Integrated Sustainability Report FY2020
About this Report
Ascendas Reit is Singapore's first and largest listed business space and industrial Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), and has presence in Singapore, Australia, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US). As at 31 December 2020, Ascendas Reit had a customer base of around 1,450 international and local companies across a wide range of industries. This is Ascendas Reit's fourth Integrated Sustainability Report. The report provides updates on its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance. Between 2013 and 2017, Ascendas Reit published five sustainability reports.
International Standards And Guidelines
This report has been prepared in accordance with the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited's (SGX-ST) Listing Manual Rules 711A and 711B, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards: Core option, and GRI's Construction & Real Estate Sector Supplement (CRESS). The GRI Standards have been selected as it is an internationally recognised reporting framework that covers a comprehensive range of sustainability disclosures that is relevant to Ascendas Reit's business. This report has also incorporated elements of the Integrated Reporting (IR) Framework of the International Integrated Reporting Council, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.
Reporting Scope And Period
Ascendas Reit, a CapitaLand-sponsored REIT, is managed by wholly owned subsidiaries of CapitaLand, which include Ascendas Funds Management (S) Limited (the Manager) and Asset & Property Managers who oversee daily property operations. The Trust does not have employees. The Manager and Asset & Property Managers are responsible for the Trust, and its property and portfolio operations. References to employees in this report refer to employees of the Manager.
This report covers Ascendas Reit's portfolio for the financial period from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020 (FY2020), unless otherwise indicated. As at 31 December 2020, Ascendas Reit's portfolio comprises 96 properties in Singapore, 36 properties in Australia, 38 properties in the UK and 30 properties in the US.
Taking guidance from the operational control approach1 as defined by the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol Corporate Standard, environmental performance of 882 properties under operational control have been covered in this report. As at 31 December 2020, about 53% of Ascendas Reit's portfolio was directly under the operational control of the Asset & Property Managers, in terms of Gross Floor Area.
The multi-segmented portfolio comprised 68% and 32% of multi-tenant and single-tenant properties respectively. Please refer to pages 66 to 107 of the Annual Report 2020 for the full list of Ascendas Reit's properties.
The Manager has not sought external independent assurance on this report specifically but the Sponsor, CapitaLand, seeks external assurance on its report and the data is shared between the two entities.
- Ascendas Reit's Manager and its Asset & Property Managers did not have operational control of 112 investment properties in its portfolio during FY2020 (this includes three properties (25 Ubi Road 4, 27 Ubi Road 4 and iQuest@IBP) which are underdevelopment); hence emissions associated with fuel combustion and purchased electricity are scope 3. Three properties were divested within 1Q FY2020, of which two were under the Manager and Asset & Property Manager's operational control (202 Kallang Bahru and 25 Changi South Street 1). However, as energy, water and waste consumption figures during the year were minimal prior to their divestments, the Manager did not include them in this report. Details can be found on page 4 of the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard (Appendix F: Categorising GHG emissions associated from leased assets): www.ghgprotocol.org/corporate-standard.
- Excludes 25 Changi South Street 1 (divested in March 2020) and 202 Kallang Bahru (divested in February 2020).
Sustainability Highlights 2020
Board Statement & Board Message
Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust (Ascendas Reit or the Group) places sustainability at the core of what we do. As a responsible real estate trust, Ascendas Reit seeks to contribute to the environmental and social well-being of the communities where we operate in, even as we deliver long-term economic value to our stakeholders.
The Board of the Manager of Ascendas Reit (Board) sets the Group's risk appetite, which determines the nature and extent of material risks that the Group is willing to take to achieve our strategic and business objectives. The risk appetite incorporates environment, social and governance (ESG) factors such as fraud, corruption and bribery, environment, health and safety.
The Board also approves the executive compensation framework based on the principle of linking pay to performance. The Group's business plans are translated to both quantitative and qualitative performance targets, including sustainable corporate practices and are cascaded throughout the organisation.
Managing impact to the business and looking beyond COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic was unprecedented and had far-reaching impact around the world. Many countries imposed various forms of lockdowns and restrictions, which forced organisations globally to re-think how businesses should be run so as to ensure continuity. Since the early days of the pandemic, the Board has been actively involved and providing strategic input to the management in tackling both the short- and longterm impact brought about by COVID-19.
Ascendas Reit's diversification strategy has enabled the organisation to tide through the pandemic. Its portfolio is diversified across geographic locations and across asset classes. With more than 1,450 customers across over 20 industries, this reduces exposure to any one industry and lowers customer concentration risk. Proactive asset management has further minimised the impact of COVID-19 on Ascendas Reit's operations thus far.
