For the third consecutive year, City Developments Limited (CDL) has been awarded, in the Channel NewsAsia Sustainability Ranking, as the Top Property Developer in Asia and Top Singapore Corporation.
It has climbed to the second spot in the list of top 100 most sustainable companies in Asia , up from the sixth in 2015 . Besides being the only Singapore company and property developer in the top 20 list for 2016, CDL is also the only Singapore company to have made it to the top 10 list for three consecutive years since the Ranking’s inception in 2014. The se results were announced at the CSR Asia Summit held in Hong Kong today.
The Ranking identifies leading companies in sustainability across 11 territories in Asia , namely, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea,
Taiwan, and Thailand. Companies are ranked based on a broad range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) indicators and methodology developed by Sustainalytics, a leading
provider of ESG and corporate governance ratings and research.
Besides identifying the top 100 companies in the region with the highest sustainability performance, the Ranking highlights the overall top 20 companies and the top three businesses
per country. It provides investors and consumers insights into corporate sustainability practices, and enables companies to benchmark their sustainability performance against other regional businesses.
Mr Grant Kelley , CDL Chief Executive Officer said,
Sustainability is fast becoming mainstream in today’s global business environment.
“CDL has always been a firm proponent of integrating sustainability into our corporate vision and business strategy. This has created long – term value not only for CDL, but also our investors, customers, the broader community and the environment. CDL will continue to push forward with sustainable innovations and practices across our operations and supply chain. With the rise of green consumerism and global expansion of Socially Responsible Investment Funds, we believe our sustainability commitment will enable us to tap more growth opportunities ahead.”
For more than two decades , CDL has spearheaded numerous groundbreaking innovations in green properties, including the first CarbonNeutral ® development in Asia Pacific and Singapore, 11 Tampines Concourse; Singapore’s first Eco – mall, City Square Mal l ; and Tree House condominium, which achieved a Guinness World Record for the largest vertical garden.
As shared in its 2016 Integrated Sustainability Report titled ‘Integrating our Strengths, Creating Future Value’, CDL has also introduced robust targets for reduction in energy and water use
intensity 1 of 22% by 2020 and 25% by 2030, across its core business, from baseline year 2007, and 35% sustainable building materials 2 usage with effect from 2016 . These new targets are in addition to CDL’s carbon emissions intensity 3 reduction targets set in 2011 – 22% by 2020 and 25% by 2030, from baseline year 2007.
In 2016, CDL further took the lead as one of the first Singapore companies to align its material issues to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) launched in September 2015. The SDGs are expected to form a global standard that will inform future policy decisions and legislation by governments. Businesses that support the SDGs are thus more likely to be aligned with emerging policy priorities, potentially enhancing their licence to operate. CDL identified nine SDGs (refer to Annex) that are relevant to the company, based on its potential impact on and contributions to the goals.
Globally, CDL continues to be recognised for its sustainability efforts. It is ranked Top Real Estate Company and 10th in the prestigious Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World 2016, and is the only Singapore company that has been listed in the Global 100 for seven consecutive years. CDL also remains the first Singapore company to be listed on three of the world’s leading sustainability benchmarks – FTSE4Good Index Series (since 2002), Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations (since 2010) and Dow Jones Sustainability Ind ices (since 2011).
Will Self-Driving Cars Be Better for the Environment?
Technologists, engineers, lawmakers, and the general public have been excitedly debating about the merits of self-driving cars for the past several years, as companies like Waymo and Uber race to get the first fully autonomous vehicles on the market. Largely, the concerns have been about safety and ethics; is a self-driving car really capable of eliminating the human errors responsible for the majority of vehicular accidents? And if so, who’s responsible for programming life-or-death decisions, and who’s held liable in the event of an accident?
But while these questions continue being debated, protecting people on an individual level, it’s worth posing a different question: how will self-driving cars impact the environment?
The Big Picture
The Department of Energy attempted to answer this question in clear terms, using scientific research and existing data sets to project the short-term and long-term environmental impact that self-driving vehicles could have. Its findings? The emergence of self-driving vehicles could essentially go either way; it could reduce energy consumption in transportation by as much as 90 percent, or increase it by more than 200 percent.
That’s a margin of error so wide it might as well be a total guess, but there are too many unknown variables to form a solid conclusion. There are many ways autonomous vehicles could influence our energy consumption and environmental impact, and they could go well or poorly, depending on how they’re adopted.
One of the big selling points of autonomous vehicles is their capacity to reduce the total number of vehicles—and human drivers—on the road. If you’re able to carpool to work in a self-driving vehicle, or rely on autonomous public transportation, you’ll spend far less time, money, and energy on your own car. The convenience and efficiency of autonomous vehicles would therefore reduce the total miles driven, and significantly reduce carbon emissions.
There’s a flip side to this argument, however. If autonomous vehicles are far more convenient and less expensive than previous means of travel, it could be an incentive for people to travel more frequently, or drive to more destinations they’d otherwise avoid. In this case, the total miles driven could actually increase with the rise of self-driving cars.
