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Parliamentary Replies

Government Entities Knowingly Investing In Corporations In Business Harmful to Health or Environment

18 May 2018

Parliamentary Question by Ms Sylvia Lim:

To ask the Minister for Finance whether the Government has set any restrictions on Government entities knowingly investing in corporations whose main business activity is harmful to health or the environment, such as those in the tobacco products industry.

Parliamentary Reply by Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat: 

Government entities (i.e., Ministries and Statutory Boards) set up or own companies to achieve specific public policy purpose. Examples include Public Hospitals which provide healthcare services and the Employment and Employability Institute which supports the training and placement of workers and job seekers. Such corporate entities will not engage in activities that are harmful to health or the environment.  

2. Government’s investments are done mainly through GIC and Temasek. As has been explained previously, GIC and Temasek operate on a commercial basis in order to maximise long-term risk-adjusted returns. Their individual investment decisions are independent of the Government. While the Government does not prescribe how GIC and Temasek invest, both emphasise sustainability in their investment activities. Both recognise that good sustainability practices are good for business and can have a positive impact on long-term returns. Conversely, companies with poor sustainability practices carry business and reputational risks.