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CEO Sustainability Series | Interview with Ng Boon Hai, Vice President, Energy Transition and H2 Energy, APAC Air Liquide

As part of the our Sustainable Business initiative, the French Chamber of Commerce in Singapore presents a leadership interview series where we invite CEOs and key executives to discuss crucial management qualities that drive successful sustainable transformation.

What has your company’s sustainability journey been like so far? 

Air Liquide has long been committed to sustainability. From the COP 21 Paris agreement in 2015, to committing a 30% reduction of our carbon intensity in 2018, to our recently announced sustainability objectives of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, we continue to strive to lead sustainability efforts in our industry over the years.  In 2020, we opened a new chapter in our sustainability journey as we defined more ambitious sustainability objectives, making it an important stage in our company’s history. We have taken a more holistic approach, aiming to make a difference not just to our environment but also to our society, employees, customers and patients. For us, a sustainable future is where we perform steadily with a resilient and diversified business model and supporting customers and patients while addressing climate change and societal transformations.  

On a company level, you have set high targets, especially when it comes to environment and climate change. What’s the key to achieving these targets? 

Focusing on the environment and climate change, our ambition is to reduce our carbon emissions by -33% by 2035 and ultimately achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The key to our strategy is to “invent the future” by creating and developing innovative solutions based on technology and scientific expertise. To be more specific, hydrogen is a cornerstone of the energy transition. We are developing low-carbon solutions, implementing carbon capture, utilisation and storage (or CCUS) technologies, pushing for hydrogen mobility, and optimizing supply chains and improving the efficiency of our production units. 

 

Being responsible in sustainability and other areas are a motivator for the new workforce. But what does it mean to the financial bottom line? Is this just doing good, or is there commercial interest in it?  

At Air Liquide, financial performance and social responsibility are intertwined. Today, one of the key considerations for new investments and projects is the environmental impact or its carbon footprint. As such, we are taking a more strategic approach looking beyond the ROI, as we aim to be a good corporate citizen to ensure that our actions today will contribute to the achievement of our long term sustainability ambition.  It is our conviction that being a world leader is not just defined by who is the leader in terms of revenue, but it goes beyond that as it encompasses our Environmental, Social, and Governance (or ESG) performance. We believe in a sustainable future where performance and responsibility goes hand in hand.  

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