Ascendas Reit has the right mix of properties to remain resilient and deliver sustainable returns. For example, its business and science park properties enable Ascendas Reit to ride along with Singapore's growth in the digital economy; its logistics properties in Australia and the UK benefit from e-commerce growth; while its business park/office properties in the US tap on increasing demand from the technology and healthcare sectors. Moving forward, Ascendas Reit will continue to assess the changing circumstances and respond as appropriate. We will remain disciplined and selective in our acquisitions, while maintaining a prudent capital management strategy. We are committed to working alongside and supporting all our stakeholders, as the economy gradually recovers and businesses return to normalcy.With the complete integration of CapitaLand and Ascendas-Singbridge, a materiality reassessment was also conducted this year, reviewing CapitaLand's ESG issues with that of Ascendas Reit's existing nine material issues. It took into consideration the COVID-19 pandemic, changes in the business environment and our strategy. All material issues of CapitaLand were deemed to be applicable and relevant to the operating context of Ascendas Reit.
Committed to reduce environmental footprint
Sustainability remains key to the business strategy of Ascendas Reit. Building on the momentum to reduce our carbon footprint through the use of renewables, Ascendas Reit contributed to Singapore's 2020 national solar deployment target of 350MWp through rooftop solar installations at 40 Penjuru Lane. Ascendas Reit also has the most number of BCA Green Mark building certifications3 in its portfolio among Singapore REITs. In 2020, LogisTech became the first industrial building in Singapore to receive the BCA Green Mark Platinum Super Low Energy Award. These efforts helped contribute to CapitaLand's accolade as top winner at the BCA Green Mark Awards 2020, clinching the Green Mark Platinum Champion Award, which recognises organisations that have achieved a substantial number of BCA Green Mark buildings at Gold level and higher.
FY2020 was marked by lockdowns and a rapid shift towards digitalisation with many businesses forced to shut and employees worked from home. Consequently, the total energy and water consumption across our assets in all markets decreased compared to 2019. For our Singapore properties, which form the majority of our overall portfolio, energy intensity declined by about 8% while water intensity declined by close to 20%. We have also started tracking and reporting on our waste data in this report and will continue to implement measures aimed at waste reduction.
In FY2020, Ascendas Reit launched its Green Finance Framework, a natural extension to our sustainability and capital management strategies. The framework sets out the overarching guidelines for our issuances of green bonds and green loans. Ascendas Reit raised S$100 million through our first green bond and another S$300 million through green perpetual securities issued during the year. The latter was the first real estate perpetual securities in Asia and was awarded the “Best Singapore Bond” at the IFR Asia Awards 2020 and the “Best Subordinated Perpetual Bond & Most Innovative Deal of the Year” at the 14th Annual Alpha Southeast Asia Best Deal & Solution Awards 2020.
In the recent Singapore Budget 2021, the Singapore Government unveiled the Singapore Green Plan 2030, that encourages electric vehicle (EV) adoption as one of its key focuses. Ascendas Reit has been an early adopter of this and is the Singapore Reit with the largest number of public EV charging stations, providing 40 EV charging lots across our properties in Singapore and over 90 lots in the United States. These efforts, together with our wider sustainability agenda, will help support Singapore's sustainable development objectives.
Social responsibility particularly important during COVID-19
The crisis has both intensified and laid bare the importance of managing the ‘S' in ESG, from the health and safety of stakeholders to employee well-being as well as making positive impact on local communities. Right from the onset of the pandemic, Ascendas Reit stepped up the frequency of thorough disinfection and sanitation measures of our properties, and strictly followed all precautionary measures in accordance with the guidelines in all the markets we operate in. At times going beyond local advisories, to safeguard health and safety. Digital platforms and technology innovations, such as contactless technology and mobile applications were also leveraged to support the workplace community at our business parks and offices. To ensure business continuity in building operations and mitigate the impact of the dormitory lockdown in Singapore, temporary lodging was provided for about 80 technicians at Ascendas Reit's properties in Singapore, with approval provided under Ministry of Manpower (MOM)'s Temporary Occupation License for Factory/Office Space.
As our own employees shifted to remote ways of working, we leveraged on CapitaLand's programmes and took extra care to keep employees engaged and enhance their mental well-being. These included a multitude of activities such as virtual Wellness Wednesday programmes, workout sessions, #stayhome #stay fun contests and quizzes as well as “check-in” surveys to better understand employees' needs and challenges in new ways of working.
