Singapore Taps AI to Combat Greenwashing in real estate

A seedling. Credit: Sushobhan Badhai on UnsplashA seedling. Credit: Sushobhan Badhai on Unsplash

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Singapore’s central bank has set up its first use case for an artificial intelligence (AI) program to combat greenwashing: real estate.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said on Tuesday it has set the first use case for NovA!, an AI utility for helping financial institutions assess how the city-state’s real estate sector is performing on sustainability. The program will focus on enhancing assessments of companies’ environmental impact and identifying potential environmental risks, the MAS said in a statement on its website.

Greening Property

Real estate was chosen as a priority industry as it accounts for a significant amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and it takes up a large share of economic activity in Southeast Asia, MAS said. Building construction and operation accounts for around 35 percent of global energy consumption and 38 percent of energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions, the MAS said, citing the 2020 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction, from the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction and the U.N. Environment Program.

Financial institutions would be able to tap on NovA! for the environmental, social and governance (ESG) assessment for originating, underwriting and servicing sustainability-linked loans, the MAS said. The program is expected to use technology reduce the time needed to collect, process and analyse data as well as reducing costs, the release said. A demonstration version of the program will be released at the Singapore FinTech Festival 2022 in November, the MAS said.

The NovA! consortium has 16 members, including all three Singapore banks: DBS, UOB and OCBC, as well as HSBC, Citi Singapore, and Singapore’s state-owned investment company Temasek Holdings , the release said. The lead financial institutions on the project are Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) and Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. (SMBC), while Temasek acted as the commercial lead, the MAS said.