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Becoming a role model for sustainability

Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor (second from right) at the EcoBank Bazaar this year with CDL Group chief executive Sherman Kwek (in blue).


WHILE real estate developer City Developments (CDL) is famous for being involved in some of the most iconic buildings in Singapore, it is equally well known that the company is a role model for environmental sustainability.

CDL chief sustainability officer Esther An says: "Globally, buildings account for 40 per cent of energy consumption and 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions."

"As a developer and landlord, we aim to provide not only buildings and infrastructure but also clean, green and healthy spaces for home owners, tenants and the public."

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Last year, the mainboard-listed company launched the CDL Future Value 2030 sustainable blueprint, raising its carbon emissions reduction target from 25 per cent to 38 per cent from 2007 levels by 2030. Additionally, CDL aims to ensure that half of its construction materials are derived from recycled content, low-carbon sources or certified by recognised environmental organisations.

Similar to its own goals of reducing waste and carbon footprint, CDL has launched several initiatives to promote recycling and waste-cutting in Singapore. One of them is EcoBank Bazaar, an event organised by CDL and media company Eco-Businesss, that is held annually since 2016.

Members of the public are encouraged to donate items, including toys, clothing, books and accessories, that they no longer need. These items are then sold at the bazaar to others who attend the event. The funds raised are later given to charities and other beneficiaries. For unsold items, CDL donates them to organisations in need.

This year's EcoBank Bazaar collected more than 17,500kg of items, which saved 7,012 tonnes (1,000 kg makes a tonne) of carbon emissions in Singapore, according to CDL's partner organisation Turnkey Solutions.

To put it into perspective, this is equivalent to what is produced from 1,121 homes in one year, based on an earlier Straits Times article.

Additionally, a total of 180 volunteers, including 80 CDL employees, contributed 720 volunteer hours to manage the three-day bazaar.

This year also marked the start of the Fashion 3R, a sister initiative that ran alongside the bazaar to increase awareness of sustainable fashion and the ways to reduce fashion waste.

CDL and its partners held various activities, such as a textile upcycling workshop - transforming waste to products of a higher value - and a clothing swap.

From a business perspective, the company also points out that these initiatives have helped to generate stronger branding and goodwill for CDL among stakeholders and the community at large.

Ms An says that CDL's corporate giving committment has evolved from a traditional emphasis on philanthropy to a strategic integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) into the business.

And this means developing partnerships in the community to achieve a stronger impact, she notes.

"We firmly believe in education, engagement and the empowerment of stakeholders in doing good together. Without a sustainable planet, there will not be people and businesses," she says. "With greater awareness of global and national climate action, we have confidence that our community engagement programmes will build a stronger and larger green force for change."

  • This article is part of a series highlighting Champions of Good who mean business when it comes to corporate giving. Find out at if you have what it takes to be a Champion of Good. The Business Times supports NVPC's Company of Good programme as a media partner.