Monthly Archives

November 2017

Sustainability Reporting

Singapore Sustainability Reporting Award: CDL’s Integrated Sustainability Report 2017

In September this year, the Singapore Institute of Directors held the inaugural Singapore Sustainability Reporting Awards (SSRA) which aims to encourage and recognise excellence in sustainability reporting among Singapore listed companies. Of all the participants, CDL was honoured for producing the best sustainability report for established reporters or firms that have long been producing reports on sustainability.

Here are some highlights of the sustainability actions that CDL has reported in their Integrated Sustainability Report 2017: 

My TreeHouse

Built using eco-friendly and recycled materials, My Tree House boasts an eco-centric book collection, interactive green features and programmes which enable children to learn and discover about our natural environment, especially during their formative years. The library is a collaboration between the National Library Board (NLB) and CDL. There are about 45,000 books in this library, a third of which are green-themed covering on animals, plants, nature, water, weather, environment, recycling, and climate change.

My TreeHouse is located at the Central Public Library located within the National Library Building. In 2016, it received a visitorship of over 312,500.

Engaging Tenants on Resource Efficiency

Tenant electricity usage accounts for close to 50% of electricity consumption in CDL’s office and retail buildings. To support efforts in reducing energy consumption and environmental footprint, CDL implemented the CDL Green Lease Partnership Programme in 2014.

A digital energy monitoring portal was jointly developed with Tuas Power to enable tenants to track and better manage their energy usage. In addition to the “green fit-out” guide issued to all tenants, CDL created a dedicated team of CDL Green Lease Ambassadors to guide tenants on how they can create more environmentally-friendly premises by adopting sustainable practices, designs, materials, fittings, equipment, and lighting fixtures. The Ambassadors also helped identify energy-saving opportunities to lower tenants’ operating costs.

As of end 2016, more than 95% of  CDL’s tenants have pledged their commitment to the CDL Green Lease Partnership Programme by signing a Green Lease Memorandum of Understanding as part of lease renewal.

Find out more about the green lease and tenant agreement here!

Twin Chute Pneumatic Waste Collection System

This is an eco-friendly waste management system that utilises air suction to convey general waste and recyclable waste separately. The entire refuse disposal and removal process is clean, odourless and vector-free, and requires less manpower to manage, reducing costs while encouraging recycling.

CDL Singapore Sculpture Award

Themed “Towards Zero Waste!”, the 6th edition of this biennial award draws inspiration from the circular economy and Singapore’s vision of becoming a zero waste nation by 2030. The competition invites participants to design sculptures with residual materials from the construction of the Singapore Sustainability Academy.

Through the theme of the Award, CDL hopes to shift mindsets and change behaviour from  a linear “take-make-dispose” model to a more circular one, in which resources are circulated back into the economy and used for as long as possible

 

Besides the aforementioned actions and initiatives that were taken by CDL, their integrated Sustainability Report has more details about the company’s environmental commitment and actions. Read it here!

Green Talk

Interview with People’s Movement to Stop Haze

People’s Movement to Stop Haze (PM Haze) is a non-profit organisation which focuses on outreach, research and advocacy haze-related concerns. Its mission is to “drive a global movement to stop the haze by empowering the community with the knowledge, means and values to do so”. This is achieved by steering consumption patterns towards sustainable palm oil and paper as well as assisting Indonesian and Malaysian farmers to create a sustainable livelihood.

We had the opportunity to talk to Co-founder, Tan Yi Han, to find out more about the organisation.

 

TSP: What inspired you to start People’s Movement to Stop Haze?

PM Haze: After experiencing haze since I was in Secondary 1, I felt frustrated why the haze had not been solved after so many years. In 2013, I decided to see for myself who was burning and volunteered with Global Environment Centre, a Malaysia-based organisation, which was tackling the root causes of haze.

When the record-breaking 2013 haze hit, we went to ground zero, where we saw areas that were burnt out as far as the eye could see. At one such location, we spoke to local farmers who shared that they had lost all their crops when the fire spread in from neighbouring land. Despite the tragedy that had befallen them, as we interviewed them, they still served us coffee and nuts. Touched by their simple kindness, I vowed to do what I could to prevent their suffering from fires and haze. After I came back to Singapore, I spoke with friends about trying to do something from Singapore to stop haze. Thankfully, some of my friends believed in me and together we formed People’s Movement to Stop Haze.

 

TSP: Can you tell us a few challenges you faced when carrying out activities for People’s Movement to Stop Haze?

