by Vikas Vij — The building and construction industry has traditionally had a large environmental footprint. From reducing the energy consumed by buildings and minimizing construction waste, to ensuring that timber, cement, steel and glass sourcing does not lead to natural resource depletion, the environmental challenges surrounding the global real estate industry are many.
It may therefore come as a surprise that one of the 10 most sustainable companies in the world – according to the 2016 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World, an annual ranking by Corporate Knights – is Singapore’s property developer City Developments Limited (CDL).
CDL not only ranks as the world’s most sustainable real estate company, but also as a leader in sustainability reporting. It is also the only Singapore firm to be listed on the Global Compact 100 Index. Now, CDL has become one of the first global real estate giants to align its operations with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The company, with international operations in 26 countries, has identified nine SDGs that are relevant to its core business and operations. To meet the goal on energy efficiency, for instance, many of CDL’s properties come with green features, low-carbon technologies and renewable power, all with the aim to promote green lifestyles and sustainable living.
Over the years, CDL has also increased the adoption of solar technologies – as seen in the installation of solar panels in some of its latest residential developments. Between 2008 and 2015, CDL’s 57 Green Mark certified buildings have recorded energy savings of more than S$31 million.
By 2015, CDL had reduced its emissions intensity by 19 percent against the 2007 baseline and also cut its energy usage intensity by 27 percent in the same timeframe, exceeding its target of a 25 percent reduction by 2030. In terms of reduction in water use intensity, CDL reported a 17 percent reduction in 2015 compared with 2007.
From 2016, the firm has also set a target for 35 percent of all its building materials to contain recycled content, come from low-carbon sources, or be certified by leading environmental organizations.
The sustainability reports that CDL submits to the UN Global Compact (UNGC), officially known as a Communication of Progress, has consistently met the UNGC’s highest ‘GC advanced’ level for reporting, making it the only Singapore company to have attained this status since 2012.
Image Credit: UN.org