Singapore real estate firm CapitaLand Development appoints first post-demerger head of sustainability

The property development arm of CapitaLand Group has appointed National University of Singapore’s associate director of sustainability services Giovanni Cossu to lead its sustainability function.

Giovanni Cossu, head of sustainability, CapitaLand Development
Giovanni Cossu joins CapitaLand Development after eight and a half years with the National University of Singapore, where he was associate director of sustainability services. Image: CapitaLand

Singapore-based real estate giant CapitaLand has appointed the first head of sustainability for its recently privatised property development arm, CapitaLand Development (CLD).

Taking on the role is Giovanni Cossu, an Italian national who joins the company from the National University of Singapore, where he was associate director of sustainability services.

He joins with a brief to boost CLD’s sustainability capabilities for its building and precinct projects, which have a combined portfolio value of S$22 billion (US$16 billion), with a strategic focus on the Singapore, Vietnam and China markets.

In his new role, Cossu is expected to work on a new sustainability strategy for CLD, which was formed in 2021, when CapitaLand Group de-listed its development business and spun off its investment management arm, CapitaLand Investment (CLI). 

CLI announced a revamped 2030 Sustainability Master Plan in June, which aims to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and reduce Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 46 per cent by 2030. CLD has yet to unveil a decarbonisation plan since the demerger.

Although CLD is no longer listed, the company might soon have to report its climate impact, as Singapore is currently considering regulations that mandate large, unlisted companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions.

A CLD spokesperson told Eco-Business that the CapitaLand 2030 Sustainability Master Plan “has identified and integrated material ESG [environmental, social and governance] elements that CLD is currently evaluating in respect to its main business strategy.”

CLD “aspires to continue adopting significant ESG practices to accelerate sustainability in the real estate sector” and has set a goal of “greening its entire portfolio by 2030”, the spokesperson said.

Cossu will report to Tan Wee Hsien, who is chief executive of CLD’s new business and strategic planning division. CLD’s leadership council is responsible for overseeing the company’s sustainability efforts and factoring ESG into its corporate strategy, although Cossu is not part of the council.

Over his career, Cossu worked as a consultant for architectural design firm Valode & Pistre in Beijing, sustainable building firm Pomeroy Studio in Singapore and Ramboll Management Consulting in Germany.

At NUS, Cossu led strategic sustainability initiatives and developments, and oversaw the integration of net-zero, health and wellbeing targets into campus assets. Projects he worked on include Singapore’s first new-build net-zero energy building SDE4 at NUS College of Design and Engineering.

CLD’s recent sustainability-focused projects include Singapore Science Park 1, which is the first existing business park in Singapore to receive re-certification for the Green Mark Platinum for Districts, a green building certification awarded by the city-state’s building and construction authority.

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