Thought Leadership on Climate Action and Sustainable Development
Outcomes and Impact
COP26: WAVING THE SINGAPORE FLAG ON THE GLOBAL STAGE, 12 NOVEMBER 2021
COP26 Built Environment Leadership Panel: Multinational panelists, including CDL Chief Sustainability Officer Ms Esther An, shared insights into their country’s challenges and opportunities in the real estate sector caused by climate change.
Deemed “a decisive moment in the fight against climate change”, the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) was an international climate change conference attended by heads of state, climate experts and sustainability thought leaders alike. From developing carbon markets to cutting planet-warming methane to pledges on ending deforestation, the two-week long COP26 event created a foundation for stronger global climate action across many fronts.
CDL was the only Singaporean private sector company present and was represented by CDL Chief Sustainability Officer Ms Esther An, who shared her insights as a speaker at the #BuildingsPavilion Live Morning Coffee Talk and was also a panellist on three other discussion platforms. A key highlight was the mainstage panel on “Built Environment Leaders – Leading Collaborative Action in the Built Environment” presented by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Outcomes and Impact
World Cities Summit 2021
CDL presented two specially-curated panel sessions for World Cities Summit 2021 in June 2021.
The first panel session, titled “Smart & Sustainable Cities – Innovative Startups”, was enjoyed by more than 640 virtual attendees. CDL showcased seven local innovators whose technologies and solutions aim to help drive changes in the construction, renewable energy, food security, circularity and waste management sectors.
Titled “Smart and Sustainable Cities – Global Strategies”, the second panel session featured four international experts in green buildings, smart cities and carbon management who shared insights on the global race to a net zero carbon future, strategies that worked, and how to build smarter and more sustainable cities for greater climate and social resilience.
Speaking Engagements by CDL Chief Sustainability Officer
CDL is often invited to share our two-decade strong business case of ESG integration. In 2021, CDL’s Chief Sustainability Officer Ms Esther An, spoke at more than 120 local and international platforms, covering topics such as strategic UN SDG integration, moving towards a net zero carbon future, green building and future cities, sustainability reporting, ESG investing and green financing, and more.
Number of engagements: Singapore: 72 International: 42 Academia: 10
Virtual Singapore Sustainability Academy: The Future of Sustainability Reporting Webinar 3-Part Series
The Future of Sustainability Reporting 3-part series was held across 2021, and was attended by more than 1,000 attendees from 25 countries, including China, the US, Denmark and Nigeria. All three sessions focused on different areas key to advancing a business’s sustainability reporting.
The first webinar of the series covered key topics and global trends on ESG disclosure. In the second webinar, the session focused on challenges and opportunities for SME reporters and the expert panel shared tips for SMEs that are beginning their sustainability reporting journey or aiming to take it to the next level. Lastly, the third webinar featured three prominent ESG investing experts who shared their insights and advice on the rising expectations of investors on corporate sustainability performance and reporting.
Stakeholder Engagement on Sustainability and Green Buildings
CDL actively engages stakeholders along our value chain to encourage more sustainable practices. This includes engaging tenants and homebuyers through initiatives such as our Green Lease Partnership Programme and Green Living Guide, and raising supplier awareness through a Supplier Code of Conduct and CDL’s 5-Star EHS Seminar. Please refer to ISR 2022 “Decarbonising Towards Net Zero” for more information.
Outcomes and Impact
CELEBRATING WOMEN CHAMPIONS IN SUSTAINABILITY, 10 MARCH 2021
Women champions from left to right: Ms Trina Liang, Ms Esther An, Ms Chitra Hepburn and Ms Wong Su Yen.
