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City Developments Limited

In this edition of our member spotlight series, we spoke to Esther An, Chief Sustainability Officer, City Developments Limited (CDL) about how being a member of EP100 is helping CDL spearhead change towards a net zero future.

Tell us about CDL’s journey to a net zero future

The world is in a climate emergency. To date, at least 85% of the world’s population have experienced the effects of climate change, with the past seven years being the hottest in history. These effects are most acute for 70% of the global population living in cities. With building and construction activities accounting for about 40% of global carbon emissions, the real estate sector is in a strong position to turn challenges into opportunities to advance sustainable development.  

Decisive and collective action is needed to drive change towards a climate positive future. In Singapore we have seen a push for a greener and more resilient country and economy. In February 2021, the Singapore Green Plan 2030 was launched, which galvanises a nation-wide movement to advance Singapore’s sustainable development agenda, with Singapore pledging to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  

As a pioneering developer in Singapore with presence in 29 countries and regions, CDL has joined leading global organisations to strengthen its decarbonisation commitment for long-term business resilience. Our ESG strategy, founded on our corporate ethos of “Conserving as We Construct” since 1995, has prepared us well in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Our value creation business model, anchored on four strategic pillars – Integration, Innovation, Investment, and Impact - provides us with a solid foundation to mitigate and adapt to unprecedented threats and challenges. Moving forward, CDL will continue to advance its commitment to achieving three deliverables: “Decarbonisation”, “Disclosure and Communication”, and “Digitalisation and Innovation”. 


Why did CDL decide to join Climate Group’s EP100 program? 

By becoming a member of EP100, CDL pledged to improve its energy productivity by deploying energy efficient technologies and practices. We also: 

  • Became the first real estate conglomerate in Southeast Asia to sign on to the World Green Building Council’s (WGBC) Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment in February 2021.  
  • We pledged to achieve net zero operational carbon for new developments and existing wholly-owned and directly managed buildings in Singapore by 2030; 
  • And to achieve maximum reduction of embodied carbon for new developments and major renovations by 2030, and for all buildings to be net zero carbon by 2050.   
  • We renewed our carbon reduction targets to align with 1.5°C validated by Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) in 2021.   

As a result, from 2012 to 2022, CDL saved more than $38 million from energy-efficient retrofitting and initiatives across all our commercial buildings. 

A successful business is no longer about short-term profits. Many investors and consumers are assessing companies based on their impact to the environment and communities. Embracing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has helped to add purpose to the “Triple Bottom Line” – doing well financially by doing good. In 2018, CDL was recognised as the 2018 SDG Pioneer for green infrastructure and a low carbon economy by the UN Global Compact. In its 16th Integrated Sustainability Report, CDL pioneered the application of a two-pillar ESG disclosure framework by blending nine components of its reporting framework into two pillars – capturing ‘value’ for investors and ‘impact’ on planet and people.  

“CDL joined EP100 by pledging to the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment in February 2021. To contribute to the global Race to Zero, we’re dedicated to fighting climate change within our value chain and stepping up our efforts and investments into green building and innovation for a resilient and liveable built environment.” 

 - Esther An, Chief Sustainability Officer, City Developments Limited


What has this enabled CDL to achieve?  

CDL is honoured to be listed under the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World by Corporate Knights since 2010, maintaining our position as the world’s topmost sustainable real estate management and development company since 2020. CDL’s robust ESG performance is also widely recognised by 14 global ESG ratings, rankings, and indexes, including “AAA” leader position on MSCI ESG Rating since 2010. 

Our strong track record in ESG performance has enabled us to tap into fast-rising ESG investment funds and sustainable finance. Being the first Singapore company to issue a green bond in 2017, we’ve secured more than S$3 billion worth of sustainable finance to support our continuous pursuit of a greener built environment. 

The “race to zero” requires companies to have true conviction and engagement with all stakeholders along their value chain. To tackle the climate emergency, companies should go beyond risk mitigation and turn threats into opportunities through adaptation. With two decades of integrating ESG into our business, CDL has captured growth opportunities while mitigating ESG risks, enhancing long-term value for our investors, communities, and the planet.    

Become a member of EP100.