CapitaLand kicks off Earth Hour with upcycling activity

CapitaLand Limited kicked off this year’s World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Earth Hour series of activities today by setting a Singapore record for the largest braided mat made from old T-shirts, measuring more than two metres in diameter.

The upcycled mat was completed this afternoon at a staff engagement event to recognise and reinforce employees’ green efforts. Upcycling is the process of reusing old, unwanted items to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.

More than 300 people, comprising staff from CapitaMalls Asia – the Group’s wholly-owned shopping mall business unit – and their families, gathered today to learn about the importance of environmental sustainability in an inspiring farm setting at Gardenasia, an event venue in Singapore’s Kranji countryside.

Prior to this event, CapitaLand staff organised a T-shirt donation drive and collected about 1,800 old T-shirts at the Group’s malls and corporate offices, of which over 1,000 were donated to The Salvation Army. On top of contributing to the community, staff also learnt how to breathe new life into old items by repurposing the remaining old T-shirts into a colourful braided mat, which is entering the Singapore Book of Records. The completed mat will be displayed at Bugis+, a CapitaLand mall in Singapore, for a month starting from 28 March 2015 – the official day of Earth Hour 2015 – to encourage everyone to creatively reuse unwanted items.

ION Orchard, another CapitaLand shopping mall in Singapore, will be the official mall venue for the WWF Earth Hour 2015 launch party on Saturday, 28 March 2015.

Across Asia Pacific and Europe, over 250 CapitaLand properties in 21 countries – Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, China, France, Georgia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam – will participate in WWF Earth Hour 2015 that day. This is the eighth year CapitaLand is supporting the annual global sustainability movement, to show its commitment towards protecting the environment.

Participating properties will switch off their façade lights and non-essential lighting for extended hours throughout the night, beginning 8.30pm (local time) on Saturday, 28 March 2015. Emergency lighting and security systems will function normally to ensure that safety and security are not compromised.

Mr Tan Seng Chai, Chairman, CapitaLand Sustainability Steering Committee, and Group Chief Corporate Officer, CapitaLand Limited, said: “CapitaLand’s credo of ‘Building People. Building Communities.’ is the bedrock of our commitment to improve the economic, environmental and social well-being of our stakeholders through the execution of development projects and management of our operations.”

He added: “Beyond running a sustainable business, our support for community movements such as WWF Earth Hour is part of our efforts to engage stakeholders in protecting the environment. This is the eighth year CapitaLand is supporting Earth Hour. We are proud to have our shopping mall, ION Orchard, as the official venue of the Earth Hour launch event in Singapore. Besides our usual practice of switching off the lights throughout the night, our employees and properties in various countries will also contribute to the movement in their own ways by going beyond the hour with upcycling and energy saving activities, tree planting, mass cycling events, and walking challenges, each organised to convey the message of conserving resources.”

Earth Hour 2015 at overseas CapitaLand properties

The Group is also rolling out a series of stakeholder engagement activities at its various properties in Asia and Europe in conjunction with Earth Hour.

In China, seven malls in the Western region are encouraging shoppers to reduce their carbon footprint by walking with a ‘100,000 steps challenge’. Shoppers simply need to download a health and fitness mobile app equipped with a pedometer; track the number of steps taken daily; and redeem prizes at participating malls when they accumulate 100,000 steps from 16 to 28 March 2015. Among the many activities in China is the pen light drawing event at CapitaMall Dongguan where shoppers are invited to convey their ideas and messages for Mother Earth using pen lights against a special backdrop, while lights are turned off at the property for Earth Hour.

In Malaysia, Gurney Plaza and Queensbay Mall in Penang are organising mass cycling events for charity and encourage people to minimise their carbon footprint. The Mines in Selangor is holding a book donation drive while East Coast Mall in Kuantan is organising a donation drive for used books, toys and clothes for the underprivileged.

Ascott properties across Asia Pacific and Europe will also organise activities to engage their residents in going green with Earth Hour parties.

Beyond the hour, whole year long

As CapitaLand is a leading global developer, water and energy usage, waste management and carbon emissions are key data closely monitored as part of its ISO 14001-certified Environment, Health and Safety Management System. For the first nine months of 2014, the reduction in energy usage (in kilowatts per square metre) was 11.6%, and the reduction in water usage (in cubic metres per square metre) was 18.1% from the 2008 baseline.

CapitaLand has made every-day changes at its corporate offices – centralised in CapitaHub – in Singapore. Housed in Capital Tower, CapitaHub makes staircases accessible to encourage staff to use the stairs instead of taking lifts when moving from one CapitaLand office to another; provides hot and cold drinking water taps instead of plastic bottle water dispensers to minimise the use of plastic; reusable tableware in its pantries and meeting rooms to eliminate the use of styrofoam cups and disposable tableware which are harmful to the environment; recycling bins at all its social pantries; and uses Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper and a ‘Follow Me Print’ smart printing system at its multi-function printers to reduce paper usage and ensure paper used are from responsible, sustainable sources. CapitaLand has also implemented many e-processes to replace paperwork, from employee claims to e-letters containing annual bonus and salary increment information.

CapitaLand has also adopted LED lighting technology at most of its shopping malls, office buildings and serviced residences in Singapore to reduce its energy usage. Alongside the adoption of LED lighting, CapitaLand malls in Singapore have also extended their recycling activities beyond paper, plastic and metal recyclable waste to include light bulbs for tenants during store renovation, and during asset enhancement initiatives and regular maintenance. In 2014, more than 4,000 light bulbs were collected across nine CapitaLand malls in Singapore, amounting to over 400 kilogrammes of glass and metal for recycling. CapitaLand’s Funan DigitaLife Mall is also the only mall in Singapore to provide e-waste recycling service. Started in May 2014, the mall collects an average of over a tonne of e-waste every month.

In addition, CapitaLand is focused on empowering its stakeholders to make environmentally friendly choices. CapitaCommercial Trust has embarked on a strategic partnership with BMW Asia to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in selected properties located in Singapore’s Central Business District. Among them, the EV charging stations at Capital Tower and Six Battery Road have begun operations.

For its sustainability efforts, CapitaLand was listed in the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World, Sustainability Yearbook, Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and Asia Pacific Index, Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (Regional Sector Leader for Asia/Diversified/Large Cap), FTSE4Good, MSCI Global Sustainability Indexes, STOXX® Global ESG Leaders Indices and Channel NewsAsia Sustainability Index.

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