CDL’s Virtual SSA and Women4Green Network celebrated International Women’s Day and its theme #ChooseToChallenge with our first hybrid event since the start of COVID-19. The panel, moderated by CDL Chief Sustainability Officer, Ms Esther An, featured the following women champions:
Ms Patricia Torres, Global Head of Sustainable Finance Solutions, Bloomberg (streamed in live)
Ms Trina Liang, Managing Director, Templebridge Investments and Past-President, Singapore Committee for UN Women
Ms Chitra Hepburn, Head of APAC ESG Client Coverage, MSCI
Ms Wong Su Yen, Global Board Director, Professional Speaker, Chairperson, Singapore Institute of Directors and Founder & CEO, Bronze Phoenix Pte Ltd
Titled ‘Women Champions in Sustainability’, this session explored the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index and the journeys of three C-suite women as they #ChooseToChallenge norms and barriers in building a greener future for all.
Initiated by CDL in June 2017, the Women4Green network aims to empower female executives to adopt and champion a sustainable lifestyle and practices at work, home and play. The initiative supports SDG 5: Gender Equality and SDG 13: Climate Action. Past engagement initiatives and events covered themes like sustainable diet, fashion and jewellery.
Our Virtual SSA platform and Women4Green Network organised hybrid sessions in 2021 on topics such as women leaders in sustainability and sustainable fashion.
Breast Cancer Foundation’s ‘Ride With Me’ Charity Cycling Campaign
The ‘Ride With Me’ Charity Cycling Campaign by Breast Cancer Foundation aims to encourage mental wellness in breast cancer patients. Through cycling at their own time, participants show their support for breast cancer patients by ‘riding’ the same journey with them.
This initiative aligns with SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being, as well as CDL’s commitment to empowering women. Through our $4,000
contribution, the Foundation exceeded their target of $10,000.
Youth Engagement and Development
Outcomes and Impact
TURNING ANXIETY INTO ACTION – KEEP CALM AND LOVE OUR PLANET CAMPAIGN, NOVEMBER 2021 TO 2022
Youths who were featured in CDLxSYCA’s “Keep Calm and Love Our Planet” video, a campaign to use the voices of youths to “Turn Climate Anxiety into Positive Action”.
A collaboration with Singapore Youth for Climate Action (SYCA), the “Keep Calm and Love Our Planet” campaign is a series of programmes and initiatives to rally youths from all over the world who attended COP26 to support our vision of “Turning Climate Anxiety into Positive Action”.
The first part of the series comprised a hybrid panel session named “Keep Calm and Love Our Planet” held at COP26 on 10 November 2021. In the second part of the series, youth attendees of COP26 shared candid thoughts on eco-anxiety via a specially-curated video. This video was launched on 21 January 2022, to complement a panel discussion “Turning Anxiety into Action”, held as part of CDL’s Youth4Climate Global Conversations with Young Champions series. British High Commissioner to Singapore, Her Excellency Ms Kara Owen and Member of Parliament, Mr Louis Ng also delivered speeches at the event, supporting the voices of youths in driving climate action. Attendees enjoyed an insightful panel discussion with the National Youth Council CEO, Mr David Chua, and young climate champions, from Singapore and abroad.
The CDL E-Generation Challenge is an annual youth competition that was launched in 2010, as an amazing race. In 2017, the Challenge was revamped and youths were invited to contribute ideas and action plans on climate action. Past winners went on environmental expeditions to Antarctica, the Arctic and Rajah Ampat, and shared their firsthand experiences on climate change and marine pollution with the youth community. 2021’s challenge focused on the impact of global deforestation and the importance of protecting biodiversity in Singapore and Asia.
CDL Young SDG Leaders Fund – Supporting Local and Overseas Youth Development Programmes
For more than two decades, CDL has been actively supporting youth development through direct sponsorships and mentorships. These include the CDL Young SDG Leaders Fund, which has supported close to 100 student-led overseas community investment programmes and approximately 4,100 students since 2014. Due to COVID-19, most local and overseas community service projects were suspended. In 2021, the Fund supported two projects and 40 students.
Eco-Business Youth A List
Launched by Eco-Business since 2020, the Youth A List recognises the exemplary work of individuals under the age of 30 which helps to advance environmental and social sustainability in Asia Pacific. CDL is proud to support the recognition of talented young sustainability practitioners working in public and private sectors and civic society.
