CDL leads in top sustainability benchmarks

CDL leads in top sustainability benchmarks
  • Top Singapore company on 2019 Global 100 most sustainable corporations
  • First and only Singapore company on 2018 CDP A-List for corporate climate action
  • Only Singapore real estate management and development company selected for Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for two consecutive years


 City Developments Limited (CDL) has emerged the top Singapore company in the 2019 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World ranking, taking 25th place. This also makes CDL the first and only Singapore company to be listed on the Global 100 for 10 consecutive years.

Conducted by Corporate Knights, a Toronto-based international media and investment research firm, the Global 100 ranking is recognised as the world’s preeminent sustainability equity index and gold standard in corporate sustainability analysis.

Announced on 22 January 2019 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, companies listed on the 2019 Global 100 ranking were selected from some 7,500 publicly listed companies—each evaluated on a set of up to 21 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) indicators relative to their industry peers using publicly available information.

Sherman Kwek, CDL group chief executive officer, said, “In the face of climate change and its devastating impact, businesses must embrace sustainability as one of their top priorities to mitigate climate related risks. We need to conscientiously strike the required balance between financial performance, environmental stewardship and community engagement.”

“It is a tremendous honour for CDL to be recognised as the most sustainable Singapore company in the 2019 Global 100 ranking. For over two decades, strategic ESG integration has complemented our growth and continues to unlock value for our business. We must consistently explore sustainable alternatives to improve the way we operate. Looking ahead, CDL will drive innovation to develop more sustainable buildings, increase resource efficiency, and engage our stakeholders to build a sustainable future.”

Accelerating CDL’s sustainability and climate change strategy, the company launched its Future Value 2030 Sustainability Blueprint in 2017, setting ambitious ESG targets to future-proof its business and contribute towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG).

CDL aims to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per square metre across its Singapore operations (Corporate Office, commercial and industrial buildings) by 59 per cent from base-year 2007 by 2030. For its development projects, CDL commits to use sustainable building materials, instead of their conventional equivalents, to reduce embodied carbon by 24 per cent by 2030.

CDL has also continued to set benchmarks in sustainability reporting to rigorously track its sustainability performance. CDL was the first Singapore company to issue a Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)-checked sustainability report in 2008. In addition, CDL adopts global best practices such as the International Integrated Reporting Council’s Integrated Reporting Framework and Recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

CDP GLOBAL A-LIST for corporate climate action

 Also announced on 22 January 2019, CDL is the first and only Singapore real estate company on the 2018 CDP A-List, for its steadfast action on climate change and robust carbon strategy.

CDP is an international non-profit that drives companies and governments to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, safeguard water resources and protect forests. Every year, thousands of companies submit data about their environmental impacts, risks and opportunities to CDP for independent assessment against its scoring methodology. In 2018, companies were requested to do so by over 650 investors with over US$87 trillion in assets.

CDL’s ‘A’ score reflects the company’s comprehensive understanding of its climate-related risks and opportunities, its proactive efforts to mitigate climate change, and adoption of sustainability best practices and strategies to reduce GHG emissions.

“As governments across the world step up their commitment to climate action, businesses must also urgently transit to a low or zero-carbon economy. CDL is honoured to be recognised as a global leader for corporate climate action. We have been steadfast in our climate and carbon management strategies to reduce our carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuel. We will continue to actively engage our stakeholders to collectively reduce our environmental footprint. Together, we can accelerate climate action,” Kwek said.

In the wake of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 1.5°C Special Report and COP24 summit in 2018, the threats of climate change and environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have become increasingly pertinent for policy makers and businesses.

Recognising the importance of future proofing its business, CDL conducted a climate change scenario study in 2018, looking into the potential impact of both a 2°C and 4°C warming scenario to its operations in key markets, based on the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures’ (TCFD) recommendations. In view of the IPCC Report, CDL will continue with its climate change impact study by looking into the potential risks of a 1.5°C warming scenario.

