CDL reveals what it does for society and environment

CDL reveals what it does for society and environment




CITY Developments Ltd (CDL) yesterday launched its first annual report focusing on the property developer’s impact on the environment, such as energy usage and carbon emissions.


The 54-page voluntary report, one of the first of its kind for a Singapore public-listed company, also details CDL’s activities and performance on various social and environmental issues, including efforts to improve the efficiency of energy and water use at its property projects and to reduce the amount of waste it generates.


But profits still come first, managing director Kwek Leng Joo said at a media conference to launch the report yesterday.


‘Businesses are for profit. Companies are out there not primarily to do charity work, think about how they should protect the environment or how they should repay kindness to society,’ he said. ‘The primary obligations are to the shareholders and investors.’


A company needs to be profitable first ‘before it can even put itself in a position to talk about CSR (corporate social responsibility) or anything else’, Mr Kwek said.


Just a day earlier, CDL reported a 31 per cent jump in net profit to $165 million in the first quarter from a year earlier. And last year saw record revenue and profit for the second-largest developer here amid the boom in property prices.


But a public-listed company must also be sure that ‘whatever kind of business it is in is sustainable’, which is where CSR issues are relevant, Mr Kwek said.


As a major property developer, paying attention to environmental conservation and protection issues is necessary to ensure that its core business of developing and managing new projects is sustainable in the long term, he added.


According to the report, CDL invests 2-5 per cent of the construction cost of a project in environmentally friendly ‘green’ design and features.


The company said it aims to track and measure its social and environmental efforts and performance against international benchmarks, and is setting up a formal CSR committee comprising senior management that will report directly to Mr Kwek.


Zoe Knight, head of socially responsible investment research at Merrill Lynch, said the report is a ‘breakthrough’ for Singapore.


Other Singapore-listed companies that have published separate environmental impact reports include Singapore Airlines and Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing.


Source: Business Times

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