Earth Hour, the worldwide movement to switch off non-essential lights for an hour every year, fell on Saturday, 19 March 2016. But CapitaLand’s efforts to #ChangeClimateChange began a week prior, with over 280 of its properties around the world getting involved.
“CapitaLand’s continued support for Earth Hour is just one of the ways we have been contributing to the effort against climate change. We will not stop here. As a responsible corporate citizen with a global footprint, we will continue to do the right thing and push forward with our sustainability initiatives, reduce our carbon emissions and do our part to #ChangeClimateChange,” said Mr Tan Seng Chai, Group Chief Corporate Officer of CapitaLand Limited and Chairman of the CapitaLand Sustainability Steering Committee.
CapitaLand was a pioneer participant of Earth Hour when the movement was launched in Singapore in 2008, and has been taking part every year since. This year, it outdid itself with over 500 related actions and activities in its properties all over the world.
Going beyond the norm
In Singapore, all 34 of CapitaLand’s commercial properties remained dark even after the official Earth Hour from 8.30pm to 9.30pm on 19 March. Their façade and non-essential lights stayed switched off throughout the night in a show of solidarity.
Among these, 10 properties – Capital Tower, CapitaGreen, Six Battery Road, One George Street, Raffles City Singapore, Wilkie Edge, Golden Shoe Car Park, Twenty Anson, HSBC Building and Ascott Raffles Place Singapore – further pledged to go dark from 4 to 27 March in support of i Light Marina Bay, Asia’s leading sustainable light art festival held in Singapore’s Marina Bay district.
The company also rallied its stakeholders, including business partners and tenants, to take a stand. A promotional campaign focusing on the 3Rs of waste minimisation – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – in Singapore proved successful as more tenants did their part to drive the conservation message home.
Salad Stop! at Capital Tower and One George Street introduced a special ‘Shine a Light’ Salad made with locally-sourced ingredients to encourage eating local and reducing carbon footprint, while Grain Traders at CapitaGreen said ‘thank you’ to patrons by offering a 10% discount to those who brought their own mug, tumbler or container.
“This year’s Earth Hour is especially significant as it is the global movement’s 10th anniversary. It is also the first after the inking of the Paris Agreement in December 2015, when 195 countries pledged action and investment to combat climate change,” explained Mr Tan, who also shared that CapitaLand is always on the lookout for engaging and effective ways to support worthy causes, at home and abroad.
Aglow with hope
In China, even when CapitaLand malls turned off their façade and non-essential lights for Earth Hour, they still helped shoppers to illuminate the night. The shoppers wore Earth Hour-inspired t-shirts which they had created with eco-friendly fluorescent paint during an art session held as part of CapitaLand’s efforts to engage and excite the public.
CapitaLand also continued to leverage its CAPITASTAR shopper loyalty programme on the popular WeChat mobile app for its ‘Touch’ campaign. With this year’s focus on protecting endangered species, the online campaign featured three components — a pledge committing action towards species and habitat conservation; a game where players needed to ‘save’ endangered animals from extinction due to climate change; and a digital sketch that shoppers could publish on their social media profiles or share with friends.
Retail with heart
For CapitaLand malls in Malaysia, Earth Hour 2016 was about both conservation and community. Queensbay Mall in Penang held an Earth Hour Charity Ride, a cycling event that promoted a greener, healthier lifestyle among participants while raising funds for St Nicholas Home, a non-profit organisation that serves the visually impaired. In Klang Valley, The Mines tapped on the creativity of its Kids Club members to upcycle unwanted items for a charity sale that benefitted the needy in the community.
In Indonesia, CapitaLand’s serviced residence arm The Ascott Limited celebrated Earth Hour 2016 by sharing greener, more responsible lifestyle choices with its guests. Citadines Rasuna Jakarta offered guests complimentary bicycles as an alternative to cars to reduce their carbon footprint, while Ascott Kuningan Jakarta and Somerset Grand Citra Jakarta created small herb and vegetable gardens within their premises for guests to harvest and use in their cooking.
In Korea, newly opened property Citadines Haeundae Busan also did its part through a monthly beach patrol routine, where staff volunteers helped to clean up the beach to create a cleaner, more pleasant environment for the public.
Back in Singapore, Somerset Liang Court invited guests to turn off the lights and air-conditioning units in their apartments as part of a specially organised Earth Hour candlelit tea party. Guests could also take photographs with props made from recycled cardboard containing Earth Hour-themed messages, or take part in a t-shirt painting event using eco-friendly paint.
Creating a culture of sustainability
At CapitaLand, one of the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World for the fifth year running, every individual plays a part in shaping the future. Embedded in the CapitaDNA is a culture of sustainability that the company shares with staff and stakeholders.
From an internal Earth Hour campaign to reduce waste and emissions among its people, to supporting responsible choices like cycling instead of driving to work, CapitaLand is well on track to achieving a targeted 23% reduction in carbon emissions intensity by 2020. It has already reduced carbon emissions intensity across its operations by 21% since 2008.
CapitaLand has over 500 bicycle bays in 16 office buildings, shopping malls and other properties in Singapore to encourage more of its staff, tenants and the public to commute by bicycles.
For its efforts, CapitaLand was recently listed in the Sustainability Yearbook 2016 with a ‘Bronze Class’ distinction — making it the best performing real estate company in Asia, and the only Singapore company to receive this accolade. RobecoSAM assessed 2,126 companies from 42 countries on their environmental, social and governance performance to produce the 2016 edition of its internationally respected publication.
This adds to CapitaLand’s long list of environmental and sustainability credits, which include recognition in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and Asia Pacific Index, Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark Report (Regional Sector Leader for Asia, Diversified), FTSE4Good Index Series, MSCI Global Sustainability Indexes, STOXX® Global ESG Leaders Indices and ChannelNewsAsia Sustainability Ranking.
“These accolades validate our success in integrating sustainability into our business. We will stay the course and continue developing and operating sustainably and responsibly, and stay true to our credo of ‘Building People. Building Communities.’” concluded Mr Tan.