Special Address on Sustainable Development for Property Developers – KSInsights Feb 2024

Published on 05 Mar 2024

Ladies and Gentlemen, Assalamualaikum w.b.t and Good Afternoon,

It is with great honour to discuss a topic that is not only close to my heart but is also critical to Malaysia’s future: sustainable development. As someone who has had the privilege of serving the people of Batang Lupar in Sarawak, and as an advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), I bring to you insights from both my personal journey and our shared global vision for a sustainable future.

In the realm of property development, you will find yourselves at the crossroads of opportunity and responsibility. The decisions you make today will shape the world for generations to come. It is our duty to ensure that these decisions lead to a future where economic prosperity does not come at the expense of our planet or its people. I believe there are three key SDGs that we should focus on: Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11), Climate Action (SDG 13), and Partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17). However, it is crucial to understand that these SDGs cannot be seen in isolation. They are interlinked and interconnected, each influencing and supporting the others in our journey towards sustainable development. SDG 11 urges us to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable, emphasising the importance of green public spaces, affordable housing, and sustainable urbanisation. 6. SDG 13 calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, reminding us, especially in the property development sector, to incorporate strategies that reduce carbon emissions and improve resilience to climate-related hazards. SDG 17 highlights the power of partnerships and collaborative efforts to achieve the SDGs. It stresses the need for multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilise and share knowledge, expertise, technology, and financial resources.

By integrating these SDGs into our business models and project designs, we can contribute to a sustainable future for all. The synergy among these goals enables us to address the complex challenges of sustainable development more effectively and ensures that our efforts in one area support progress in others. In line with our national ambition, Malaysia has set a bold target to become carbon neutral by 2050. This commitment, part of the Twelfth Malaysia Plan, is a testament to our country’s dedication to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 45% by 2030, in accordance with the Paris Agreement. This ambitious goal underscores the critical role that every sector of our economy, including property development, plays in achieving a sustainable future.

EMBEDDING SDG PRINCIPLES IN PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT

Ladies and gentlemen,

Now, the question is how do we embed the principles of the SDGs into your operations? Property developers must undertake a multifaceted approach that aligns with global sustainability objectives while also meeting local needs and aspirations. This integration requires a commitment to innovation, stakeholder engagement, and a long-term vision for development that transcends traditional practices.

Firstly, developers should prioritise sustainability from the outset of their projects. This means considering the environmental impact of their developments and seeking ways to minimise carbon footprints through the use of renewable energy, sustainable materials, and efficient waste management systems. Green 4 building certifications, such as LEED or Green Mark, can serve as benchmarks for sustainability standards.

Secondly, community engagement and social inclusion are crucial. Developers must ensure that their projects not only contribute to economic growth but also enhance the social fabric of the communities within which they operate. This involves creating inclusive spaces that are accessible to all, promoting social equity, and ensuring that development projects contribute positively to the local community’s well being.

Moreover, innovation and technology play pivotal roles in achieving sustainable outcomes. Smart technologies can optimise energy use, reduce waste, and improve the overall quality of life for residents. Property developers should invest in innovative solutions that promote sustainability, from construction techniques to the integration of smart home technologies.

Partnerships and Collaboration are also vital for embedding SDGs into property development. Developers should actively seek partnerships with government bodies, NGOs, the local community, and other stakeholders. These collaborations can provide access to new insights, technologies, and funding opportunities that can drive sustainable development forward.

Furthermore, transparency and accountability are key. Developers should commit to reporting their sustainability performance, using metrics that align with the SDGs. This not only holds companies accountable but also builds trust with consumers, investors, and the wider community.

Resilience and Adaptation to climate change must also be considered. Developers need to design and construct buildings and communities that are resilient to the impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather events and 5 rising sea levels. This involves considering future climate conditions in the planning and design stages, rather than just the current environment.

Lastly, economic sustainability is equally important. While environmental and social aspects often receive more attention, economic sustainability ensures that projects are viable in the long term, providing jobs, stimulating local economies, and contributing to the financial well-being of the community and investors alike.

APPGM SDG MAPPING OF LOCAL NEEDS

Ladies and gentlemen,

In many low-cost flats and PPRs, the rubbish collection system has been in need of upgrading to ensure efficiency. Effective collaboration is key. Hence, it is essential to raise the awareness of the residents about the cleanliness of their living environment, so that they can work together with the local authorities, in ensuring the cleanliness of their environment is maintained.

We found low-cost flats and PPRs that are branded as the darkest areas within the constituency because of the rampant cases of gangsterism, drug abuse, and vandalism. Drug abuse is often associated with young people and sometimes even children, which raises concern, especially on the prospects of future generations. For example, in one of the flats we did research, the pressure of financial difficulties, lack of employment opportunities, and often the lack of recreational spaces are often co-related significantly with their involvement in such crimes. Incidents of gender-based violence often occur which are related to closely with drug and alcohol abuse. Women also often expressed concerns about safety walking home from work, even within the short distance between the bus stop to their doorsteps.

We have seen good examples of transformation in certain flats, for example, where effective partnerships between the local residential groups, government, and civil society have made the living environment more conducive for the residents. These are the testimonies of the importance of strengthening the SDG17.

CALL TO ACTION

By embedding the principles of the SDGs into their business models, property developers can spearhead the creation of a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive future. This endeavour necessitates a paradigm shift, viewing sustainability not as an additional expense but as a valuable investment in the future, promising substantial returns for developers, society, and the planet alike. Embracing this perspective aligns with the triple bottom line of People, Planet, and Profit, ensuring that our advancements contribute positively to social equity, environmental stewardship, and economic viability. It also resonates with the principles of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), guiding developers towards practices that are not only eco-friendly and resilient but also equitable and profitable. Together, let’s champion innovation, creating spaces that thrive on efficiency and sustainability. By joining hands in this transformative journey, we lead the way towards a greener, more sustainable Malaysia, benefitting generations to come. Let this commitment to the triple bottom line and ESG principles drive us forward, embodying change in our projects and operations for a better tomorrow


Date

05 Mar 2024