To support vulnerable seniors who were most affected by COVID-19, more than 150 CapitaLand staff volunteers packed and distributed festive essential care packs to over 1,600 vulnerable seniors under North East Community Development Council's CARE Team programme and South West Community Development Council's Love-in-a-Bento @ South West programme. Ascendas Reit supported the initiatives by sponsoring the venues at Aperia and 31 International Business Park in Singapore for the packing. In early 2020, employees of the Manager also volunteered in Temasek Foundation's #BYOBclean initiative to distribute free hand sanitisers to the community at various CapitaLand malls in Singapore.
The pandemic has underscored our conviction and strengthened our commitment to sustainability more than ever. Ascendas Reit is heartened to have the strong and continued support from its suppliers and service providers, especially those working on the frontlines. We thank our stakeholders for their continued trust and support for Ascendas Reit as we work together to advance sustainability goals across the business and create long-term value.
- Includes three single-tenant properties. BCA (Building and Construction Authority) Green Mark is a green building rating system to evaluate a building for its environmental impact and performance in Singapore.
Sustainability During COVID-19
Navigating COVID-19 With Stakeholders
Ascendas Reit is committed to upholding social responsibility and managing social risks and opportunities among its key stakeholder groups. Among these, the safety and well-being of its stakeholders is a key priority. Immediate actions were taken across Ascendas Reit's portfolio, addressing emerging issues through a series of precautionary measures to safeguard health and safety. The following table provides a summary of Ascendas Reit's response and support towards employees, customers, suppliers and the community.
With the launch of CapitaLand's 2030 Sustainability Master Plan, CapitaLand elevates its commitment towards global sustainability. Articulated through a series of sustainability strategies, plans and targets, the Master Plan focuses on three key pillars to drive sustainability efforts in the ESG pillars, enabling CapitaLand to create a larger positive impact for the environment and society.
As a CapitaLand-sponsored REIT, Ascendas Reit has aligned its sustainability objectives and strategies with CapitaLand. It is committed to improving the economic and social well-being of its stakeholders through management of human capital, asset, portfolio operations and project development. Ascendas Reit also considers innovation as a key driver towards ensuring commercial viability without compromising the environment for future generations. The Manager works closely with the Asset & Property Managers in carrying out these strategies and relevant activities across its portfolio where possible.
CapitaLand has identified five pathways to achieve the sustainability targets and will adapt its strategies as technologies evolve and when new scientific data becomes available.
1. Integrate Sustainability in CapitaLand's Real Estate Life Cycle
From the earliest stage of its investment process, to design, procurement, construction, operations and redevelopment or divestment, sustainability targets will be embedded in policies, processes, best practices, and key performance indicators of its business operations.
2. Strengthen Innovation and Collaboration to Drive Sustainability
CapitaLand will continue to source globally for new ideas and technologies to meet its sustainability ambitions and work with like-minded partners to create shared values.
3. Leverage Sustainability Trends and Data Analytics
This allows CapitaLand to track critical performance and progress in water usage, waste management, energy consumption, carbon emission and health & safety. These measurements along with social indicators are key to driving performance improvement across its operating properties and development projects.
4. Monitor and Report to Ensure Transparency
As CapitaLand tracks its sustainability progress, CapitaLand will continue to validate its performance by external assurance and align its Global Sustainability Report to international standards.
5. Increase Engagement and Communication with Key Stakeholder
It is key to build awareness among CapitaLand's employees, investors, customers and communities, and collectively effect transformational change to achieve CapitaLand's 2030 targets.
Push Boundaries of Change
To push the boundaries of change, CapitaLand will transit to a low-carbon business that is aligned with climate science. In November 2020, it had its carbon emissions reduction targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for a ‘well-below 2°C' scenario. The targets are in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement to keep global temperature rise well below 2°C in this century. CapitaLand is also developing a new metric, Return on Sustainability, in addition to the regular financial return to measure the Group's ESG impact.
CapitaLand has also launched the inaugural CapitaLand Sustainability X Challenge (CSXC), an innovation challenge to enable CapitaLand to accelerate its sustainability efforts and meet its 2030 targets. The CSXC covers seven challenge statements and reflect the key themes and goals in CapitaLand's 2030 Sustainability Master Plan.
CapitaLand aims to be a leader in sustainable finance and secure S$6 billion through sustainable finance by 2030. Proceeds and interest rate savings from CapitaLand's efforts in sustainable finance can also be used to drive more sustainability initiatives and innovations within the company.
