Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CDL and the sustainable Singapore skyline

A colleague of mine, Rajesh Chabbara, who is the Asian Editor of Ethical Corporation Magazine and writer of an excellent blog, CSR Works, alerted me to an interesting report from Singapore,  published by City Developments Ltd.  I reviewed this report for CorporateRegister.com. You can find my full review here.  You can download their report here.

The first few paragraphs of the review are as follows:

"City Developments Ltd (CSL) is a property and hotel conglomerate operating out of Singapore. The company is one of the biggest landlords in Singapore with over 7 square miles of leased and rented properties, and extensive interests overseas in a range of locations. This report covers Singapore only where the company employs around 300 people. The first thing that strikes me about this report is its pleasant design using pastel-shaded vines as the core theme. I love their bar charts of data designed in the form of leafy vines. Managing Director Kwek Leng Joo (brother of the Company Chairman) says: "The CDL Sustainability Report 2010 is aptly entitled “Grow”. The vines symbolically articulate the rapid expansion of the sustainability movement in our Company." Indeed, this is one of the nicest designs I have seen – creative but not over facing, bold but modest, and one which blends perfectly with the spiritual undertones of this report, as in the opening sentence "We set our sights on higher standards, remain nimble and strive to reach for the skies".

Beyond the aesthetics, this report is of high quality and claims to be the first Sustainability Report that has been assured using the AA1000 AccountAbility Assurance Standard (AA1000AS Type 2 Assurance) in Singapore. It is the Company's third report, complies with GRI application level B+ and has 5 main sections: Marketplace, Environment, Employees, Community and Governance. What is apparent early on in this report is that CDL targets to be somewhat of a leader in Singapore with a desire to spread the CSR message and drive the market forward. This is a declaration which we do not always see in sustainability reports, and several examples of how CLD put this into practice make this more than just an empty promise. This is the first company I have seen reporting use of the ISO 26000 framework as a guiding document for its CSR planning and development. I wonder if it offered them any new insight. "

Aside from the really great report design, and advanced progress in green building and prominent position in developing a sustainable Singapore skyline, including the 11 Tampines Concourse, the first carbon neutral development in Singapore,  what is interesting about this company is the way it leverages its strong position in Singapore through the real estate, consumer and business markets to influence key stakeholders (indirect impacts) . CDL encourages business tenants to Go Green! and issues them with an Eco-Office Kit which encourages them to engage in environmentally friendly practices in their business. Similarly, homebuyers are offered Green Home tips. In CDL's shopping mall, shoppers are incentivised to buy eco-friendly products and can check the latest emmissions level of the mall or solar energy usage as they engage in modest consumerism. What would round this off for me is whether any of these excellent initiatives are actually making a difference, not only in making Singaporians more aware of environmental issues, but in whether any are changing their practices in business and the home, before being required to do so by law. I would like to see CDL present  data about what impact they are having, in addition to the focus on what they are doing. However, what they are doing is a good start and appears to demonstrate leadership in this market. Globally, the Company has achieved a certain recognition, being the only Singapore developer to be included in the FTSE4Good index. City Developments is ranked number 296 out of 1000 in the Global 1000 published by CRD Analytics on Justmeans, a pretty good position, and is also ranked 81 in the Corporate Knights Global 100 list for 2010.

As an aside, the CDL website links to the Clean and Green Singapore (CGS)  website, where there is a CGS song. I have posted before about sustainability songs (my blop called Sing Sustainability with Henkel),  and this one is also well worth a little singalong.

Anyway, now that I can count on you to join the local Sustainability Choir, take a look at CDL's report and yes, you guessed it, send them your feedback!

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices http://www.greenleaf-publishing.com/productdetail.kmod?productid=3282 Contact me via www.twitter.com/elainecohen  on Twitter or via my business website www.b-yond.biz/en  (BeyondBusiness,  CSR consulting and Sustainability Reporting firm)

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