CCCS: Green Collaboration Guidance Released

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by KnowESG
KnowESG_CCCS: Green Collaboration Guidance Released
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The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) released a guidance document, the "Environmental Sustainability Collaboration Guidance Note" (ESCGN), to help businesses understand how to collaborate on environmental sustainability initiatives without violating competition laws.

This document comes as Singapore pursues its goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. To achieve this ambitious goal, collaboration among businesses, including competitors, might be necessary or even essential. The ESCGN aims to clarify how the CCCS will evaluate such collaborations under the Competition Act (2004).

The guidance covers several key points:

  • Examples of acceptable collaborations: The ESCGN provides examples of collaborations unlikely to raise competition concerns, such as those not affecting how businesses compete (price, quantity, quality, etc.) or where independent action is impossible.

  • Minimising competition concerns: The document also outlines conditions where competition concerns are less likely and how businesses can structure their collaborations to minimise such concerns.

  • Assessing potentially anti-competitive collaborations: The ESCGN explains how the CCCS will assess potentially anti-competitive collaborations for an exemption under the "Net Economic Benefit" (NEB) clause. Recognising the potential societal benefits of such collaborations (e.g., reducing environmental impact), the CCCS may consider broader economic benefits for Singapore as a whole, compared to their usual NEB assessment which focuses primarily on affected markets.

Businesses are encouraged to use the ESCGN to self-assess their collaborations. For additional legal certainty, they can submit a notification to the CCCS for guidance or a decision. The CCCS has implemented a streamlined notification process to expedite the review process, supporting Singapore's national sustainability goals.

Public feedback received during a consultation period (July 2023 - September 2023) was considered in the final version of the ESCGN. A summary of the feedback and CCCS's response is available online.

CCCS’s Chief Executive, Ms. Sia Aik Kor, said, “Business collaborations that seek to prevent, reduce or mitigate negative environmental effects or promote environmental sustainability can have economic benefits and are important for Singapore to tackle the existential threat of climate change.

"The Environmental Sustainability Collaboration Guidance Note clarifies the collaborations that typically would not harm competition and sets out the streamlined notification process for quicker assessment by CCCS so that businesses can collaborate more confidently. However, businesses should not use environmental sustainability goals as a guise for anti-competitive conduct. CCCS will continue to monitor market developments and update the Guidance Note when appropriate.”

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Source: CCCS

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