Real estate giant CDL targets net-zero operations by 2030

City Developments Limited (CDL) has become the first large business in Southeast Asia to sign the World Green Building Council's (WorldGBC) net-zero carbon buildings commitment.

Pictured: An artist's impression of the redevelopment of CDL's Republic Plaza property, located in Singapore’s Central Business District

Pictured: An artist's impression of the redevelopment of CDL's Republic Plaza property, located in Singapore’s Central Business District

The commitment binds all signatories to achieving net-zero operational emissions in all buildings under their direct control by 2030, and to advocate for all buildings to reach net-zero operations by 2050. This latter pledge encourages businesses to engage with not only tenants and landlords, but other owners and operators in the communities where they are present, and with policymakers as well.

As a first step towards the first requirement of the Commitment, CDL will benchmark and disclose the Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions of its managed buildings, including its flagship HQ in Singapore.

It will then chart a pathway for increased investment in smart energy management technologies and generating and procuring renewable energy. On the latter, CDL has pledged to achieve 100% renewable electricity and to phase out diesel in operations by the end of the decade.

As for the firm’s indirect (Scope 3) emissions, it has made a commitment to strengthen supply chain engagement to help suppliers switch to lower-carbon materials and methods. Building users, meanwhile, will benefit from new educational tools and communications around reducing energy and water consumption.

CDL is hoping that this approach will help to change its climate targets, which are currently certified in line with 2C, to align with 1.5C. The Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) will require businesses to set Scope 3 targets if they wish to be classed as 1.5C compatible and if Scope 3 sources account for 40% or more of their annual emissions footprint. Such targets must have boundaries which address two-thirds of total Scope 3 emissions. Also, the SBTi gives businesses a 24-month window in which to get targets approved after they signal their intent to develop them.

CDL’s group chief executive Sherman Kwek called the signing of the WorldGBC’s Commitment “a key milestone” in the company’s sustainability journey.

He said:“CDL recognises that decarbonisation is a critical step towards global climate action and this is especially relevant to the building and construction sector which accounts for a significant amount of carbon emissions. Taking this bold step forward reinforces our climate mitigation and adaptation efforts to build a more sustainable future in Singapore and abroad.”

Green loan

Last month, CDL confirmed a new green revolving credit facility totalling $470m that will be used to refinance it's the Republic Plaza commercial property and future low-carbon projects.

The five-year revolving credit facility (RCF) will commence in January 2021 and has been approved and provided by lenders including the Agricultural Bank of China, Credit Industriel et Commercial, DBS, HSBC, MUFG, Malayan Banking and SMBC. DBS and HSBC are the Green Loan Advisors for the green RCF.

Other businesses with RCFs designed to either finance the deliver of their sustainability goals, or with rates tied to progress, include Tesco, Shell, UPM, Tate & Lyle and Britvic.

Sarah George



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