As a testament to its sustainability commitment, Ascendas Reit has been a constituent of several sustainability indices including iEdge SG ESG Transparency Index and iEdge SG ESG Leaders Index. Ascendas Reit scored an ‘A' for public disclosure in the GRESB survey, a global real estate sustainability benchmark, in 2020.
Board, Top Management Support And Employee Involvement
CapitaLand's Sustainability Management Structure
CapitaLand's sustainability management comes under the purview of its Sustainability Council. The CapitaLand Sustainability Council is chaired by an independent CapitaLand board member and supported by the Sustainability Department as secretariat as well as various work teams to ensure continued progress and improvement in sustainability. The work teams comprise representatives from all business units. Each Business Unit (BU) has its own environmental, health and safety (EHS) Committee to drive initiatives in countries where they operate with support from various departments. Ascendas Reit's CEO is the EHS champion and is accountable for Ascendas Reit's EHS performance. Ascendas Reit's Board is updated regularly on its sustainability matters.
Within the Manager, there is also a sustainability committee led by the CEO which comprises senior management team members to oversee sustainability directly at the BU level. The Manager works closely with the Asset & Property Managers in carrying out strategies and relevant activities, abiding by CapitaLand's sustainability framework and policies.
With the full integration of CapitaLand and Ascendas- Singbridge, the material ESG issues of Ascendas Reit were reviewed for its alignment with those identified by CapitaLand. As a CapitaLand-sponsored REIT, CapitaLand's list of ESG material issues have been deemed to be material and applicable to Ascendas Reit's business and operations. These areas are prioritised based on the likelihood and potential impact of issues affecting business continuity and development. For external stakeholders, priority is given to issues important to the society and applicable to Ascendas Reit. The review also considered the material ESG issues in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moving forward, Ascendas Reit will be guided by CapitaLand's materiality assessment process which considers issues identified and assessed from engaging stakeholders through various programmes and channels. Key to this is the Group-wide Risk and Control Self-Assessment exercise, through which the Manager identifies, reviews material issues that are most relevant and significant to Ascendas Reit and its stakeholders. These are prioritised based on the likelihood and potential impact of issues affecting business continuity and development. For external stakeholders, priority is given to issues important to the society and applicable to Ascendas Reit. For more information on stakeholder engagement, please refer to the Social and Relationship Capital, Human Capital and Environmental Capital chapters of this report.
Value Creation And Alignment To United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGS)
Ascendas Reit strives to create long-term and sustainable value for its stakeholders. It continues to leverage on the six Capitals, aligned with that of CapitaLand's - Environmental (formerly Natural), Manufactured, Human, Social and Relationship, Organisational (formerly Intellectual), and Financial. ESG material issues are grouped into these six Capitals and mapped against eight UN SDGs that are most aligned with the CapitaLand Sustainability Master Plan 2030 targets, and where it can achieve the greatest positive impact.
Ascendas Reit draws on its available pool of funds to invest in properties, carry out asset enhancements and redevelop properties to optimise value for its Unitholders. In FY2020, it delivered a Distribution per Unit of 14.688 Singapore cents, 6.1% lower than in 20194, partially due to the impact of COVID-19.
For more details on Ascendas Reit's financial performance and management of financial capital, please refer to page 36 to 41 of the Annual Report FY2020.
Environmental (Natural) And Manufactured Capital
Ascendas Reit is aligned with CapitaLand's commitment to minimise its environmental impact and contribute towards achieving the desired positive outcomes that will benefit its stakeholders and future generations.
The Manager strives to develop and implement environmentally friendly features in its properties and improve overall energy efficiency. It also considers environmental sustainability throughout all stages of any asset enhancement initiative (AEI), developments and redevelopments. Monitoring environmental impact is integral to its business operations, as the efficient use and management of environmental resources such as energy, water and waste contributes to the operational efficiency and long-term sustainability of Ascendas Reit's portfolio.
MANAGING ASCENDAS REIT'S ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT
CapitaLand's EMS System is a key tool in managing its environmental footprint across its entire portfolio. The EMS is integrated with the CapitaLand's Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) to form CapitaLand's Environmental Health and Safety Management Systems (EHSMS) that is certified to the requirements of ISO 14001 and ISO 45001. The Property Managers have also adopted local standards such as bizSAFE Partner, bizSAFE Star and other management systems such as SafeWork Australia National Standards and Model Codes of Practices in Australia. More information on safety-related management systems and practices are discussed under the Human Capital chapter.
