SINGAPORE — Singapore is Asia's greenest metropolis, according to the Asian Green City Index, a study commissioned by Siemens and carried out by the independent Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
The EIU analysed the aims and achievements of 22 major Asian cities, including Ha Noi, with respect to environmental and climate protection.
Singapore stood out in particular for its ambitious environmental targets and its efficient approach to achieving them. In other Asian cities as well, environmental awareness and climate protection guidelines were playing an increasingly important role, according to the study.
"The Asian Green City Index supports cities in their efforts to expand their infrastructures on a sustainable basis. We want to enable Asia's up-and-coming urban centres to achieve healthy growth rates coupled with a high quality of life," said Barbara Kux, member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and the company's Chief Sustainability Officer.
The Asian Green City Index examined eight categories of energy and CO2, land use and buildings, transport, waste, water, sanitation, air quality and environmental governance.
Ha Noi's best results were in the energy and CO2, air quality, and waste categories. Particular strengths in these categories include relatively low estimated CO2 emissions, a high rate of electricity generated from hydropower, and its efforts to set and monitor standards for air pollution. However, the city had significant room for improvement in the categories of transport and water, land use and buildings, sanitation, and environmental governance, according to the study.
"I'm very pleased that Ha Noi, Viet Nam's 1,000-year-old capital, could participate in the Asian Green City Index initiative, and although the overall result was not very good, it will certainly assist the city authorities to better understand where the city is in comparison with other Asian cities and what needs to be improved, thus making more informed and sound decisions on the city's future development", said Erdal Elver, president and CEO of Siemens Viet Nam.
The EIU developed the methodology in co-operation with leading urban experts around the world, including representatives of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Bank and Asia's regional network of local authorities, CITYNET.
"The study of Asian cities shows one thing very clearly: higher income does not necessarily mean higher resource consumption. While resource consumption increases substantially up to an annual gross domestic product (GDP) of about euro 15,000 (over US$20,000) per capita, it drops again when income rises beyond this," said Jan Friederich, research head of the EIU study. In prosperous Asian cities, environmental awareness was greater and infrastructures more efficient. These cities were actively cutting their consumption of natural resources, thus developing more sustainably. "In addition, cities that performed well in the Index are characterised by their ability to successfully implement environmental projects and consistently enforce regulations," explained Friederich.
According to the study, the biggest challenges facing Asia's cities were air pollution, which was relatively high in all the cities studied, and renewable energies, which on average accounted for just 11 per cent of the total electricity generated in the 22 cities. — VNS