Virtual SSA – Youth4Climate Global Conversations #4, 28 January 2021
A continuation from 2020’s Youth4Climate Global Conversations series, the fourth session spotlighted four eco champions from Hong Kong, one of the first Asian countries to make a bold pledge towards net zero.
Nurturing Future Sustainability Leaders via Education
To equip the next generation, CDL believes in actively sharing our business case for sustainability integration as inspiration to shape future sustainability leaders. In 2021, CDL’s Senior Management was invited to deliver lectures to local and overseas students, such as University of St. Gallen, Singapore Management University, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, ESSEC Business School, Hong Kong University, the ASEAN Youth Organisation, Northeastern University and Singapore University of Social Sciences.
CDL-GCNS Young SDG Leaders Award 2021
Launched in 2011, this annual business case competition seeks to empower and cultivate youths to become future sustainability champions, by equipping them with the skills and know-how to integrate SDGs into business strategy and operations. From inauguration, it has attracted the participation of more than 2,500 youths from institutes of higher learning.
Into its 11th year, 2021’s topic was “Taking Action for SDG 13 (Climate Action) in the New Normal”. Ten finalist teams had the opportunity to undergo a work attachment with their assigned case company, in preparation for their final presentations. The top three winning teams were crowned at GCNS Virtual Summit 2021.
My Tree House – World’s First Green Library for Kids
Initiated by CDL in conjunction with National Library Board (NLB) in 2013, My Tree House is the world’s first green library for children and was created to encourage and facilitate environmental literacy and love for nature amongst younger generations. In 2021, around 85,000 people visited My Tree House and borrowed approximately 504,000 books. Close to 480 participants took part in 12 library programmes, including the “We Love Our Planet” Storytelling Contest and Virtual SSA Storytime @ My Tree House, in collaboration with CDL.
In the lead up to World Environment Day 2021 on 5 June 2021, CDL and NLB jointly organised the second edition of the storytelling contest. The annual contest promoted family bonding, as well as encouraged participants to take action to protect the planet. The best entries and a selection of passionate submissions from the contest were curated in a video titled “We Love Our Planet – Voices of Our Children 2021”.
Virtual SSA – Storytelling @ My Tree House, 4 June 2021
In celebration of World Environment Day on 5 June 2021, CDL’s Virtual SSA and NLB presented the second edition of Storytelling @ My Tree House. Parents and their children learned the benefits of storytelling and received tips on being an engaging storyteller.
Virtual SSA – Storytelling and Activities with Tembusu CSR, 23 October 2021
In celebration of Children’s Day, CDL partnered with Tembusu CSR on a fun-filled storytelling and activities session. Led by Tembusu CSR’s educators, this interactive session taught over 200 children and their families how to reduce plastic waste in their everyday lives.
The Youth4Climate Festival is one of CDL’s flagship programmes in support of youth empowerment, social good and the UN SDGs. Initiated in 2018 in partnership with the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE), NEA, NParks and ActiveSG, the festival provides Singapore’s youths with a platform to express their passion for the environment and green wishes for the future.
Due to COVID-19, this annual festival continued to be conducted as an online concert. With over 3,400 views on our CDL Sustainability Facebook page, it featured seven climate-themed acts that reflect youths’ concerns and aspirations for the future of our planet. In support of MSE’s Climate Action Week, the Youth4Climate Concert 2021 served as a finale to the action-packed week rallying people and communities to drive change. It also continued to rally support for social causes through the 2021 President’s Challenge, with CDL matching every unique share of the Facebook post with a pledge of $10 to the President’s Challenge.
Community Education and Outreach
Outcomes and Impact
“Change the Present, Save the Future” Climate Action Exhibition, 15 July 2021 to March 2022
The Climate Action Exhibition features contactless interactive displays showcasing various facts about climate change, calling for action to support global and national climate efforts.
