineration Facility and a 400 tpd Food Waste Treatment Facility.
Key Facts on Tuas Nexus IWMF. Photo credit: The National Environment Agency (NEA)
Infographic on Tuas Nexus. Photo credit: The National Environment Agency (NEA) and PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency
Waste Streams to be Treated at IWMF:
Household Recyclables collected under NRP
6 Public Waste Collectors (PWCs) are required to collect commingled recyclables (paper/cardboard, plastic, metal and glass) from all residential properties. Currently, the recyclables are sorted at the MRFs operated by PWCs before they are sent to the recycling plants.
7 To optimise both process and land use efficiency, the sorting of recyclables will be consolidated and carried out at IWMF’s MRF. With better economies of scale and through the use of advanced automatic sorting equipment, the MRF will achieve a high yield of sorted recyclables.
8 In 2020, 665,000 tonnes of food waste were generated, of which 19 per cent was recycled. The rest of the food waste was disposed of at the WTE plants via incineration.
9 Currently, food waste that is recycled is mainly homogenous food waste from food manufacturers such as spent yeast/grains from beer brewing, soya bean and bread waste. The food waste is segregated at source and sold to recyclers for conversion into animal feed. In addition, more than 50 premises, including hotels and schools, currently segregate and treat their food waste on-site into compost for landscaping purposes or water for non-potable use.
10 As part of NEA’s overall waste management plan, several initiatives have been planned to help increase food waste recycling in Singapore. One of the initiatives is to collect food waste separately for treatment at the IWMF and subsequently co-digest with used water sludge at Tuas WRP.
11 IWMF’s Food Waste Treatment Facility will be able to segregate the inorganic materials from the organic fractions before turning the latter into food waste slurry suitable for co-digestion with used water sludge at the Tuas WRP. The co-digestion of food waste and used water sludge will increase biogas production at the Tuas WRP. The biogas produced will be combusted at the IWMF to enhance its overall plant thermal efficiency and boost power production.
12 The IWMF will also be receiving dewatered sludge from the Tuas WRP for incineration at its Sludge Incineration Facility.
13 Fluidised bed incineration technology will be adopted at IWMF’s Sludge Incineration Facility.
14 NEA has adopted WTE incineration to manage solid waste that is not recycled as it is able to reduce the volume of waste by 90 per cent and thereby, help Singapore conserve landfill space. Once completed both Phases are completed, the IWMF will have an incineration capacity of 5,800 tonnes/day.
NEA’s Green Bond Framework
The NEA Green Bond Framework (the “Framework”) aligns with the voluntary guidelines of the Green Bond Principles (“GBP”) formulated by the International Capital Market Association (“ICMA”), framed by four core components: (1) Use of Proceeds, (2) Process for Project Evaluation & Selection, (3) Management of Proceeds and (4) Reporting.
For the avoidance of doubt, the green bonds raised under this Framework may be in any currency, tenor or on such terms and conditions in accordance with the financing strategy of NEA and in consultation with the dealer banks and having regard to market expectation of the green bond investors.
1. Use of Proceeds
The net proceeds from each green bond issuance under this Framework will be allocated to finance or refinance new or existing Green Projects which meet the Eligibility Criteria outlined below, with a two-year lookback period for refinancing projects. Such projects are defined as “Eligible Green Projects” under this Framework.
Green Project Categories
Eligible Green Projects
Contribution to the UN SDG Targets
Sustainable waste management
Design, construction, operation, management and capacity building, and/or upgrade of infrastructure, assets and/or plant relating to activities such as:
- Waste-to-energy with 26% gross waste-to-energy efficiency1
- Food Waste Treatment that treats food waste into high-quality bio-pulp
- Sludge Incineration with 70% thermal efficiency
- Material Recovery of Recyclables including waste collection and sorting (including pre-sorting)
- Waste Processing and Recycling (for non-hazardous waste only)
- Pollution Prevention and Control
- Energy/Emission- efficient Energy Recovery
- Resource Recovery
- Minimise Environmental Impact
- Optimise Land Use
- Minimise landfill
1 Only solid waste collected from domestic and commercial and industrial waste sources (Type A & Type B) will be treated. Refer to NEA’s website for more details.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Eligible Green Projects shall in all cases exclude fossil fuel-based electric power generation or improvement in the efficiency of fossil fuel-based electric power generation.
2. Process for Project Evaluation & Selection
Environmental Sustainability Objectives
The process for evaluating and selecting Eligible Green Projects aligns with NEA’s key roles in providing a safe, healthy and conducive living environment, as well as building a resource efficient and sustainable Singapore.
NEA has established a governance process for project evaluation and selection as follows:
- Green Bond Working Group comprising representative members from various functions and is responsible for identifying and proposing Green Projects using the Eligibility Criteria. In addition, the Green Bond Working Group will be responsible for managing any future updates of the Framework, including any expansion of requirements of use of proceeds.
- Green Bond Committee comprising senior leadership of NEA and is responsible for reviewing and endorsing the Eligible Green Projects proposed by the Green Bond Working Group to ensure compliance with the Framework.
