Ecosperity is a series of sustainability-focused conferences presented by Singapore-based investment company Temasek in Singapore.

The conference brings together CEOs, innovators, policy makers and thought leaders from around the world to explore the latest issues on sustainable growth.  The name “Ecosperity” combines ecology with prosperity – embodying the belief that growth can take place in a sustainable manner.

This year, the 2015 conference will focus on urbanisation and the challenges and opportunities arising from developing smart and sustainable cities.

As the pace of urbanisation accelerates worldwide, political and business leaders face the challenge of helping cities grow and prosper without compromising on their long-term sustainability.

Rapid population growth, coupled with large-scale industrialisation, is putting severe strains on the environment and creating social tensions. With urban areas expected to absorb most of this development, both mature and growing economies will need to find ways to manage this growth in a sustainable way.

Ecosperity 2015 will seek to find these solutions with a high-impact discussion spanning policy and policies, the role of capital, urban planning and development, and will cast its eye to the cities of the future.

Conference Partners

Ecosperity 2015 is presented by Temasek, in partnership with Goldman Sachs. In addition to the main conference, Temasek also presents the adjunct Ecosperity Young Leaders Dialogue, which is organised by the NUS Institute of Real Estate Studies and the NUS School of Design and Environment this year.

Temasek is pleased to have the support of the Centre for Liveable Cities as our Knowledge Partner for this event.

Incorporated in 1974, Temasek is an investment company based in Singapore. Supported by 10 offices globally, Temasek owns a S$266 billion portfolio as at 31 March 2015, with investments mainly in Singapore and Asia.

Temasek recognises that as world economies develop and a significant portion of the global population urbanises, global prosperity needs to be achieved in an environmentally sustainable way.  As an active investor, Temasek aims to deliver sustainable returns to our shareholder over the long term. As a responsible investor and a trusted steward, Temasek strives for our communities’ advancement across generations.

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high-net-worth individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world.

Goldman Sachs believes that a healthy environment is necessary for the well-being of society, its people and its business, and is the foundation for a sustainable and strong economy. In addition to having a strong track record in convening and providing thought leadership on environmental sustainability, the firm has also been at the forefront of its industry in establishing a comprehensive Environmental Policy Framework and promoting market-based solutions that benefit the environment.

The National University of Singapore (NUS) Institute of Real Estate Studies (IRES) is a university-level research institute established to advance multidisciplinary research in real estate and related fields. The institute promotes multidisciplinary collaboration and high-impact research on broad real estate issues in relation to finance, economics, urban development, wealth accumulation, demography, and environmental policies. IRES aspires to be the global leader in real estate studies, centred in Asia, by advancing thought leadership in the field of real estate, fostering excellence in research, education and outreach. IRES endeavours to be the beacon for the next generation of leaders in real estate by pushing the frontiers of knowledge and rising up to the challenges of tomorrow.

The National University of Singapore’s School of Design & Environment (SDE) traces its roots back to 1958, when the Department of Architecture offered a five-year programme in the Singapore Polytechnic. From these humble beginnings, the School has grown into a world-class institution offering programmes in architecture, project and facilities management, real estate and industrial design. From training professionals responsible for the building of the nation in its fledgling years of independence, to nurturing graduates equipped for the challenges of the future; the School provides an education which prepares its graduates to meet the current and future challenges of the design industry in relation to the built environment. Since its establishment over five decades ago, SDE has nurtured and groomed more than 5,000 graduates. On the strength of its rich heritage and visionary leadership, the School is poised to remain at the forefront of global excellence in education and research.

The Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC) was established in June 2008 by the Ministry of National Development and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources of Singapore. The Centre brings together Singapore’s expertise on sustainable urban development across public and private sectors. It aims to distil and develop Singapore’s experience in good governance, integrated urban planning, effective resource management, affordable quality housing, efficient transport management and environmental sustainability. Besides being a key repository of Singapore’s expertise in urban management, the Centre will facilitate the sharing of best practices and learning among cities in the region and globally through conferences, forums, seminars and workshops. Working with other international and local think tanks and research institutions, the CLC will also undertake policy-oriented research that is timely, practical and relevant. For more information, visit www.clc.gov.sg.