Risk Management of Environmental Aspects and Impact
The EMS provides a systematic approach to manage Ascendas Reit's environmental impact and to continuously improve its environmental performance. A key element of the EMS is to identify and manage significant environmental aspects of its business operations that can potentially have a negative impact on the environment. The significance of each environmental aspect and impact is assessed based on factors such as the likelihood of the occurrence, severity of the impact and control measures implemented.
Ascendas Reit strives to minimise negative impacts such as resource depletion, carbon emissions and waste generation. This is done by setting environmental targets such as green building rating targets; energy targets; and implementing various measures to achieve them. The targets are linked to the remuneration for staff including the top management.
CapitaLand Sustainable Building Guideline
Ascendas Reit refers to CapitaLand's Sustainable Building Guidelines, for guidance on incorporating environmental considerations throughout all stages of its properties' life cycles. Specifically, the Guidelines emphasize four main goals - reducing carbon footprint and energy consumption, enhancing water management, minimising waste generation and promoting biodiversity - and offer a structured process where respective persons-in-charge are accountable.
A key component of the SBG is the mandatory Environmental Health Safety Impact Assessment (EHSIA). Prior to any acquisition or development, an EHSIA will be carried out during the feasibility study and due diligence stage. Significant findings of the EHSIA and their cost implications, if any, are incorporated in the investment paper submitted for approval.
The EHSIA focuses on identifying any environmental threats or opportunities related to the project site and its surroundings, covering areas such as floods, biodiversity, air quality, noise, connectivity, heritage and resources. There are no properties in Ascendas Reit's portfolio located within protected areas and no material biodiversity risk has been identified.
Spotlight: Preservation of Biodiversity
Ascendas Reit is committed to preserving the biodiversity of its sites as well as the wider area wherever possible. This is done by addressing any distinctive ecological features of the site, taking into consideration nature reserves on or near the site, protecting plant and animal species on the site and removing invasive plant species on or near the site. External consultants will be engaged to provide advice where appropriate.
In Raleigh, external vendors such as landscapers monitor for and address invasive species.
In both Portland and San Diego, landscaping is primarily focused on providing drought resistant hardy plantings that are either naturally occurring or ecologically compatible.
Training and Awareness Programmes
As part of the EMS, employees are required to attend training and awareness programmes to facilitate effective implementation. In FY2020, the Property Manager team and contractors in Singapore achieved a 96.6% participation rate on EHS-related training. It is also mandatory for all new employees from the Asset & Property Manager team in Singapore to go through the EHS policy and EHSMS.
Ascendas Reit's efforts in addressing environmental issues extends to its stakeholders and the wider community. To drive greater awareness on sustainability, the Manager and Asset & Property Managers engage with customers, service providers and the authorities as partners to foster a strong culture of sustainability. During the year, Ascendas Reit organised a waste recycling campaign across its Singapore portfolio. For its overseas portfolio, third-party Property Managers also hold talks to encourage use of EVs, implement e-waste recycling drives and commemorate Earth Day across the San Diego portfolio.
Internal and External Audits
Ascendas Reit has in place an internal audit system to ensure the conformance and effective implementation of its EMS to ISO 14001 international standards. Internal audits are conducted at least once a year for Singapore properties. External audits are conducted annually by a third-party accredited certification body. All major nonconformities that were identified from the internal audit have been closed.
Green Building Rating and Benchmarks
Green building ratings and certifications help assure and demonstrate the quality of Ascendas Reit's portfolio. These ratings serve as an external validation that key environmental aspects have been considered in Ascendas Reit's development and operations. To date, Ascendas Reit has the largest number of BCA Green Mark properties amongst Singapore REITs at 346 properties. It is now targeting to achieve Green Mark Certifications for some of the logistics and light industrial buildings in its portfolio.
In Australia, 197-201 Coward Street and 108 Wickham Street have maintained their 5.0 Star and 5.5 Stars NABERS Energy Ratings7 respectively. On 13 January 2021, Ascendas Reit acquired a property (1 & 3 Thomas Holt Drive) which has attained the 5.0 Star NABERS Energy Rating.
In the US, properties in Portland and San Diego undergo an annual benchmark based on their ENERGY STAR Score8. In FY2020, five properties across the US portfolio have attained an Energy Star Rating, which means that they have attained a score above 75. Plans are in the pipeline for LEED9 certification in San Diego, starting with its first building in 2021. In November 2020, Ascendas Reit successfully acquired two office properties in San Francisco which were both LEED Platinum-certified Class A office properties as well.