In July 2021, in partnership with NParks, CDL launched “Change the Present, Save the Future”, an exhibition on building climate resilience through global collaboration. Held in support of MSE’s Climate Action Week 2021, the exhibition ran from 15 July 2021 to March 2022 at the CDL Green Gallery and called for action to support both global and national climate efforts.
Leveraging contactless interactive displays, the exhibition took visitors across four zones:
1. Building Climate Resilience Through Global Collaboration
2. Building A City in Nature
3. Advancing A Low-Carbon and Resilient Built Environment
4. Global Action Beyond Borders and Sectors
Officially launched by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment of Singapore, the opening ceremony was accompanied by a high-level panel discussion on the topic “Building a Sustainable Future – Collaboration Beyond Borders and Sectors”. Minister Grace Fu, who shared further details on the Singapore Green Plan 2030, was joined by distinguished panellists Ms Lynn McDonald, High Commissioner of Canada to Singapore; Mr R Raghunathan, World Wide Fund for Nature Singapore Chief Executive Officer; and Mr Max Loh, Singapore and Brunei Managing Partner, EY ASEAN IPO Leader, Ernst & Young. Ms Esther An, CDL Chief Sustainability Officer was the moderator for the panel discussion.
Outcomes and Impact
Singapore Sustainability Academy (SSA) – Hosted 180 events and trainings in 2021
Designed and built by CDL in 2017, the SSA is the first ground-up initiative and zero-energy facility in Singapore dedicated to advocacy, thought leadership, collaboration, and capacity building for climate action and green causes, involving an extensive partnership with six government agencies and 15 founding industry and NGO partners.
Since its opening on 5 June 2017 till the end of 2021, the SSA has hosted more than 630 sustainability-related training programmes and advocacy events, attracting close to 22,300 attendees. In 2021, despite restrictions posed by COVID-19, the SSA has continued promoting sustainable lifestyle practices through various virtual workshops. Under the Virtual SSA platform, we hosted a series of sustainability-related talks and sessions that were free and open to the public. It has provided the SSA with great opportunities to expand outreach beyond our shores. All recordings of our Virtual SSA sessions are posted on the CDL Sustainability YouTube channel.
Green Is The New Black Conscious Festival, 24-26 September 2021
The Conscious Festival is a festive event by lifestyle media and events platform Green Is The New Black, focusing on sustainable living, transport, energy, and more. In 2021, the hybrid three-day event was held physically in Paris, Singapore and London, as well as virtually for the rest of the world.
CDL was a venue partner for its Singapore pop-up, hosting the event at the SSA. CDL Chief Sustainability Officer Ms Esther An spoke on gender diversity and women’s empowerment at one of the festival’s talks, themed “Sustainability through the Female Lens”.
CDL Sculpture Award 2021
A firm supporter of the arts, CDL has been contributing significantly to the Singapore arts scene for more than a decade. The CDL Singapore Sculpture Award is an extension of our patronage of the development of arts and youth in Singapore. Initiated by CDL in 2002, the biennial Award is now into its 10th year.
Themed “Turning Waste to Art”, the 7th CDL Singapore Sculpture Award draws inspiration from the concept of the circular economy, SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities and SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. The Award challenges artists to turn residual waste into a sculpture that reflects a nation that is progressive, forward-looking and sustainable. In celebration of Singapore Art Week in January 2022, CDL unveiled two winning commissioned sculptures, made from construction waste from CDL’s construction sites. They were inspired by Malay heritage and titled “Cycle” and “Traditional Wisdom”. Completed in December 2021, the sculptures are housed at Wisma Geylang Serai, a cultural heritage integrated hub that promotes arts, culture and cohesiveness.
Incubator For SDGs
In support of social enterprises with purposes that are aligned with one or more UN SDGs, the Incubator For SDGs is an initiative by CDL in partnership with UNDP, Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE), and Social Collider. In 2021, CDL sought the second intake of impact-driven businesses with our new partner Global Green Economic Forum, an impact investing accelerator. Located at the basement of Republic Plaza, Incubator For SDGs provides rent-free workspaces for selected social enterprises, start-ups and scale-ups for a year. These companies will also be able to tap into an extensive network of management experts to help them scale up and reach out to potential investors and markets. In alignment with CDL’s low-carbon vision, 70% of the fitting out materials at the workspaces were made from sustainable sources or recycled materials.
