CapitaLand and CSXC - ESG Leadership In The Built Environment

Published on:
by Richard Turner, Chief Editor at KnowESG,

Capitaland Investment Ltd

CLI Email-sign-off (650-x-150)-2022-1

Around 40% of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are generated by our built environment. Cement production alone, used for concrete, accounts for 7% of total emissions

Both positively and pragmatically from a climate change mitigation perspective, this means we have the opportunity to develop a relationship with the structures we inhabit, and to manage those environments in a more energy-efficient manner. With the help of innovative approaches to building, retrofitting, and installing resource-conscious technologies, we hope to rapidly decarbonise our homes, workplaces, and communities.

Progressive Leadership

CapitaLand Group (CapitaLand) is one of Asia’s largest diversified real estate groups, and is recognised as one of the most sustainable corporations in the world by Corporate Knights Inc’s  Global 100 Index in 2023. Headquartered in Singapore, CapitaLand’s portfolio focuses on real estate investment management and real estate development. With an extensive portfolio that includes retail malls, office, lodging, residential, business parks, industrial and logistics properties as well as data centres, it has over 20 years established itself as a progressive leading innovator and practitioner of sustainability in the real estate sector. 

CapitaLand’s portfolio spans across more than 260 cities in over 40 countries, and provides long-term stakeholder value by embedding sustainability into every stage of the real estate lifecycle. 

Over Two Decades of Sustainability

CapitaLand’s business has been grounded in sustainability for over two decades. The Group started to disclose its environmental and philanthropic activities back in 2000. Since then, they have progressively emerged as a global sustainability leader by being the first Singapore listed company to publish a Global Sustainability Report (FY2009), referencing the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI, 2010), signing up to the United Nations Global Compact (2015), pledging support for the Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD, 2017) and obtaining the first and largest sustainability-linked loan in Asia (2018). CapitaLand Investment has also committed to Net Zero by 2050 for its Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions (CLI, 2022) and became a signatory to Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI, 2023). 

CapitaLand Investment's carbon emissions reduction targets have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for a 1.5C scenario and it has achieved multiple accolades, including constituency in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (11th consecutive year on DJSI World Index, 14th consecutive year on DJSI APAC Index, 1st and longest standing company in Singapore to be listed), GRESB (5-star rating for 7 years and achieved A for public disclosure) and Global 100 (constituent for 11th year).

Keyword: Adaptation

To put environmental, social and governance (ESG) values into measurable practice, CapitaLand launched its 2030 Sustainability Master Plan in 2020, setting out transparent ambitions to grow in a responsible manner and contribute to the environmental and social well-being of the communities where it operates. 

CapitaLand aims to build a resilient and resource-efficient real estate portfolio, enable thriving and future-adaptive communities, and accelerate sustainability innovation and collaboration. This sits at the very heart of CapitaLand’s vision for the built environment through 2030 and beyond. 

Innovating for a sustainable built environment: CapitaLand Sustainability X Challenge

In 2020, CapitaLand launched its inaugural CapitaLand Sustainability X Challenge (CSXC), an open call to global innovators of resource-effective built environment technologies to achieve recognition, access pilot funding, and potentially pilot their products in CapitaLand’s properties worldwide. 

For CapitaLand, innovation is a key lever in achieving its sustainability goals. In effect, CSXC is a technology accelerator, the world’s first sustainability innovation challenge in the built environment led by a Singapore real estate company. As of 20 March 2023, 20 innovations have been given the opportunity to be piloted at 24 CapitaLand properties in five countries. Among these pilots are:

  1. New Generation Bio-Energetic Water Saving Stick (WS-Stick), from Austria which reduces water consumption for irrigation. Testbedded in a trial plot at Aperia in Singapore, the WS-Stick facilitates the transfer of moisture from the air to the soil to allow healthy plant growth with a reduction in irrigation water consumption. In the trial, it achieved up to 33% in irrigation water savings.

  2. CONTINEWM, a patented ceramic net from Japan which acts as an infrared emitting filter. It achieved up to 51% reduction in fan consumption and 16% reduction in cooling load for the two air handling units that were equipped with a total of 50 CONTINEWM nets at LogisTech in Singapore. CapitaLand will continue to use these innovations at the respective properties.

  3. Climatec Corp, a winner from CSXC 2021, is testbedding its unique chemical-free and electricity-free cooling tower water treatment that improves water efficiency by significantly reducing blowdown at CapitaGreen in Singapore. The solution has achieved more than 80% reduction in cooling tower blowdown water based on interim results.

Image of Climatec workers installing cooling tower technology
CSXC 2021 winner Climatec Corp. installing water efficiency improvement technology at CapitaGreen in Singapore.

4. INOVUES, INC, from the USA, another winner of CSXC 2021, is piloting its insulating glass retrofit technology at the first level of Creekside 5, a three-storey building in Creekside Corporate Park in Portland, Oregon. The technology is able to reduce heat gain in buildings during summer and heat loss during winter while lowering the impact of ambient noise, which improves the indoor thermal and acoustic comfort for the occupants.

CapitaLand is partnering with its tenants for the first time for its third CSXC, extending its sustainability efforts to its ecosystem partners as it seeks to reduce its Scope 3 carbon emissions (this refers to all indirect emissions that occur in the value chain of the reporting company, including both upstream and downstream emissions).

Selected CSXC innovations will have the opportunity to be piloted at the premises of CapitaLand’s tenant partners, in addition to the Group’s global network of properties available for startups to testbed their solutions. Funding for this year’s chosen CSXC pilots has also been upsized to over S$1 million to accelerate CapitaLand’s innovation drive in its journey towards Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. Detailed information on CSXC and the rollout of pilot projects can be found here.

Moving Forward

Resilience has quickly become the keyword for the real estate sector, with ESG considerations now present in up to 82% of operational and investment decisions. The reasoning is simple. There is simply no time to waste when the opportunity for change is so apparent, as it is within the built environment. Whether in new build, retrofits, or the demolition and considerate reuse of construction assets, the opportunity gains are perhaps more evident than in other economic sectors. 

The race to Net Zero will continuously involve the development, experimentation with, and implementation of diverse technologies that evolve our relationship with the built environment. CapitaLand is a notable example of an industry leader that leverages its position to open the door wider to technological innovation and industry adoption, while further strengthening its position as a driver of the global transition to sustainability. 

KnowESG is pleased to support CSXC 2023 and will be covering both event progress and the promise of new technologies via our Featured Articles

CSXC 2023 is open for submissions from now till 1 June 2023, 2359h Singapore Time (GMT +8) at this link.


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