Spotlight: Commitment to Green Buildings
Ascendas Reit's logistics property, LogisTech, is the first industrial building in Singapore to receive the BCA Green Mark Platinum Super Low Energy Award. This is one of the highest accolades for energy efficiency in the BCA Green Mark Award scheme. The development underwent a major upgrade to achieve best-in-class energy efficiency standard, including installation of solar panels at its rooftop to generate clean energy to power the building.
Ascendas Reit's 346 BCA Green Mark properties contributed to CapitaLand's accolade of over 130 Green Mark Awards to date in Singapore and overseas. This year, CapitaLand emerged top winner at the BCA Green Mark Awards 2020 and won the Green Mark Platinum Champion Award, which recognises organisations that achieved a substantial number of BCA Green Mark buildings at Gold level and higher.
- Includes three single-tenant properties.
- The NABERS (National Australian Built Environment Rating System) Energy Rating is a rating system which measures building performance against similar buildings. NABERS rating are measures on a scale of zero to six stars.
- The ENERGY STAR score is used to assess and benchmark building's energy performance against similar buildings in the US on a scale of 0-100. A score of 75 or higher would mean the building is ENERGY STAR certified.
- LEED is a globally recognised green building certification developed by the US Green Building Council. It provides building owners and operators a framework for identifying and implementing a practical and measurable green building design, construction and maintenance solutions. There are eight LEED certification categories depending on the type of development, with four levels of certification - Platinum, Gold, Silver and Certified.
The building sector has been identified as a major contributor to global energy use and carbon emissions. Ascendas Reit aims to minimise environmental impact through monitoring of its carbon, improving energy efficiency as well as deploying renewable energy and low-carbon intensive energy where possible.
On 1 June 2020, Ascendas Reit completed its transition to CapitaLand's cloud-based ETS for its Singapore portfolio. The ETS acts as a central point of data to facilitate the monitoring of energy and water consumption, carbon emissions and waste generation across the properties. Upon complete deployment of ETS across Ascendas Reit's portfolio, Property Managers will be able to conduct analysis against set targets and past trends to better understand consumption patterns and identify potential areas for eco-efficiency improvement.
Due to various lockdown measures from COVID-19 implemented across Ascendas Reit's countries of operation, majority of its employees and those of customers began working from home. Lower occupancy rates and footfall resulted in a significant drop across environmental performance during the year. Hence, environmental performance in FY2020 may not be comparable with previous financial periods. Ascendas Reit will continue to monitor its usage closely and reassess ITS performance in following years for suitable comparison.
Notwithstanding COVID-19 and its associated lockdowns, Ascendas Reit continued to implement energy conservation initiatives in FY2020.
The total energy consumption in the Singapore operations declined from 95.76 million kWh in the comparative period a year ago to 87.05 million kWh in FY2020. Energy intensity also improved from 51.64 kWh/ sq m to 47.24 kWh/sq m in FY2020. Correspondingly, carbon emissions and carbon emissions intensity improved by 9.10% and 8.51% respectively.
The introduction of Singapore's Circuit Breaker from 7 April 2020 to 1 June 2020, as well as the lower footfall across all properties in the second half of 2020 due to safe-distancing measures, resulted in a large drop in energy use due to reduced level of activities within the properties. As such, FY2020 performance would not be representative nor comparable against a normal operating year. Ascendas Reit will reassess its performance and introduce like-for-like comparison of its portfolio when the situation has stabilised.
Likewise, various states in Australia also implemented lockdowns during FY2020 which resulted in a drop in energy use due to reduced level of activities within the properties. Energy consumption (which includes electricity, diesel and gas usage) in the Australian operations fell from 9.74 million kWh for the period January 2019 to December 2019 to 9.35 million kWh for the period January 2020 to December 2020. Correspondingly, energy intensity improved from 221.27 kWh/sq m to 210.05 kWh/sq m.
Total carbon emissions (Scope 1 and 2) decreased from 3,944 tonnes for the period January 2019 to December 2019 to 3,589 tonnes CO2 for the period January 2020 to December 2020, and carbon emissions intensity improved from 89.62 kgCO2/sq m to 80.60 kgCO2/sq m in FY2020.
Properties in the US were newly acquired in December 2019. During the year, lockdowns imposed across the respective states have resulted in lowered energy use due to reduced level of activities as well. Energy consumption (which includes diesel and natural gas) in the US operations were at 26.97 million kWh in FY2020. Energy intensity was recorded at 119.01 kWh/sq m. Total carbon emissions (Scope 1 and 2) were at 8,375.80 tonnes CO2 and a corresponding carbon emission intensity at 36.96 kgCO2/sq m.