PM Haze: Over the course of these two years, we have spoken to about a hundred eateries, from small hawker centre stalls to large eatery chains. Most of them use palm oil, but even after we shared the issue with them, many were not inclined to switch to sustainable palm oil. They cited barriers such as cost, preference for certain oil or supplier as well as convenience in getting the oil as part of a package of dry goods from a wholesaler. Thankfully, we managed to reach out to some eateries whose management were already environmentally conscious, and so once they learnt about sustainable palm oil, they switched within one or two weeks. It was very encouraging.

 

TSP: Since the launch of People’s Movement to Stop Haze, what is the general response from the public?

PM Haze: We are fortunate that the haze problem is one that people in Singapore relate to, so we do get lots of opportunities to give talks or set up roadshow booths. We also do get a steady stream of volunteers of about 1 or 2 a month. Of course, when there is no haze, it is hard to get mass support for our campaigns, so we are looking to broaden our message to stay relevant.

 

TSP: Can you share with us a few statistics on the impact of People’s Movement to Stop Haze over the years?

PM Haze: In 2015, we came up with a PSI based on hourly-PM2.5 readings, which were more accurate than the 24-hour average PM2.5 that the official PSI readings used. As a result, we had a flood of 30,000 visits in less than a month (27 Sept – 1 Oct 2015). Together with media and civic pressure, the government eventually created bands for their hourly-PM2.5 readings to allow people to interpret the hourly-PM2.5 readings more easily.

This year we have gotten 3 eateries to use sustainable palm oil as a direct result of our outreach. We have also supported youth advocates to do outreach campaigns in SIM and nationwide.

 

TSP: For those who are interested in getting involved with People’s Movement to Stop Haze, can you share 2 to 3 quick and easy steps to get started?

PM Haze: Start by learning about this complex and yet fascinating issue through following us on Facebook and signing up for our monthly newsletter via pmhaze.org . If you’re keen to join us in taking action, you can sign up as a volunteer at pmhaze.org/volunteer or look out for our ad-hoc volunteering opportunities via our Facebook or newsletter.

 

TSP: How has the government been contributing to your organisation’s aim to combat the haze issue?

PM Haze: The government has been supportive in terms of giving verbal encouragement for sustainable palm oil and complimenting the work that we do. We also have frequent closed-door meetings to exchange knowledge and ideas.

 

TSP: What are some of your future plans for the People’s Movement to Stop Haze? 

PM Haze: Next year we will be building on our existing work on sustainable palm oil but also moving into the field of responsible finance, where Singapore can play an even bigger role. Responsible finance at its minimum means avoiding lending or investing money to companies which engage in unethical and unsustainable practices. We hope to work with other organisations to raise public awareness and demand for responsible finance and move the financial institutions in Singapore further along this road.

Sustainable Businesses

Ecosia: The Search Engine That Plants Trees

Imagine being able to help to restore a forest, just by searching something on the Internet. How is that even possible?

Well, look no further! The answer is Ecosia – a search engine that plants trees with its advertisement revenue. Every month, Ecosia donates at least 80% of their profits to tree planting programmes. With a mission to plant 1 billion trees by 2020, we delve further into how this search engine works and what you can do to help them achieve their mission.

 

How does it work?

All it takes to get started is by searching anything you want on their search engine. All of Ecosia’s search results are powered by Bing which is US second largest search engine owned by Microsoft.

The first few results that you obtain which are indicated “Ad” are the advertisements which help Ecosia generate revenue. By clicking on those results indicated with “Ad”, you can help to increase Ecosia’s revenue!

How many trees have I planted?

On the top right-hand corner, you will notice a tree counter. The tree counter indicates the number of searches that you have performed with Ecosia. Since not every user will click on an advertisement, Ecosia earns an average of 0.5 EUR cents per search. Hence, it takes an average of 45 web searches to fund the planting of a tree as it costs about 0.22 EUR cents to plant one tree!

Where are the trees being planted?

Ecosia looks to support projects in the 25 most threatened forest ecosystems, otherwise defined as biodiversity hotspots. To classify as one, a region must meet the following conditions:

  1. At least 1,500 species of vascular plants (>0.5% of the world’s total) are endemic
  2. At least 70% of the original natural vegetation has been lost

Hence, through this approach, Ecosia has identified 35 biodiversity hotspots as locations where it wants to plant trees. A few examples of these regions are Indonesia, Tanzania, Madagascar and Peru. Read more about the specific tree projects here!

How transparent are they?

Every month, Ecosia will issue a financial report detailing their total income for the month and the amount used to invest into their tree planting efforts (As shown below)

They also provide information about the payment for various tree planting projects and the number of trees that are being planted.

What is the current impact of Ecosia?

As of November 2017, Ecosia has planted over 15 million trees!

What can I do?

It is simple! Just make Ecosia your default search engine! Find out how to do so here.