Learning Space@Limbang and WeCare @North West – Service Weeks
Since 2017, CDL and North West Community Development Council (NWCDC) partnered to set up a conducive learning space at the Limbang Park Residents’ Committee Centre for students from low-income households in the vicinity. Besides providing library books and recreational games at the centre, CDL’s staff volunteers impart character-building lessons to children from underprivileged families. The learning space had a total outreach of 530 young children and youths from January to March 2020, before the start of Circuit Breaker.
In 2021, CDL participated in NWCDC’s annual WeCare @ NWCDC – Service Weeks initiative for the 6th consecutive year to distribute festive packs to some 270 needy households living in public rental units in Limbang. In addition, CDL topped up the festive packs with daily necessities such as shampoo, body wash, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste.
In end-2021, CDL also championed two meaningful initiatives, a Grant-A-Wish programme to fulfil festive wishes of children living in Limbang, as well as a Gift-A-Voucher initiative to encourage donations of $20 grocery vouchers for all residents of rental units in Limbang.
Supporting Trees of the World, December 2021
CDL celebrated the holiday season by sponsoring 10 trees at the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ Trees of the World 2021 display. Led by NParks, the Trees of the World display is a collaboration with the community to bring festive cheer to the public and raise funds for the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
All proceeds went towards the “Give to the Gardens” programme. Initiated in 2016, this programme supports the Garden’s work as a prominent botanical institution and contributes to the conservation of Singapore’s local and regional flora while inspiring a love for nature and environmental protection amongst the community.
Sustainable Fashion 2.0: Greening Our Wardrobe, 20 November 2021
CDL partnered with The Fashion Pulpit to launch Sustainable Fashion 2.0: Greening Our Wardrobe. Featuring an upcycled fashion runway with green advocates, children and canine friends, the initiative took a closer peek at the environmental impact of consumer patterns and the global fashion industry. Encompassing four components – fashion runway, survey, talk show and exhibition, this initiative ran across both physical and digital platforms until March 2022.
Virtual SSA – The Art and Science of Circularity, 22 April 2021
CDL celebrated Earth Day 2021 with the first session of Virtual SSA’s The Art and Science of Circularity series featuring three local eco innovators who discussed their exciting journeys in advocating for upcycling and combating ocean pollution.
CDL has been a founding corporate supporter of Arc Children’s Centre since its inception in 2011. The centre aims to be a sanctuary for children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, and families in its care.
In December 2021, CDL’s City Sunshine Club volunteers brought festive joy to the children during Christmas. The hybrid format included painting, storytelling and festive goodie distribution for the children and their families.
A long-standing partner of the Assisi Hospice since 1999, CDL raised more than $113,000 for the hospice in 2021 through The CDL Challenge and Assisi e-Fun Day. The CDL Challenge is an in-house fundraising campaign that rallies donations from stakeholders, namely staff and business partners. At the Assisi e-Fun Day 2021, CDL and our hotel subsidiary, M&C, raised funds through virtual stalls and provided donations-in-kind, including shopping, F&B and hotel vouchers towards the event’s lucky draw and game prizes.
City Sunshine Club (CSC)
Since 1999, CDL’s dedicated employee-led volunteering body, CSC has been actively reaching out to the less fortunate and underprivileged, providing an avenue for CDL employees to serve the community. CSC organises monthly food distribution drives where CDL employees distribute household necessities to low-income elderly living in rental flats. During festive seasons, CSC collaborates with the NWCDC by distributing festive packs to families staying in one-room rental flats and organises festive celebrations for Assisi Hospice and Arc Children’s Centre. Notwithstanding the restrictions and strict adherence to social distancing and safety measures, our employees managed to achieve a participation rate of 28.9% and clocked more than 350 employee volunteer manhours in 2021.