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City Developments Limited

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A new lease of life for sustainability

More by City Developments Limited - Back to the Summer 2015 issue

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Singapore-based property and hotel conglomerate, City Developments Ltd (CDL), has been leading the way in environmentally-responsible real estate since the mid-1990s when it adopted its ‘Conserve as we Construct’ ethos. It’s the firm behind Singapore’s first Eco-Mall, first Eco-Condo and also the first carbon neutral development in the Asia Pacific region.

With the ongoing environmental impact of the building sector remaining high - in Singapore, the building sector is the third largest contributor of carbon emissions – CDL is keen to spread the message of sustainability to its commercial tenants. “To achieve even greater energy efficiency, we need to put a stronger emphasis on changing the behaviour of building occupants,” explains Esther An, chief sustainability officer at CDL. “As one of Singapore’s biggest landlords, CDL is well positioned to work closely with our commercial tenants to achieve greater environmental sustainability.”

Since last September, CDL has progressively implemented a CDL Green Lease Partnership programme to engage, encourage and enable commercial tenants to proactively monitor and reduce energy usage so as to lower their carbon footprint. “Through various initiatives under the programme, our tenants have greater empowerment to drive energy improvements through behavioural change, green infrastructure and best procurement practices,” says An.

 “CDL has always believed that stakeholder engagement is key to the success of our sustainability drive. Through the CDL Green Lease Partnership programme, we bring on board our commercial tenants in a concerted effort to drive the need to manage and reduce their energy consumption. Not only will this help make our buildings more sustainable, CDL and our tenants can together achieve utility savings and cut down operating expenses. It is our way of greening buildings beyond just the infrastructure.”

 The CDL Green Lease Partnership programme is in line with the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA, Singapore’s governing body for the built environment) third Green Building Masterplan, which places more emphasis on stakeholder engagement and collaboration, encouraging greater community involvement in sustainable development to create a future-ready built environment for Singapore. CDL’s efforts aim to complement Singapore’s vision to be a clean, green, sustainable and smart nation.

 “With the initiation of this programme, as an owner and landlord of numerous green properties, we are taking the lead to galvanise our tenants to pledge their environment commitment, to monitor, manage and reduce energy consumption,” maintains An. “Our green advocacy and product differentiation will put us in a position to help change mind-sets and capture the eventual rise of green consumerism. When this takes place, the tangible financial benefits will become more obvious.”

An highlights an important extra benefit: “ More importantly, from experience, we know that the programme will eventually better prepare our tenants for increased environmental legislations, which is expected in the future. Today, there is greater emphasis on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) concerns both on the political and corporate agendas. We believe that ESG management would largely shape the future of businesses.”

Under its Green Lease Partnership Programme, CDL has a dedicated team of Green Lease Ambassadors to reach out to commercial tenants and bring them on board. The Ambassadors also advise tenants on energy and water conservation, waste management, as well as how to green fit-out their premises by embracing environmentally-friendly designs, materials, fittings, equipment, lighting fixtures and the use of indoor greenery.

To enable commercial tenants to adopt sustainable practices, CDL introduced an automated meter reading portal (AMR), jointly developed with Tuas Power, that provides half-hourly updates of tenants’ energy consumption. Conveniently accessible via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, the portal enables tenants to better keep track of their energy consumption and in turn, reduce electricity usage.

As of May 2015, more than 80% of CDL’s commercial tenants have signed the Green Lease Memorandum of Understanding under the programme, pledging their commitment to monitor, manage and reduce energy consumption.

CDL operates several other green tenant programmes. Project Eco-Office is a campaign in conjunction with the Singapore Environment Council, which aims to encourage office workers, including CDL tenants to cultivate eco-friendly habits and manage precious resources in offices. CDL provides its new tenants with a Project: Eco-Office Kit to promote the 3Rs – reuse, reduce and recycle. Designated corners with segregated waste disposal bins are strategically located in CDL buildings to promote recycling.

Through a comprehensive distribution exercise of Eco-Office kits, a dedicated online platform and numerous awareness campaigns, Project: Eco-Office has reached out to thousands of office employees working in buildings within and outside the CDL group.
Since 2005, CDL has also been tracking the paper recycling rate across its commercial properties. In 2013, CDL achieved a total tenants’ participation rate of 94% and all its investment properties collaborated with Global Lamp Recycler (SG) Pte Ltd for the recycling of lamp tubes. Over 6,700 kg of lamp tubes have been diverted from landfills. In 2014, CDL’s City Square Mall launched e-waste recycling and to date, over 400 kg of e-waste has been collected.

In 2007, CDL kicked off a “1oC Up Programme” which involves raising the air-conditioning temperature in offices by 1oC, to reduce energy consumption and raise eco-consciousness amongst its tenants. So far CDL has achieved a 100% tenant participation rate and this programme has also achieved energy savings of 2,080,000 kWh annually.

Since 2009, CDL started providing a green fitting out kit to tenants in phases. This kit comprises guidelines and checklists that pertain to fitting out works, and during the tenants’ operation at the premises. The guidelines cover environmentally-friendly designs, materials, fittings, appliances, lighting fixtures, waste management, energy and water conservation measures and use of indoor greenery.

“At CDL, we believe that the real estate sector can and must play a significant role in sustainable development. As a major developer and landlord in Singapore, we recognise our unique position and the opportunity it affords us to share the practices of our industry and to encourage greater environmental and social stewardship amongst stakeholders and our supply chain. Sustainable development has became the cornerstone of our business,” concludes An. 

more about City Developments Limited

CDL has been Singapore’s property pioneer since 1963. A listed international property and hotel conglomerate, the firm is involved in real estate development and investment, hotel ownership and management, and facilities management, as well as the provision of hospitality solutions for the past five decades. In over 50 years of existence, it has built over 36,000 quality homes across diverse market segments.

CDL has a long track record in green building and is the first Singapore company to be listed on three of the world’s leading sustainability benchmarks: the FTSE4Good Index Series since 2002, Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World since 2010 and the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices since 2011. It is also a founding member of Singapore Compact for CSR, and one of the pioneer Singapore signatories of the United Nations Global Compact to lend support to the advancement of responsible corporate citizenship in Singapore.

IBE comment

It is well-known that cultural changes are never easy to achieve, especially when day to day behaviours are affected. This initiative is particularly important as it embarks in the difficult but fundamental task of improving customer’s attitude when it comes to environmental sustainability. Indeed, this represents the first essential step for any form of regulation on the matter to be effective. The support of local institutions is definitely positive to ensure a successful implementation of an initiative that can be considered among the most advanced in the region.

Points of note:
• CDL operates a wide range of green tenant programmes, tackling different aspects of environmental sustainability
• As of May 2015, more than 80% of CDL tenants have signed the Green Lease Memorandum of Understanding under its Green Lease Partnership programme
• CDL has a dedicated team of Green Lease Ambassadors to reach out to commercial tenants and bring them on board, giving advice on how to reduce their environmental impact.

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