IOI Properties Group upholds environmental ethics through green efforts
THE Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 and the United Nations (UN) Climate Targets laid the foundation for a comprehensive consideration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) values that found its way in the real estate sector.
Seemingly, capital markets are increasingly starting to recognise the importance of pioneering ESG initiatives in business decisions, with the rapid adoption of ESG criteria affecting investments and funds.
Now, developers not only have to identify good locations to build communities in, but also provide good investment opportunities to property purchasers through sustainable architecture and master-planning.
As the impact of ESG on real estate continues to become clearer and more prominent, the question has evolved from whether ESG factors impact real estate markets to how property developers can take measurable actions and initiatives to incorporate sustainability into their projects.
It’s not just about what a developer can provide its community and residents, it’s how they go about delivering on those promises.
Laying the foundation
For IOI Properties Group (IOIPG), they illustrate their commitment by example and contribute to solving societal challenges by strategically aligning their sustainability efforts with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The developer has identified the following areas to tackle (as mentioned in the previous issue):
> Delivering excellence
> Caring for the environment
> Developing sustainable communities
> Creating value for employees
Noting these as guiding principles, IOIPG strives to instil the importance of environmental sustainability across their network of stakeholders, including customers and tenants amongst others.
They do this through properties that are designed specifically to uphold environmental ethics. Put simply, this means that IOIPG looks at optimising energy and water resources within their developments, as well as carbon emissions and waste reduction practices.
The group also adopts the Low Carbon Cities Framework criteria in their developments to prioritise green buildings, reduce carbon emissions and ensure natural resources and waste are managed efficiently.
The reality for developers now is that building sustainably is a rapidly growing aspect of the real estate industry and is a key method for property developers to address climate change.
A place for tomorrow
For starters, IOI Rio @ Bandar Puteri Puchong features an abundance of lush green spaces to create refreshing oases for city folks through parks, playgrounds and courtyards that offer relaxing spots amidst the modern development.
Scattered around the development will be green public areas that are interconnected with walkways that join into a sprawling town park.
The masterplan of the development is also designed to channel vehicles entering IOI Rio into the basement level, averting congestion at ground level, so that pedestrians can enjoy a safe walking experience in the township.
To allow a commute-friendly experience, IOI Rio will be connected to two LRT stations, as well as bus and taxi services with covered stands and shaded walkways.
This is a commendable shift towards reducing carbon emissions from city congestion and private vehicles, as IOI Rio is also a smart city integrated with walking and cycling paths with green buffer zones, crossing through pocket parks for verdant vistas.
The idea is that the freehold 80-acre IOI Rio will rejuvenate Bandar Puteri Puchong within a self-contained destination that is cleaner, greener and more conducive for work, living and leisure.
The developer highlights the overall missions of IOI Rio as the following:
> To implement infrastructure which supports a low carbon lifestyle
> To incorporate green technology and green features in the design of common facilities and buildings
> To encourage and educate a low carbon lifestyle through community engagements
> To create a green community involving members of the community to share knowledge and ideas on the latest green initiatives
With the adoption of property technology too, smart cities like IOI Rio incorporate concepts like smart security systems with facial recognition and Bluetooth technologies for cardless access control at guard points and lift lobbies – touchless entry points are a welcome addition in a post-Covid-19 landscape.
A smart home and smart office system will be installed in most of the buildings within the development to optimise energy usage.
IOI Rio also utilises LED or high-energy efficiency solar-powered streetlights. It has also included a rainwater harvesting system for landscape irrigation to reduce reliance on potable water sources.
IOIPG leverages on innovation and technology to continually create positive impacts towards the environment and well-being of society.
In the future, electric vehicle charging stations will be also installed to promote low carbon mobility.
To further reduce their carbon footprint, IOIPG incorporates passive and active principles in their operations and developments like IOI Rio.
These include initiatives like actively sourcing for local construction materials and products to reduce carbon emissions, using energy-efficient and water-efficient appliances such as LED lights and dual flush water cisterns; as well as harnessing natural light and enhancing ventilation.
Preserving biodiversity, bolstering communities
Building new neighbourhoods and communities undoubtedly changes the surrounding environment so contingencies need to be in place to preserve threatened and endemic species of flora and fauna in the area.
In a real estate context, this is done through conservation efforts by IOIPG to conserve urban biodiversity.
The refurbished Town Park at Bandar Puteri Puchong provides ecological functions; achieving the natural effects of temperature regulation, improvement of air quality, oxygen production and carbon sequestration, and surface runoff reduction.
The Town Park had undergone refurbishment to improve its infrastructure, which included an 80-metre boardwalk, canopied social spaces, hanging bridges, outdoor fitness stations, integrated playgrounds, a nature trail and even a secret garden to foster greater community interaction and biodiversity appreciation.
Meanwhile, the 10-acre Central Park at IOI Resort City which is due to be completed in Q3 this year also aims to conserve plant species that are critically endangered or threatened under the International Union for Conservation of Nature-Red List of Threatened Species.
This Central Park comes equipped with a bike and skate park, basketball, futsal and badminton courts, giant slides for families, a boardwalk for park goers to enjoy the pristine lake views, waterfront activities and also jogging tracks.
The upgrading of the 7-acre Central Park at 16 Sierra is also expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of this year, alongside a 9-acre Oasis Park in Bandar Puteri Bangi, which further emphasises IOIPG’s urgency in protecting the environment.
The leading developer is also taking the following initiatives to preserve urban biodiversity through their urban parks:
> Preserving 5% of trees of every available species
> For development in land exceeding 300 acres, to designate an area within the green space to be provided for the preservation of biodiversity
The upgrading of these parks and the new central parks in IOIPG’s key properties were done to provide a conducive environment to enable a thriving biodiverse ecosystem within the communities they develop.
A neighbourhood is only as good as the people in its community after all and IOIPG is determined to build ones that care for the environment from the ground up.
IOIPG has supported the global biodiversity initiative, City Nature Challenge (CNC) since 2019.
Since last year, the developer has collaborated with local organisers to host the IOIPG City Nature Challenge – an occasion where people can connect with nature while generating valuable urban biodiversity data, important to scientific work that protects nature.
To date, IOIPG has recorded 6,123 nature observations and have identified 1,641 species across their developments in Malaysia, Singapore, and Xiamen, China.
This demonstrates IOIPG’s environmental conservation efforts across various programmes and initiatives in fostering greater awareness of environmental sustainability in their communities.
Good governance begets good practices
Sustainability remains at the core of the various strategies that key industry players use in the property development market.
These strategies are implemented through policies and are a tangible way to measure the efforts of property developers, while building trust with stakeholders, including investors and customers.
Let’s take a look into the area of supply chain management, which is an area of interest for IOIPG.
While this topic may sound rather abstract, people nowadays do look at whether or not the products they use or consume are sourced and made ethically.
To maintain its name as a trusted developer, IOIPG has set one of its targets in the areas of human rights, environment, health and safety, amongst others.
IOIPG has taken initiatives to address this by implementing awareness sessions along their supply chain by encouraging its vendors, suppliers, contractors and consultants to align their operational practices with the high standards set by the Group in relation to environment, labour practices, health and safety, and human rights.
In 2022, IOIPG received an A rating in the MSCI ESG rating assessment and moving forward, the Group will be adopting the TCFD recommendations.