Ecosperity 2015

Ecosperity Conference 2015

Towards Sustainable Growth in the Natural Resources Industries

18 September 2015, Friday

Island Ballroom, Shangri-la Hotel Singapore

0800 - 0830


0830 - 0835

Opening Address

0835 - 0935

Panel 1:
Policy and political dilemmas: Balancing sustainability and rising urbanisation


Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore

Prof. Jan Peter Balkenende, Former Prime Minister, Netherlands; and Partner EY

Hon. Felipe Calderón, Chairman, Global Commission on the Economy and Climate & Sustainable Human Development Foundation

Xu Xianping, Former Vice Chairman, National Development and Reform Commission; Specially-appointed Professor, Guanghua School of Management, Peking University; and Member, 12th National Committee of CPPCC


Dr Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute

By 2050, around three quarters of the global population is expected to live in cities – but much of the necessary infrastructure to accommodate this has yet been built.  City planners worldwide therefore need to rapidly scale up infrastructure to cater for this rising urban population, who will require ready and affordable access to food, energy, water, transport and housing, among other services.

Achieving this will not be easy.  Most infrastructure projects take 10 to 15 years to develop, while many cities will double in size within the next decade alone. Depending on their stage of growth, cities also grapple with challenges such as unemployment, an ageing population, congestion, pollution, resource scarcity and rising inequality. Growing global concerns on climate change have also put increasing pressure on political leaders to restrict their country’s carbon emissions and to transition to a low-carbon economy. This December, the world’s governments are expected to ink a global treaty to legally curb greenhouse gas emissions at the UN climate change summit in Paris.

Against these global trends, sustainable urbanisation is increasingly seen as an imperative – a development paradigm that is not only economically productive, but also environmentally sustainable, socially cohesive, and resilient to climate change and other disasters.  How will policymakers achieve this?  How will they balance the tension between pursuing growth and ensuring sustainable urban development?  Are governments capitalising on low-carbon, green growth models to create new economic opportunities?  This opening dialogue will discuss policy dilemmas faced by city leaders, and how they resolve these to build sustainable cities.

0935 - 1035

Panel 2:
Urban planning for sustainable cities


Dr Cheong Koon Hean, CEO, Housing and Development Board, Singapore

Mochamad Ridwan Kamil, Mayor, City Government of Bandung, Indonesia

Liew Mun Leong, Chairman, Changi Airport Group; Chairman, Surbana Jurong Group; and Founding President & CEO, CapitaLand Group (1996 – 2012)

Sir Stuart Lipton, Partner, Lipton Rogers Developments LLP


Khoo Teng Chye, Executive Director, Centre for Liveable Cities

The world is in an unprecedented period of urbanisation.  As people migrate in masses to urban areas and city populations grow, far-sighted and integrated planning can ensure cities are developed sustainably.  Not only does this result in more liveable and attractive urban centres, it also substantially reduces the costs of accommodating the rise in urban populations.  A recent UN Global Compact-led report found that developing cities in a compact, connected and environmentally-sustainable manner could potentially reduce the capital costs of infrastructure investment by 6% or a staggering US$3 trillion, between now and 2030 due to economies of scale.

Such cities also enjoy other knock-on benefits, including energy savings, higher productivity and lower healthcare costs.  In addition, where dense and connected cities allow commuting needs to be met by an efficient public transport system, walking or cycling, this not only reduces congestion and pollution, but also encourages social connectivity. Private developers can in turn benefit in such cities, since more space can be freed for housing, green spaces and other developments – which also enhances a city’s attractiveness to buyers.

To achieve such cities, an integrated, holistic approach to planning is required.  Cities also need to foster inclusive societies and provide the structures necessary to integrate a wide spectrum of social groups. Policies that provide affordable housing not only facilitate this social integration, but also limits the occurrence of slums which typically lead to social ills like poverty and disease.  What are some successful projects that embody sustainable urban development?  How will the public sector work with private developers to build a compact, connected, green and socially cohesive city? This panel will explore the roles of both the public and private sectors in sustainable urban development, and discuss possible investment opportunities in today’s rapidly-urbanising world.

1035 - 1055

Tea Break

1055 - 1155

Panel 3:
The role of capital and partnerships


Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Former Minister of Finance & Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Nigeria

Jordan Z. Schwartz, Head, Global Infrastructure Facility, World Bank Group

Andrea Vella, Co-Head of Investment Banking Asia Ex-Japan, Goldman Sachs

Zhu Shumin, President, Agricultural Development Bank of China


Prof. John Macomber, Senior Lecturer, Gloria A. Dauten Real Estate Fellow, Harvard Business School

Today, some 55 per cent of the world’s population live in urban areas. The United Nations projects that this will increase to 66 per cent by 2050, with 2.5 billion people being added to urban populations by then – 90 per cent of this increase will be concentrated in Asia and Africa. Over the next two decades, the OECD estimates that some US$40 trillion will be needed for infrastructure investments globally. This creates huge opportunities for companies and financers in both private and public sector infrastructure development, such as electricity grids, power stations, water supply and treatment plants, roads and railways, bridges, airports, telecommunications networks, schools, hospitals, and more.

