Carbon capture studies and how it can restore biodiversity
HALF a decade ago, environment, social and governance (ESG) issues had yet to become a mainstream area of concern.
Now, the climate community's general scientific consensus is that the Earth is warming as a result of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions with devastating effects on our ecosystems.
For property developers now, they stand at a crossroads. According to United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Banking Pilot head David Carlin, real estate players face dual imperatives: “to produce returns and to advance the low-carbon transition, successful investors must effectively manage climate risks and capitalise on climate opportunities, which is why many have begun collaborations with tool and data providers.”
One of these methods or tools is carbon capture and storage (CCS). Put simply, CCS is a method of reducing carbon emissions that could be critical in combating global warming.
In addition to helping address climate change, carbon capture strategies can help reduce energy costs and help property developers meet regulatory requirements, improving their overall sustainability performance.
For EcoWorld, this is the journey they have embarked on to maximise its natural resources and capital using 'tried-and-tested' methods.
Our shared ecosystem
Since 2017, EcoWorld has ingrained core values of sustainability into their townships’ masterplans by partnering with ecologists to conduct assessments at their developments’ sites – one crowning example being Eco Grandeur in Puncak Alam.
“Our focus with our townships has always been on livability and sustainability,” shared EcoWorld divisional general manager Ho Kwee Hong, who also oversees the development of Eco Sanctuary, Eco Business Park V and Eco Ardence, all located in the Klang Valley.
“Some of our townships are built on ex-plantation grounds where the soil has become barren or infertile after decades of agriculture. Even the land where Eco Grandeur stands currently came from an abandoned project, so we had to think of ways to reinstate the local biodiversity and also restore the greenery of the area,” she added.
Ecology is a delicate and nuanced topic as each species contributes to the ecosystem, so the task was sophisticated. Fortunately, within EcoWorld’s framework of ESG, they used field studies to determine the effectiveness and suitability of the species in capturing carbon.
“We conducted these studies alongside our ecologists to find out the baseline – to know what flora and fauna were originally native to the area within a 10km radius, before doing any effective greenscaping,” said Ho.
The study found that Eco Grandeur’s sprawling 1,400 acres was located along the Asian-Australasian Flyway. Here, migratory bird species visit to escape winters; the site also serves as a ‘rest stop' for native bird communities travelling between the Selangor coasts and Titiwangsa Mountain range.
Additionally, through careful consideration, EcoWorld introduced grasses, trees and shrubs that could capture the most carbon effectively based on their biomass.
“From the literature review and accredited lab testing, we know that ‘woodier’ shrubs and trees can store more carbon,” she added.
On the other hand, Eco Grandeur's waterways were designed not only to restore the site's natural landscapes, but also to serve as water retention ponds with additional storage capacity to catch runoff during heavy rainfall for flood mitigation purposes.
Knowledge is power
Sustainability is about the long-run. In the time it takes to fully develop a township, there’s time to cultivate a generation of nature-lovers.
If knowledge is the door to a greener future, awareness is the key.
At Eco Grandeur, there will be a 2km educational trail which will cover the different points of interest including the Blue Ribbon, a biodiverse waterway that’s connected to the Sacrificial Garden, Rasbora Sanctuary, Fruit Forest and Betta Sanctuary.
“The Sacrificial Garden is full of flowers – a food source – for bees and butterflies who are also the food source for the birds. The foliage here runs a bit ‘wilder’ to encourage the natural process,” said Ho.
She went on to say: “We have an herb garden too where we encourage residents to plant and harvest small crops for consumption. It also serves a dual purpose to feed small foraging animals.”
This year, the developer also started Stage 2 of their Biodiversity Implementation with ponds 2D and 2F, leveraging biomimicry to reinstate natural wildlife into the waters.
Taking sustainability seriously requires thoughtful intent and EcoWorld is inculcating a love for nature, beginning from the backyard of residents.