Ascendas Reit is committed to reducing total water consumption and overall water intensity across its portfolio. Most of its properties are located in waterstressed areas where growing pressures of climate change continue to pose greater threats to the society. All of Ascendas Reit's properties' water consumption is derived from municipal supplies and majority of its water usage goes to cooling towers, toilets, washing activities and landscaping. All wastewater is responsibly disposed of via municipal facilities.
Across all properties, Asset & Property Managers conduct regular checks across water features and monitor water usage closely such that any fluctuations or anomalies can be identified and acted upon promptly. In the US, California has been facing its worst drought in history, with an increasing probability of entering a multi-year drought. Across the San Diego portfolio, the third-party Property Manager actively engage with customers to raise awareness on droughts and encourage water conservation measures to mitigate potential impacts to its properties.
The table below showcases some of the features in place within Ascendas Reit's properties to ensure efficient operations and minimise water wastage.
Due to COVID-19, the Manager recorded a decrease in water consumption in Singapore operations from 1,719 thousand m3 in 2019 to 945 thousand m3 in FY2020 and a decrease in water intensity from 0.64 m3/sq m to 0.51 m3/sq m.
As with the trend on energy performance, the lower water consumption was attributed to the Circuit Breaker measures implemented resulting in majority of customers and their employees switching to workfrom- home arrangements. Ascendas Reit will reassess its performance and introduce like-for-like comparison of its portfolio when the situation has stabilised.
As with the trend observed in Singapore, the Manager recorded a drop in water consumption from 65.5 thousand m3 in 2019 to 49.1 thousand m3 in FY2020 and water intensity improved from 1.49 m3/sq m to 1.10 m3/ sq m across the Australian portfolio.
Water consumption of 1,087 thousand m3 and water intensity of 4.80 m3/sq m were recorded.
- 2019 data published in Ascendas Reit Integrated Sustainability Report FY2019 was based on estimates whereas 2019 data in this report has been revised to reflect the actual consumption.
Ascendas Reit aims to manage waste at its properties responsibly. As waste generated at its operational properties comes mostly from its customers, guests and the general public, Ascendas Reit engages its stakeholders through various means to reduce and recycle waste. Recycling bins are made available at its properties for its customers. In Singapore, waste is sent to waste-to-energy incineration plants and to recycling facilities. In Australia, waste is disposed via three methods - recycling, composting and sent to landfills. Across the US portfolio, most of the waste is sent to landfills as well as recycling facilities while yard waste collected is recycled and sent to farms.
To raise awareness on waste management, Ascendas Reit collaborated with the National Environment Agency (NEA) on a campaign - “Say Yes to Waste Less 2020”. Posters encouraging food waste reduction and to use less disposables were displayed across over 60 Ascendas Reit properties in Singapore. Where e-directories were available, e-posters were displayed in place of hard copy posters so as to reduce waste. The three-month campaign helped to raise awareness on waste reduction, especially across buildings which are subjected to NEA's mandatory waste reporting.
In FY2020, a total of 9,526 tonnes of non-hazardous waste was collected across Singapore14, Australia and US. Of which 4% were recyclable waste comprising of paper, plastic metals and other materials.
In Singapore, Ascendas Reit works with a waste disposal term contractor who operates a Materials Recovery Facility. They manage the usual recyclable products such as paper, plastics, glass, wood and metal. Landscape waste from buildings are sent for recycling by the landscape maintenance term contractors for reuse as mulch. These waste materials will be treated before being sold off to manufacturers as recycled input materials. Ascendas Reit is also exploring pilot projects of food waste digestors across two of its logistics buildings in 2021. Details of this initiative will be shared in subsequent reports.
- Although Ascendas Reit is responsible for common area energy and water consumption for 18 Woodlands Loop, waste data has been excluded as it is managed by the customers.
Paper Consumption Management in CapitaLand's Corporate Offices
Paper accounts for most of the waste generated from CapitaLand's corporate offices. As of 2020, all offices under CapitaLand have gone paperless with the implementation of e-signatures, setting of paperless targets for corporate functions and the digitalisation of documents. Recycling bins (including secured bins) are conveniently located at corporate office to encourage staff to recycle used paper.
The Manager actively promotes the use of environmentally friendly practices such as returning used photocopier toner cartridges and using FSC certified paper (i.e., from sustainably managed forests, recycled and controlled sources) in its corporate offices. There is no printing of Ascendas Reit's Integrated Sustainability Report which is available on its website.