While funding of such projects have traditionally been the responsibility of regional or national governments, multilateral organisations and the private sector have an increasingly important role to play. Private capital provides more than just funding to projects, as it also adds invaluable knowledge and experience, as well as accountability. The landmark UN Third International Conference on Financing for Development in July also highlighted the importance of mobilising from a diverse range of players financial and technical resources for development. The Conference also emphasised the need to strengthen global partnership for financing sustainable development – that is focused on both people and the environment.

Amid competing priorities, how should governments allocate public funds to urbanisation projects? How will they ensure that these projects are sustainable? What are the challenges and opportunities in attracting private capital? What are some successful models of public-private collaboration? This panel will focus on the role of public-private partnerships in financing sustainable development, including the pitfalls of locking capital into unsustainable long-term projects, as well as the emergence of sustainable investing.

1155 - 1255

Panel 4:
Urbanisation and utilities


Eric Dresselhuys, Executive Vice President, Global Sales and Development, Silver Spring Networks

Thierry Mallet, Group Executive Vice President, Innovation, Marketing and Business Performance, SUEZ

John Rice, Vice Chairman, General Electric Company

Tan Gee Paw, Chairman, PUB, the National Water Agency, Singapore


Dan Reicher, Executive Director, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, Stanford University; Professor, Stanford Law School; and Lecturer, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Cities are massive consumers of energy and resources, comprising complex systems that power both physical and social infrastructure including national grids, water and sewerage management systems, transportation and logistics, buildings such as homes, offices, schools, hospitals, and more.

A McKinsey Global Institute report has found that just keeping pace with projected global GDP growth will require an estimated US$57 trillion in infrastructure investment between now and 2030.  As urban populations grow, pressure is mounting on city leaders to find rapid solutions to infrastructure delivery and to mitigate its impact on the environment.  This is even as the systems powering it are undergoing changes on an unprecedented scale.

For example, conventional power systems built for large-scale fossil fuel generation are coming under increased scrutiny due to global challenges such as climate change, dwindling natural resources, energy price volatility and geopolitical concerns.  Future infrastructure will have to be smart, responsive, and resilient, in order to optimise consumption, integrate clean energy sources, increase delivery efficiency, as well as withstand future shocks and disasters.

The same McKinsey report states that improving infrastructure productivity could save the world US$1 trillion a year.  Smart city solutions are hence increasingly seen as the way forward, and apart from energy-related applications, also have tremendous potential in improving the delivery of safe drinking water and waste recovery. As the infrastructure and utilities landscape undergo radical change, new opportunities for businesses will emerge .

Which technologies and business models will come to dominate the infrastructure industry?  How will city leaders decide on the innovations that will help better deliver infrastructure services, while improving the quality of life for its citizens?  What factors will determine the success of long-term, sustainable infrastructure projects?  This discussion will focus on the challenges and opportunities facing policymakers and business leaders in building sustainable and resilient infrastructure for cities.

1255 - 1325

Lunch Service

1325 - 1425

Lunch Panel:
The future of cities


Kunal Bahl, Founder and CEO, Snapdeal

Dr Chris Luebkeman, Arup Fellow, Director for Global Foresight + Research + Innovation, ARUP

Prof. Balaji Prabhakar, Co-Founder and Chief Scientist, Urban Engines; and Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Stanford University


Haslinda Amin, News Correspondent and Anchor, Bloomberg Television

In the past decade, technology has evolved at such a tremendous speed and radically changed the way we live and interact with each other. Driverless transport systems, multi-use sensors that track everything from energy usage to human traffic, hyper-intelligent buildings, smart city apps and more will become permanent fixtures in urban centres of the future.

These smart urban solutions will enable cities to save resource consumption, slash carbon emissions, increase their safety and reduce the need for inefficient and unnecessary human labour. Emerging technologies such as in the fields of robotics, 3D printing and the Internet of Things will play a key role in the shaping sustainable cities of the future.

At the same time, conventional business and economic models are undergoing deep-seated transformation; companies globally are re-thinking the “take-make-dispose” industrial processes and embracing the concepts of the circular and sharing economy. These involve reorganising manufacturing and product design so that materials are returned to the value chains, prolonging product lifespans through repair and refurbishment, and viewing consumption through the lens of temporary services rather than permanent ownership.

With these forces shaping the future, what will our cities look like in the decades to come? Which new economic and social models will dominate our societies? What do companies and governments have to do to thrive in this new innovation economy?  How should we invest now to ensure a sustainable, resilient future? This forward-looking panel will discuss the strategies that we need to adopt, and look at some possible scenarios of urban living in the cities of tomorrow.

1425 - 1430

End of Conference


Conference Report