CapitaCommercial Trust Management Limited CEO, Ms Lynette Leong flagging off the participants of CapitaCommercial Trust Eco Race 2013 in front of Capital Tower
CapitaCommercial Trust Management Limited CEO, Ms Lynette Leong flagging off the participants of CapitaCommercial Trust Eco Race 2013 in front of Capital Tower

Reduce carbon footprint, save the environment and enjoy cleaner and clearer skies. And so, it was apt that this year’s theme for the Eco Race organised by CapitaCommercial Trust Management Limited (CCTML) was ‘The Carbon Challenge’.

“CCT strives to not only be a provider of good quality office space with conducive work environment, but also be an environmentally responsible landlord. We started CCT Eco Race last year with a view to engaging our tenants in promoting practical ways in protecting the environment with fun and healthy activities. We are encouraged by the good response. In this year’s race, we have chosen the theme ‘The Carbon Challenge’ to heighten awareness of the causes of carbon emissions and practical tips in reducing them at the workplace. We believe that, through more of such engagement with our tenants, we can collectively contribute to a healthier living environment,” said Ms Lynette Leong, Chief Executive Officer of CCTML.

This year, over 300 participants from 27 companies across CCT’s office properties and staff from the CapitaLand Group and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) formed 77 teams to race for the clearer skies.

For the first time, BCA partnered CCT in organising this race. Dr John Keung, Chief Executive Officer of BCA said, “BCA aims to forge dynamic partnerships with key industry players to engage the public, who are also our important stakeholders, in the green building movement. The built environment sector will continue to develop and build energy efficient buildings, but we will need users or occupants of buildings to also be fully aware of sustainability practices and do their part to complement this green building effort. CCT Eco Race is an excellent platform for us to reach out to office occupiers to help enhance their appreciation and knowledge of green buildings.”

Race and Reduce

The task of the day was for the 77 teams to reduce the 28,000 points assigned to each team – with each point representing one kilogram of carbon. To do this, teams had to compete to complete tasks that would test their knowledge of eco-friendly alternatives, best practices in the office environment and green features of CCT properties at various checkpoints in the shortest amount of time.

Setting off from Capital Tower, one of CCT’s Grade A office buildings, the teams had to race against time to eight different stations in the Central Business District, including four CCT properties and four landmarks. Before that, they had to decipher a set of codes to determine where the challenge stops were. At the challenge stops, the teams had to take on fun tasks ranging from guessing words, fishing for clues, planting trees, to getting the public to make an eco-friendly pledge. The teams also had the option of performing bonus tasks that would help them reduce their carbon points.

Racing for the Environment

The team from JP Morgan who took home the first prize in CCT Eco Race 2012 did it again this year. Jade Hian Koh, Anthony Koo, Jim Fan and Shaun Tham won the race clocking in at one hour, eight minutes and four seconds. They managed to decrease the amount of carbon points from 28,000 to 4,000. “This year’s race was definitely tougher. The stations were further apart. To complete the race, we clocked about seven kilometres as compared to between five to six kilometres last year,” said Koh. The team tracked their journey using the global positioning system.

The team was also fully aware of the stiffer competition they were up against this year. “Because the teams are more experienced this year, the best way to prepare is still physical training,” added Koo.

To up the ante, the tasks to be completed at the stations were more challenging this year. “Six Battery Road was the toughest station because it’s a very knowledge-based station. We had to know the sequence of the carbon cycle,” volunteered Fan.

When asked if they had expected to win, Koh chimed, “We had the expectation to win but we also came here for the fun.”

And “fun” was also one of the four words used to describe State Street Bank’s maiden eco race - with “awesome”, “tiring” and “sweaty” being the rest. The first-time participants, Justin Armstrong, Jensen Ho, Matthew French, and Christopher Peter Giesbrecht, came in second with a time of one hour 10 minutes and 38 seconds. They managed to reduce their carbon points to 2,500.

State Street Bank sent a total of three teams. Besides first runner-up, the other two teams also won consolation prizes.

“We actually have a Green Team at State Street Bank and the three teams met and discussed possible questions and read up on the articles posted on the CapitaCommercial Trust Eco Race FaceBook Page,” said Marketing Assistant Christopher Giesbrecht.

“It was a good race because we could get to know Singapore a little bit. We don’t know the streets [very well] and we were always taking taxi and so it was good to run and see where everything is,” chipped in Senior Client Servicing Manager, Matthew French who hails from the UK. Both he and Giesbrecht, from Germany, have only been in Singapore for five months.

Second runner-up, Capita Pte Ltd, was also first-time lucky. Participating for the first time, team members Jackson Lim, Vernon Du, Lester Quek and Chloe Tay, were elated to take home the third prize. “We enjoyed the teamwork although that was also the toughest part of the race as we have to accommodate to one another’s strengths and weaknesses. Some are good at planning the route; some at cracking the codes, so we made sure we play to the team members’ strengths and gave people time to rest at the stations while others worked,” Lim explained their strategy.

First-time participants from Philip Futures also found the Eco Race a real enjoyment. “We didn’t know what to expect in the first place but it turned out to be very fun. There was this activity where you had to take pictures with members of the public. That went really well because after a while the public wanted us to take pictures with them. We are glad we participated and that we finished the race!” Taufik Jainal, who has been working at Philip Futures for four years, spoke on behalf of his team.

Racing for the Underprivileged

In total, close to S$10,000 worth of shopping vouchers were given out that day, including the top prize of S$2,000, 10 consolation prizes, eight lucky draw prizes and two novelty prizes.

Besides promoting eco-awareness, CCT Eco Race 2013 also remembers the less privileged. The registration fee of S$10 per participant was donated to CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF), the philanthropic arm of CapitaLand, to benefit the underprivileged children of TOUCH Community Services in education needs. The donation of S$6,770.00, matched dollar-for-dollar by CHF, was presented to Mr Edmund Wong, the General Manager of TOUCH Community Services at the prize presentation ceremony.

The Eco Race – Carbon Challenge 2013 concluded successfully with teams already setting their hopes high for next year. “We would like to send around 25 teams next year,” Chris Yeo, SAP HR Consultant at Accenture and the Head of the Recreation Committee, predicted that is what his company might do.

As for the first runner-up State Street Bank, “We will definitely come back next year. This year we came in second; next year we’ll be the first!” they promised.

But the team from JP Morgan will be back to defend their title. “We were told that if we win again next year, the organisers will prepare a trophy for us!” they quipped.

It looks like the organisers for the Eco Race 2014 has the work cut out for them as they continue to work towards saving the environment in a fun, challenging and meaningful way.