- Board Finance Committee comprising key members of the Board and will approve the Eligible Green Projects to be financed by green bond issuances drawn under the Framework.
Additionally, the Green Bond Committee will review the approved Eligible Green Projects annually until the maturity of the green bond and endorse the compliance of these projects according to the Eligibility Criteria set out in the Framework.
NEA adopts its Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Framework for its activities to manage risks and opportunities, including those of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG), in a structured, integrated and effective manner. The ERM programme enables NEA to proactively identify, assess, prioritise, treat and monitor key strategic and operational risks on an ongoing basis. Any potential negative environmental and social impacts of the selected Eligible Green Projects will be carefully assessed and managed under the ERM programme.
More information on the ERM programme can be obtained from NEA’s Annual Sustainability Report.
3. Management of Proceeds
The net proceeds of green bonds will be allocated in full to Eligible Green Projects, which are selected in accordance with the Eligibility Criteria and using the evaluation and selection process as described above.
NEA’s Finance team will track the proceeds of the green bonds in a segregated bank account and periodically adjust the balance of the tracked proceeds to match allocations to the Eligible Green Projects.
Where the allocation of the proceeds is pending, such amounts will be held in a portfolio of liquid instruments including cash and cash equivalents, in accordance with NEA’s treasury policy. Any unallocated amount will not be used to directly finance projects or activities, or knowingly invested in any securities, which may contribute to any carbon intensive activities or facilities. NEA expects to allocate the net green bond proceeds to Eligible Green Projects within 24 months from the date of issuance.
Where the Eligible Green Projects portfolio is smaller than the net green bond proceeds outstanding or where a financed Eligible Green Project no longer complies with this Green Bond Framework (e.g. following divestment, postponement or cancellation), NEA will use its best endeavours to allocate the proceeds to Eligible Green Projects as soon as reasonably practicable.
NEA will provide information on the allocation of proceeds towards the Eligible Green Projects and environmental impact of those projects on an annual basis.
In connection, NEA will engage an external auditor to provide independent assurance on our reporting of the allocation and impact reports in accordance with the Framework, until full allocation and in case of material changes.
Until the maturity of the green bonds, NEA will provide information on:
- List of Eligible Green Projects with descriptions and allocated amount;
- Information about the share of green bond proceeds between new Eligible Project and re-financing, if applicable;
- Percentage of co-financing for projects financed by green bond proceeds and other financing sources, if any;
- Remaining balance of proceeds yet to be allocated at the end of the reporting period; and
- Types of temporary unallocated funds placements and uses.
Where confidentiality limits the amount of detail that can be made available, NEA may choose to present the information in generic terms.
To the extent relevant and practicable, NEA will provide information on qualitative and quantitative environmental impact indicators resulting from each Eligible Green Projects, including any material developments or ESG controversies. Example list of indicators are outlined in the table below:
Example performance indicators
- Overall Gross Power Efficiency for WTE (%)1
- Energy recovery from waste and sludge incineration (MWh per annum or MJ per annum)
- Incineration Bottom Ash (IBA) sent to off-site facility for recovery of Ferrous metals and Non-Ferrous metals (tonnes per annum)
- Recovery of Recyclables consisting of Ferrous metals, Non-Ferrous metals, Plastics and Paper (tonnes per annum)
Reduced Environmental Impact
- Compliance with Singapore’s air emissions requirements as per statutory requirements
- Reduction in Carbon Emission (tonnes of CO2 equivalent per annum)
- Bottom Ash Recovery (tonnes per annum)
- Diversion of IBA from landfill (tonnes per annum)
1 Figure of Overall Gross Power Efficiency is subject to change based on calorific value of waste, actual load during operations and power degradation curve.
Any key underlying methodologies and assumptions used in the quantitative determination will be included in the impact report.
The Green Bond Committee will review and approve the allocation report and the impact report to be made available on NEA’s website. The opinion of the external auditor will also be made available at NEA’s website in due course.
This Green Bond Framework has been reviewed by V.E who has issued an independent Second Party Opinion. The Second Party Opinion documents are made available at NEA’s website.
This Green Bond Framework contains certain forward-looking statements that reflect NEA’s current views with respect to future events and its financial and operational performance. These forward-looking statements are based on NEA’s current expectations and projections about future events. Because these forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, actual future results or performance may differ materially from those expressed in or implied by these statements due to any number of different factors, many of which are beyond the ability of NEA to control or estimate precisely, including changes in the regulatory environment, future market developments, fluctuations in price and other risks. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements contained herein, which are made only as of the date of this document. This Green Bond Framework does not constitute a recommendation regarding any securities of NEA. This Green Bond Framework is not, does not contain and may not be intended as an offer to sell or a solicitation of any offer to buy any securities issued by NEA. In particular, neither this document nor any other related material may be distributed or published in any jurisdiction in which it is unlawful to do so, except under circumstances that will result in compliance with any applicable laws or regulations. Persons into whose possession such documents may come must inform themselves about, and observe, any applicable restrictions on distribution.