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Resources and capability gap to building green communities

    Assignment Instructions

    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 carefully considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) values that found their way into the real estate sector. Capital markets are increasingly starting to recognize the importance of pioneering ESG initiatives in business decisions, with the rapid adoption of ESG criteria affecting investments and funds.

    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. Developers must now identify suitable locations to build communities and provide promising investment opportunities to property purchasers through sustainable architecture and master planning. It’s not just about what a developer can provide its community and residents; it’s how they deliver on those promises.

    Laying the foundation

    For IOI Properties Group (IOIPG), 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:

    > Delivering excellence
    > Caring for the environment
    > Developing sustainable communities
    > Creating value for employees

    The reality for developers is that building sustainably is a rapidly growing aspect of the real estate industry and is a crucial method for property developers to address climate change.

    Noting these as guiding principles, IOIPG strives to instil the importance of environmental sustainability across their network of stakeholders, including customers and tenants. They do this through properties that are explicitly designed to uphold ecological ethics. This means that IOIPG looks at optimizing energy and water resources within their developments and reducing carbon emissions and waste. The Group also adopts the Low Carbon Cities Framework criteria in their developments to prioritize green buildings, reduce carbon emissions and ensure natural resources and waste are managed efficiently.

    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 master plan 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.

    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. To allow a commuter-friendly experience, IOI Rio will be connected to two LRT stations and 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 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 shared 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 intelligent 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. Smart home and smart office system will be installed in most of the buildings within the development to optimize energy usage.

    IOIPG leverages innovation and technology to continually create positive impacts on the environment and the well-being of society. IOI Rio also utilizes 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.

    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 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, and harnessing natural light and enhancing ventilation. In the future, electric vehicle charging stations will also be installed to promote low carbon mobility.

    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 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, air quality improvement, 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 has 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 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 emphasizes 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, and IOIPG is determined to build ones that care for the environment from the ground up. IOIPG has supported the City Nature Challenge (CNC) global biodiversity initiative since 2019. Since last year, the developer has collaborated with local organizers 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. IOIPG has recorded 6,123 nature observations and identified 1,641 species across their developments in Malaysia, Singapore, and Xiamen, China.

    Good governance begets good practices Sustainability remains at the core of the multiple 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. This demonstrates IOIPG’s environmental conservation efforts across various programmes and initiatives in fostering greater awareness of environmental sustainability in their communities.

    Let’s look into the supply chain management area, 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 human rights, environment, health and safety.

    IOIPG has taken initiatives to address this by implementing awareness sessions along its supply chain by encouraging its vendors, suppliers, contractors and consultants to align their operational practices with the standards set by the Group concerning the environment, labour practices, health and safety, and human rights.

    In 2022, IOIPG received an A in the MSCI ESG rating assessment and moving forward, and the Group will be adopting the TCFD recommendations.

    Source: Retrieved from The Star, Friday 27 May 2022.

    1. Discuss any two technological innovations related to developing sustainable communities at the IOI Rio @ Bandar Puteri Puchong. Explain with examples.

    2. The firm’s purpose is to create value. Identify the resources and capability gap to building green communities. Suggest possible ways for the company to conserve urban biodiversity consistently. (15 marks)

    3. Based on your understanding of product development team, propose a structure that may help managers to determine ways to successfully conserve the environment.

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