ALTHOUGH environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations is currently taking centre stage, IOI Properties Group (IOIPG) embarked on its journey much earlier on.
Taking the lead to incorporate sustainable living and seamless connectivity in its vibrant integrated developments — such as IOI Resort City in Putrajaya and the next-gen smart city IOI Rio in Bandar Puteri Puchong — the group has been upholding ESG principles aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals since 2017.
This is evident in its Sustainability Strategic Framework, which builds upon its vision of ‘Trusted’, mission and core values. There is also the Sustainability Policy that serves as a business operating guideline to mitigate adverse risks and enhance its positive impact on the economy, environment and society.
Purpose-driven for the future
Bound by a common aspiration to achieve its core purpose of creating a sustainable future, the group’s four sustainability goals are:
> Delivering excellence: Achieve prominence in product and service excellence and deeply embed reliability, quality and sustainable growth into all aspects of the business.
> Caring for the environment: Uphold environmental ethics through green efforts, including energy management, water conservation, emissions and waste reduction, as well as urban biodiversity conservation; and care for the environment towards sustainability for future generations.
> Creating value for employees: Maintain a healthy, safe and fair work culture with emphasis on employee engagement and encourage employee participation in the organisation’s transformational journey of sustainability.
> Developing sustainable communities: Enhance social well-being via community initiatives such as social responsibility commitments, community investments, employee volunteerism and community development programmes for positive long-term impacts to society.
To achieve the sustainability core purpose and goals, IOIPG has four sustainability strategic themes that all programmes and initiatives are anchored on.
The themes include mindset change, inspiring women, young urbanites and urban green.
As such, IOIPG’s efforts in driving sustainability across all of its business segments of property development, property investment, as well as hospitality and leisure have resulted in recognition via global sustainability ratings.
From 2018 to 2020, IOIPG achieved a 4-star grading band in its ESG ratings assessed by FTSE Russell under the FTSE4Good Index Bursa Malaysia, meaning that it numbers among the top 25% among public-listed companies on the FTSE Bursa Malaysia EMAS Index.
IOIPG also received an A rating in the MSCI ESG Ratings assessments in 2022.
This ties in with IOIPG’s vision to be Trusted, a brand that is trusted not only by its customers, but also by all its other stakeholders, including employees, business partners, shareholders and the communities in which it operates.
Doing its part
Under the sustainability goal of caring for the environment and the urban green theme, IOIPG has set five to eight-year targets in the areas of biodiversity, water, energy, waste management and carbon emission reduction to pave its path forward.
To improve energy efficiency, IOIPG has established a group-wide energy policy targeted at reducing operational costs and GHG emissions, which includes measures such as regular maintenance of energy management systems in its managed buildings and periodic audits.
A key area of concern is greenhouse emissions (GHG).
In this, the group seeks to mitigate its impact on climate change by reducing its GHG emissions, including intensifying initiatives such as using solar energy to reduce energy consumption from the grid; as well as ensuring that its office buildings and high-rise developments in its investment portfolio are green building-certified, done as of 2014.
Moving forward, IOIPG is adopting Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations.
The IOI Central Boulevard Towers in Singapore is also designed to achieve the Green Mark platinum certification, while its developments in Xiamen achieved a Green Building Certified 1-Star for both its commercial and residential projects.
IOIPG has also been tracking its energy and water consumption for the past three years, with a five-year intensity reduction target at locations other than construction sites, be it at hotels, malls, golf clubs or managed offices.
It targets 10% reduction in energy consumption intensity by its financial year (FY) ending June 30, 2028, while 10% intensity reduction for water consumption is targeted by FY2025.
IOIPG has made a commitment to utilise renewable energy such as solar power to reduce its energy consumption from the grid by 15% to 20% at its malls and at its Rio offices. Via these efforts, it has retrofitted photovoltaic panels on the rooftops with a combined capacity of 4.2MWh of renewable energy.
Sustainable living environments
IOIPG is committed to retaining the urban biodiversity of its developments and adjacent areas through the provision of urban parks and landscaping.
The group targets to preserve 5% of trees of every valuable species (with reference to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)-Red List of Threatened Species or native species) in its developments prior to project commencement; as well as to provide a conducive habitat within its development to sustain the biodiversity over time.
Among one of the many parks that manifest this approach to urban biodiversity conservation is Bandar Puteri Town Park, situated in Bandar Puteri Puchong, which the group invested more than RM1.4mil to refurbish.
The park’s refurbishment includes solar-powered lighting, an 80m boardwalk, canopied social spaces, hanging bridges, outdoor fitness stations, integrated playgrounds, a nature trail and a secret garden.
With 55% of its land dedicated for infrastructure and amenities provision, IOIPG builds water reservoirs, sewerage treatment plants, roads and drainage systems, schools, community halls and sports facilities to cater for the communities it operates in.
This includes the group’s funding of RM91.71mil for infrastructure upgrading and enhancement projects at Bandar Puteri Puchong.
Empowering people and communities
It goes beyond practising the ‘refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle’ philosophy internally by working with partners in educational initiatives as a rallying call for the surrounding communities.
These are specifically focused on advocating a circular economy to divert waste from landfills through waste minimisation, which it believes is the key to reducing waste generation.
IOIPG initiated the IOI-Active Citizens Programme with the British Council with the aim of raising awareness among its employees and communities to take more active and participative roles in creating impact on society.
Its initiatives also tie in with its key theme on inspiring women, combining efforts in women empowerment with waste minimisation, such as through the collaboration with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Faculty of Pharmacy to upcycle used cooking oil into eco-friendly multi-purpose detergent.
Linked to the key theme of nurturing young urbanites is IOI Kickstart, a three-year accelerator and collaboration programme offering a springboard for inspiring start-ups.
By collaborating with Arus Oil, IOIPG carried out a collection drive where used cooking oil was collected from the community. In May 2022, a webinar series will be launched to continue these efforts.
Moreover, the group collaborated with B’dari, curated by artist Artsy Daphy, for a one-of-a-kind art piece made from 1,800 used plastic mineral bottles.
This is in addition to introducing KITACycle in 2021, which is a recycling centre with a weigh-and-pay system that earns cashback for recyclables.
IOIPG also works closely with Yayasan Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng’s social enterprise and retail store called Bargain Basement, in order to encourage the public to donate their pre-loved and unused items.
These items are then sold at minimal cost with net proceeds channelled to charity organisations.
To date, Bargain Basement has donated in excess of RM500,000 from the store’s proceeds to beneficiaries such as the Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia, the Autism Cafe Project and Dignity for Children Foundation, among many others.