Sindicatum Renewable Energy Company Pte Ltd’s focus is to be a developer and operator of clean energy projects and a producer of sustainable resources from the utilisation of natural products and waste.
Sustainable resources are vital to a sustainable economy. Despite technological progress, the global economy remains entirely dependent on “natural capital” for its existence and growth. The planet’s natural capital includes all of the ecosystem services which we take for granted. Services such as the provision of water, food, waste decomposition, and fresh air are provided for free—without which our society could not survive. In conjunction with direct energy sources, such as the sun, such services are required to create the commodities upon which we rely in order to live. As the global economy continues to expand, it places demands on the planet which cannot be met.
Natural capital has been gradually depleting since the industrial revolution and commodities from aquatic life to forests have become increasingly scarce. Often produced from unsustainable fossil sources, such commodities have a finite life and pose environmental risks through global warming and climate change. The traditional economic model of resource utilisation is a linear process by which natural capital is exploited, creating waste, pollution, and environmental degradation.
Sindicatum Renewable Energy Company Pte Ltd (SREC) seeks to redress this balance through the production of long-term “sustainable resources”, in order to help displace mankind’s reliance on unsustainable sources. Through creating supplies of key commodities required for the functioning of a perpetually-viable global economy, they aim to help facilitate the transition to a system which utilises natural capital without depleting it.
SREC develops, owns, operates, and acquires contracted clean power generation facilities in South and Southeast Asia as part of continued efforts to combat global warming and climate change. The sustainable resources company does so in key markets that are perennially short of electricity, particularly in non-urbanised areas.
Headquartered in Singapore with operations across India, Thailand, Indonesia, United Kingdom (UK), and the Philippines, SREC has developed and financed 17 renewable energy projects which include businesses covering solar, waste to energy, and wind sectors.
To ensure that its projects continue to have a secure supply of fuel to avoid power-generation constraints or exposure to fuel price risks, SREC’s projects operate on fuel sources that are either free (solar or wind) or captive. “For our bagasse cogeneration projects, the majority of fuel supply is captive and based on a symbiotic relationship with the sugar mill, wherein the mill (fuel generator) benefits by power and steam from the project in exchange for the fuel,” explains Sindicatum Sustainable Resources’ chief executive, Mr Assaad Razzouk.
The Gujarat Solar Park is among the world’s first multi-developer, multi-facility, multi-technology and multi-beneficiary solar parks, located at Charanka Village in Patan District.
Practising sustainable investing, SREC is also the first Singaporean company to issue an international green bond. “We have recently issued two green bonds,” says Mr Razzouk. “One is linked to the Indian Rupee and another to the Philippines Peso. The funds raised in these two issuances will help us to further develop projects in respective countries. Going forward, we are looking for more such opportunities as the region’s demand for green investment continues to rise very rapidly.”
The renewable energy producer’s current challenge is probably in emerging market currencies and the risk that currencies in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand continue to devaluate. “This makes investment more demanding because investing in dollars in these markets becomes much riskier,” says Mr Razzouk. “That is precisely why we have launched local-currency linked green bonds on the international capital markets and we need to continue to innovate from a capital mobilisation point of view to surmount this and other related challenges.”
Sustainability lies at the heart of their business. SREC recognises that all of their investments depend on their relationships with a wide range of stakeholders and in particular, the local communities where their projects are undertaken. Their business model therefore seeks to meet daily, the highest standards of sustainability, governance, and ethical investing, along with a strong emphasis on health and safety. “Our teams are constantly engaged with local government agencies, business communities including advisory firms, business councils and groups for potential investment opportunities,” says Mr Razzouk. SREC also considers sustainability to be critical to the management of their staff. To promote a working environment where people feel that they are in it for the long-run, SREC aims to ensure people feel that they and their contributions are appreciated and that a proper balance between work and their life outside SREC is maintained.
In July 2018, SREC received a best small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) award at the Sustainable Business Awards (SBA) 2018, with a Special Recognition for Land Use and Biodiversity. This is its third year winning best SME (2015, 2017, and 2018) and the second for land use and biodiversity in 2014 and 2018. Mr Razzouk says that the awards (organised by Global Initiatives) recognise the efforts they have made through the years. “Underpinned by our commitment to responsible corporate ethics, we have established and maintained a system of environment due diligence, community participation, and development that supports our projects. Our performance targets are not only in terms of financial parameters but also in terms of meeting environmental, health, safety, and social parameters. Additionally, the company has also implemented sustainability targets which are communicated in our annual (published) sustainability report. These awards recognise our efforts over the years and motivate us to continue devising improved and innovative ideas.”
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