CDL unveils bold 2030 sustainability plan

The Singapore-based company, which aims to be the most sustainable real estate firm in the world, has set itself tougher targets for waste, water use, recycling and carbon emissions.

republic plaza CBD
Republic Plaza in Singapore's Central Business District. The building has the highest possible rating in Singapore's national green building certification scheme. Image: CDL

Singapore real estate firm City Developments Limited (CDL) on Monday stepped up its sustainability efforts with a slew of bold new measures to reduce the company’s environmental impact.

CDL—already one of Singapore’s, and Asia’s, most well-recognised companies for its sustainability efforts—has upgraded an existing plan to reduce waste, water use and emissions, and use more recycled construction materials.

Called CDL Future Value 2030, the new sustainability blueprint introduces a plan to reduce the volume of waste the company’s produces by 50 per cent from 2016 levels, and ensure that half of the company’s construction materials come from recycled sources by 2030.

The company also plans to reduce carbon emissions by 38 per cent from 2007 levels, a much more ambitious target than the 25 per cent reduction set previously.

CDL’s chief sustainability officer Esther An told Eco-Business that the intention behind the company’s target was to “complement” the national emissions goal to reduce Singapore’s emissions intensity—that is, tonnes of carbon dioxide per dollar of national GDP—by 36 per cent compared to 2005 levels by 2030, and encourage other companies to be more ambitious with their own emissions reductions targets.

“If we don’t challenge other businesses to raise the bar, how are we to meet the 36  per cent goal as a nation?” she asked.

The year 2030 is a significant one for Singapore’s construction industry, as by then the city-state is aiming for 80 per cent of its buildings to be classified as green by the Building and Construction Authority’s Green Mark Scheme.

That year is also a milestone for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a series of targets around responsible consumption, hunger, health and water, that governments and companies are working to meet over the next 13 years.

CDL, which became Singapore’s first company to issue a green bond last month and is Asia’s most sustainable company as ranked by Canadian media firm Corporate Knights, is rolling out a new platform that will allow the company to track its progress.

The microsite, will allow CDL to report its sustainability performance on an ongoing basis instead of in annual reports, and will feature other sustainability news and trends.

The company launched its sustainability blueprint after reporting a mixed performance in its first quarter earnings last week. While revenue was up, profits fell at time when Singapore’s property market continues to struggle.

Net profit for the three months ending 31 March slumped by 18.9 per cent to S$85.5 million for the company that owns properties including City Square Mall, Republic Plaza, City House and Central Mall.

CDL’s bolstered sustainability plan will put the company in a stronger position ahead of the introduction of a carbon pricing scheme in Singapore, which is slated to take effect in 2019.

The company’s chief executive, Grant Kelley, said in a statement that governments and investors are “increasingly holding corporations accountable” for their carbon emissions as pressure builds to take action to mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Businesses can no longer ignore the impact of climate change risks on their bottom line,” he said.

The new sustainability strategy was needed to “future-proof our business,” he added.

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