Accelerating sustainability in building a low-carbon future

TheEdge Mon, Dec 06, 2021 09:00am - 5 months View Original


KAIA Heights, UEM Sunrise’s latest development in Equine Park, Seri Kembangan, is the first product that embodies its sustainability principles. It is GreenRE silver-certified.

In recent years, the climate crisis has taken centre stage as the world struggles with the devastating effects of global warming on the environment and humankind. UEM Sunrise is ahead of the curve when it comes to sustainability as it has been incorporating environmentally friendly features into its products since 2010. Among its green buildings, which are built to meet global green building standards, are Imperia in Puteri Harbour, Iskandar Puteri, Johor, and 28 Mont’Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.

“In our race to build a low-carbon future by 2030, we are fully geared towards accelerating sustainability. UEM Sunrise is fully aligned with the Paris Agreement as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) whilst supporting the nationally determined contribution (NDC) for Malaysia. Our sustainability strategies are designed to support the 12th Malaysia Plan in developing a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable Malaysia,” says UEM Sunrise CEO Sufian Abdullah.

The UN’s SDGs comprise 17 interlinked global goals for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030. Malaysia has made a commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity of GDP by 45% by 2030 relative to the emissions intensity of GDP in 2005.

UEM Sunrise’s latest sustainable development is Aspira Gardens, a landed residential project in Gerbang Nusajaya, Johor. The houses are oriented to reduce solar heat gain and benefit from prevailing winds, reducing the need for air conditioning. In addition, the roofs are designed for future installation of solar panels by homeowners, allowing residents to harness green energy, while the houses are equipped with water-saving functions and fittings.

Kiara Bay, Kuala Lumpur, is another sustainable development project by UEM Sunrise. The developer collaborated with GreenTech Malaysia and TNB Energy Services Sdn Bhd to install multiple electronic-vehicle (EV) charging stations around the eco-living destination.

A testament to UEM Sunrise’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions by encouraging the use of a more sustainable mode of transport is Aurora Melbourne Central in Melbourne, Australia, which has 784 bicycle spaces as well as shower and changing facilities.

UEM Sunrise’s CSR flagship programme and community library initiative, BukuHub, encourages the reading habit and ensures that books are widely accessible to the local community.

ESG principles ingrained in product DNA

UEM Sunrise has advanced a step further by developing its own product DNA, which has embraced sustainability as a key pillar and covers vital elements such as energy and water efficiency, environmental protection and indoor environmental quality. This is aligned with Goal 11 of the UN SDGs — to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

“At UEM Sunrise, sustainability is operationalised throughout the value chain, encompassing the design stage, construction and maintenance. We prioritise our supply chain and we will work in partnership with our vendors and suppliers in our sustainability journey, leaving no one behind. By prioritising ESG in our business strategies, we are hopeful that we will be able to offer greater value to our shareholders and customers ,” notes Sufian.

The first product that embodies its sustainability principles is KAIA Heights, Equine Park in Seri Kembangan.

“We use KAIA Heights to stress-test our internal roadmap to provide a product that by design embodies our sustainability principles while remaining affordable. It is currently GreenRE silver-certified,” says Sufian.

The GreenRE green building rating tool was introduced by the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia in 2013. Its standards and certification process are in line with the UN SDGs and World Green Building Council’s commitment to achieving a net-zero future.

On the social pillar, UEM Sunrise participated in the PINTAR Schools adoption programme in 2008 and adopted 16 schools throughout the country. The focus was on providing schools with added resources to ensure that students were given a better chance of improving their level of education. It has touched the lives of more than 1,000 students and teachers since the programme began.

As ESG principles become ingrained in UEM Sunrise’s product DNA, the company is committed to a greener future to ensure that the environment and future generations will benefit from its sustainability practices.

Aligning with Goal 10 of the UN SDGs — to reduce inequality within and among countries — UEM Sunrise’s engagement programmes are organised to improve educational outcomes. They include the Highly Immersive Programme (HIP), which aims to cultivate confidence to converse in English, and BukuHub, which promotes the habit of reading through the setting-up of mini libraries.

“With corporate governance at the forefront of our business agenda, we embarked on reinforcing our anti-corruption practices by organising engagements to raise awareness of combating corruption in the workplace. This aligns with Goal 16 of the UN SDGs to substantially reduce corruption and bribery and develop effective accountability and transparency,” says Sufian.

UEM Sunrise has taken the anti-corruption pledge, which was carried out in the presence of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption officials, and other related training sessions. In addition, the developer’s win at the Minority Shareholders Watch Group-Asean Corporate Governance Award 2020 in the Industry Excellence Award category, its second win, further signals its commitment to corporate governance, transparency and accountability.

Strengtheningsustainability practices

UEM Sunrise has strengthened the governance of its sustainability practices by establishing a dedicated corporate sustainability division to orchestrate sustainability strategically.

“The Division is responsible for functions including quality assurance; occupational health, safety & environment; and integrated management system. We are hopeful that our sustainability initiatives will be benefitting our customers in the long term. This is key,” says Sufian.

UEM Sunrise CEO Sufian Abdullah showcasing the award the company won at the recent Shareholders Watch Group (MSWG)-Asean Corporate Governance Award 2020 in the Industry Excellence Award category. The accolade is a testament to the company’s commitment to corporate governance, and being transparent and accountable.

Recognition for UEM Sunrise’s achievements is a sign that the developer is on the right track in institutionalising its sustainability endeavour. They include achieving a 3 out of 5 rating in the latest FTSE4Good Bursa Malaysia (F4GBM) Index review by FTSE Russell and a maximum score in the Governance category of the same review. The developer was also conferred the Highly Commended award at the recent Sustainable Business Awards.

UEM Sunrise’s Sustainability Sukuk Framework, which was established to set guidelines for its issuances of the Asean Sustainability and Responsible Investment (SRI) Sukuk Murabahah, received a Gold rating from Malaysian Rating Corporation Bhd (MARC).

“The framework further enhances UEM Sunrise’s sustainability implementation capacity and performance. This gives us the ability to further entrench sustainability practices inclusively at the company level as proceeds from the SRI Sukuk will be allocated for green, social and sustainability-­related projects as per the criteria detailed in the framework,” explains Sufian.

The projects are mainly related to green buildings, energy efficiency and renewable energy, affordable housing, pollution prevention and control, sustainable water and wastewater management, and socioeconomic advancement and empowerment.

“All of our past and future initiatives had or will have a connection with our sustainability goal of achieving a low-carbon future by 2030. On top of our existing efforts in aligning with UN SDGs, we will accelerate our sustainability agenda in a more immense and significant way,” Sufian notes.

For UEM Sunrise, sustainability is the only way forward, and its commitment to this agenda will only benefit its customers, the environment and society.

“We have exciting news to share about our plans for sustainability in the near future. So, keep an eye out for what is to come,” concludes Sufian.

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