As part of its carbon management strategies, CDL implemented a science-based approach in setting reduction targets for carbon emissions intensity.

On 16 July 2018, CDL became the first Singapore property company to have its carbon reduction targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). CDL aims to reduce its carbon emission intensity across its Singapore operations by 59 per cent by 2030 from base-year 2007[1].

This is an increase from an earlier target of 38 per cent. For its development projects, CDL commits to use sustainable building materials, instead of their conventional equivalents, to reduce embodied carbon[2]by 24 per cent by 2030. CDL will also engage its subsidiary, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc, which contributes close to 90 per cent of emissions from CDL’s key subsidiaries, to set a science-based emissions reduction target by 2025.

Apart from being the first Singapore developer to generate solar power on site at selected developments since the early 2000s, CDL adopted carbon offsetting since 2009 for its Corporate Office operations and 11 Tampines Concourse project.

In 2017, CDL started to look into procuring Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). In 2018, CDL advanced its sourcing strategy for renewable energy, becoming a pioneer buyer of RECs on SP Group’s blockchain platform. This enables CDL to procure RECs from solar developers conveniently, seamlessly and securely while meeting its evolving energy demands and carbon reduction ambitions.

Bloomberg’s Gender-Equality Index

On 16 January 2019, CDL was selected to be on the 2019 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, in recognition of its commitment to transparency in gender reporting and advancing gender diversity in the workplace. Since the global index was launched in 2018, CDL is the only Singapore real estate management and development company to be listed for two consecutive years.

Tracked by investors, the GEI uses a standardised reporting framework for public companies to disclose information on how they promote gender equality across four separate areas – company statistics, policies, community engagement as well as products and services. Based on the extent of disclosures and achievement of best-in-class statistics and policies, reporting companies that score above a globally-established threshold are included in the GEI.

“In a traditionally male-dominated industry, CDL is honoured to be listed on the GEI for the second consecutive year. A diverse workforce enables us to make better decisions and achieve superior outcomes. Our diversity across genders, age groups, cultures and geographies has given us a strong strategic advantage and we will continue to support the professional development of all employees within our Group,” CDL group CEO Sherman Kwek said.

To promote the awareness and adoption of diversity and inclusion within the company and wider community, CDL established an internal Diversity and Inclusion Task Force in 2017. Women employees form 70 per cent of CDL’s workforce and 47 per cent of its department heads. In 2018, the number of women department heads in CDL increased by 60 per cent compared to 2017. The Task Force complements CDL’s Women4Green network, a first in Singapore, which inspires and empowers women to create a financially, environmentally and socially sustainable future.

CDL also adopted a formal Board Diversity Policy in 2017, setting a clear framework for promoting diversity on its Board. To date, two[3] (about 30 per cent) out of seven directors on the CDL Board are women. This surpasses the Diversity Action Committee (DAC) Singapore’s recommended target of having a 20 per cent women representation on the boards of Singapore-listed companies by 2020.

In addition, Mr Kwek is part of the DAC and he also joined over 1,800 global leaders in pledging support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles, an initiative jointly developed by the UN Women and UN Global Compact to promote gender diversity at the workplace.

For more information on the 2019 Global 100, please visit:

For more information on CDP, please visit:

For more information on the Bloomberg GEI, please visit:

For more information on CDL’s sustainability efforts, please visit:


[1] CDL will reduce Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions per square metre of its Singapore operations. Scope 1 includes direct emissions which occur from sources that are owned or controlled by the company, for example, emissions from combustion in owned or controlled boilers, furnaces, vehicles, etc. and emissions from chemical production in owned or controlled process equipment. Scope 2 includes indirect emissions due to purchased electricity consumed at CDL’s Corporate Office, commercial and industrial buildings.

[2] Embodied carbon of construction materials includes the GHG emissions arising from the manufacture, transport, assembly, replacement and deconstruction of building materials.

[3] The two directors are Ms Lim Yin Nee Jenny and Ms Tan Yee Peng.


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