As an added consideration, the increase or decrease in drivers on the road could result in more or fewer vehicle collisions, respectively—especially in the early days of autonomous vehicle adoption, when so many human drivers are still on the road. Car accident injury cases, therefore, would become far more complicated, and the roads could be temporarily less safe.
Deadheading is a term used in trucking and ridesharing to refer to miles driven with an empty load. Assume for a moment that there’s a fleet of self-driving vehicles available to pick people up and carry them to their destinations. It’s a convenient service, but by necessity, these vehicles will spend at least some of their time driving without passengers, whether it’s spent waiting to pick someone up or en route to their location. The increase in miles from deadheading could nullify the potential benefits of people driving fewer total miles, or add to the damage done by their increased mileage.
Make and Model of Car
Much will also depend on the types of cars equipped to be self-driving. For example, Waymo recently launched a wave of self-driving hybrid minivans, capable of getting far better mileage than a gas-only vehicle. If the majority of self-driving cars are electric or hybrids, the environmental impact will be much lower than if they’re converted from existing vehicles. Good emissions ratings are also important here.
On the other hand, the increased demand for autonomous vehicles could put more pressure on factory production, and make older cars obsolete. In that case, the gas mileage savings could be counteracted by the increased environmental impact of factory production.
The Bottom Line
Right now, there are too many unanswered questions to make a confident determination whether self-driving vehicles will help or harm the environment. Will we start driving more, or less? How will they handle dead time? What kind of models are going to be on the road?
Engineers and the general public are in complete control of how this develops in the near future. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see all the safety benefits of having autonomous vehicles on the road, but without any of the extra environmental impact to deal with.
New Zealand to Switch to Fully Renewable Energy by 2035
New Zealand’s prime minister-elect Jacinda Ardern is already taking steps towards reducing the country’s carbon footprint. She signed a coalition deal with NZ First in October, aiming to generate 100% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2035.
New Zealand is already one of the greenest countries in the world, sourcing over 80% of its energy for its 4.7 million people from renewable resources like hydroelectric, geothermal and wind. The majority of its electricity comes from hydro-power, which generated 60% of the country’s energy in 2016. Last winter, renewable generation peaked at 93%.
Now, Ardern is taking on the challenge of eliminating New Zealand’s remaining use of fossil fuels. One of the biggest obstacles will be filling in the gap left by hydropower sources during dry conditions. When lake levels drop, the country relies on gas and coal to provide energy. Eliminating fossil fuels will require finding an alternative source to avoid spikes in energy costs during droughts.
Business NZ’s executive director John Carnegie told Bloomberg he believes Ardern needs to balance her goals with affordability, stating, “It’s completely appropriate to have a focus on reducing carbon emissions, but there needs to be an open and transparent public conversation about the policies and how they are delivered.”
The coalition deal outlined a few steps towards achieving this, including investing more in solar, which currently only provides 0.1% of the country’s energy. Ardern’s plans also include switching the electricity grid to renewable energy, investing more funds into rail transport, and switching all government vehicles to green fuel within a decade.
Zero net emissions by 2050
Beyond powering the country’s electricity grid with 100% green energy, Ardern also wants to reach zero net emissions by 2050. This ambitious goal is very much in line with her focus on climate change throughout the course of her campaign. Environmental issues were one of her top priorities from the start, which increased her appeal with young voters and helped her become one of the youngest world leaders at only 37.
Reaching zero net emissions would require overcoming challenging issues like eliminating fossil fuels in vehicles. Ardern hasn’t outlined a plan for reaching this goal, but has suggested creating an independent commission to aid in the transition to a lower carbon economy.
She also set a goal of doubling the number of trees the country plants per year to 100 million, a goal she says is “absolutely achievable” using land that is marginal for farming animals.
Greenpeace New Zealand climate and energy campaigner Amanda Larsson believes that phasing out fossil fuels should be a priority for the new prime minister. She says that in order to reach zero net emissions, Ardern “must prioritize closing down coal, putting a moratorium on new fossil fuel plants, building more wind infrastructure, and opening the playing field for household and community solar.”
A worldwide shift to renewable energy
Addressing climate change is becoming more of a priority around the world and many governments are assessing how they can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and switch to environmentally-friendly energy sources. Sustainable energy is becoming an increasingly profitable industry, giving companies more of an incentive to invest.
Ardern isn’t alone in her climate concerns, as other prominent world leaders like Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron have made renewable energy a focus of their campaigns. She isn’t the first to set ambitious goals, either. Sweden and Norway share New Zealand’s goal of net zero emissions by 2045 and 2030, respectively.
Scotland already sources more than half of its electricity from renewable sources and aims to fully transition by 2020, while France announced plans in September to stop fossil fuel production by 2040. This would make it the first country to do so, and the first to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles.
Many parts of the world still rely heavily on coal, but if these countries are successful in phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable resources, it could serve as a turning point. As other world leaders see that switching to sustainable energy is possible – and profitable – it could be the start of a worldwide shift towards environmentally-friendly energy.
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