Health, Safety And Security Protection
Occupational health and safety (OHS) of Ascendas Reit's employees, asset & property managers, customers, contractors, suppliers and the communities who use its properties is of utmost importance. Effective OHS management is part of risk management and has the potential to enhance staff productivity, morale and overall well-being.
Ascendas Reit always seeks to ensure the individual and collective well-being of its stakeholders by implementing all necessary measures on health, hygiene, safety and security at its properties. Its approach to health and safety is guided by its Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) accredited to ISO 45001. This involves identifying and reviewing OHS hazards, assessing their risks, setting policies, ensuring accountability, developing action plans and engaging stakeholders.
Top Management Commitment and Staff Involvement
CapitaLand champions OHS with commitment from the top management and staff participation through the OHSMS and stakeholder engagement activities. The CEO of Ascendas Reit is accountable for overall OHS performance and all staff are encouraged to take ownership of OHS issues and be proactive in reporting all OHS-related incidents, including non-compliances and non-conformities. This list is updated in the CapitaLand intranet.
Additionally, the Integrated Management System (IMS) manual includes provisions for the consultation and participation of workers, such as determining the mechanisms for staff involvement and providing time, training and resources. The IMS provides staff with an additional channel for reporting of OHS-related incidents.
Internal and External Audits
To ensure that the IMS is effectively implemented and maintained, internal audits are conducted at least once a year, together with top management review. Results of the analysis and evaluation will be considered as part of continual improvement.
Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Initiatives
The Manager puts in place several WSH initiative to promote the right safety culture aimed at preventing or mitigating health and safety impacts.
CapitaLand aims to provide a work environment that is safe and contributes to the well-being of its staff. Occupational health services aimed at addressing the physical and mental health risks are provided to employees. These include wellness programmes, health screenings and talks as well as physical fitness classes. Please refer to the Employee Engagement section of this chapter for more details on wellness related activities.
CapitaLand participates actively in national efforts towards workplace health and safety. In Singapore, CapitaLand is a member of the Workplace Safety and Health (Construction and Landscape) committee, which is responsible for workplace safety and health issues. Employees, as well as customers and suppliers (e.g. security, cleaning contractors) also receive training on emergency response. Periodic briefings and emergency evacuation drills are conducted to ensure that customers are familiar with the response plan.
CapitaLand's EHS Policy and House Rules are shared with supply chain vendors to familiarise them with the safety requirements while working in Ascendas Reit properties. Risk assessments are to be submitted if activities contain OHS hazards that may affect any employee, customer or visitor to the buildings.
Measures to Mitigate Risks of Rising Threats
The Manager ensures it stands prepared to face rising threats such as terrorism, fire incidents, cyber risks and pandemic flu outbreaks by implementing appropriate emergency preparedness and crisis management plans, even before the onset of COVID-19. These plans outline the prevention, detection, response and, business recovery and resumption measures to minimise the impact of adverse business interruptions or unforeseen events on Ascendas Reit's operations.
In particular, in the situation of a pandemic flu outbreak such as COVID-19, the Manager has instituted a series of Standard Operating Procedures to respond to an outbreak. The pandemic flu business continuity plan takes reference from the local health authority's guidelines and covers operations and customers in Singapore and its overseas markets. It also serves as a guideline for operations in other countries. When necessary, CapitaLand's human resource department disseminates medical and travel advisories to all staff. Information on pandemic planning is also made readily available for all staff on the CapitaLand intranet.
FY2020 Occupational Health and Safety Targets and Performance
In FY2020, there were zero work-related fatalities, high-consequence injuries15 and occupational diseases recorded. However, 18 accidents16 (all in Singapore and Australia) across both common areas and occupied areas were recorded. For accidents that resulted in injuries, these were not deemed to be severe. Thorough investigations were conducted to prevent recurrence and all necessary follow-up actions have been undertaken in line with the Manager's incident reporting and investigation guidelines and procedures. Recordable work injury rate is not applicable as there were no recordable injuries this year17.
- A high-consequence injury is a work-related injury that results in a fatality or an injury from which the worker cannot, or does not, or is not expected to recover fully to pre-injury health status within 6 months.
- Accidents refer to all incidents, including those resulting in injuries and non-injury cases. All 18 accidents were not required to be reported to the local authorities.
- Recordable work-related injury rate is calculated by number of recordable work-related injuries over the number of hours worked, per million man-hours worked.
- Includes accidents in Singapore and overseas properties.
- This target is only applicable to Singapore properties. The rates are defined by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), calculated per million man-hours worked. The targets were benchmarked against the latest available national statistics at the start of the financial year. From 2020, MOM has stopped tracking the national Accident Fatality Rate, Accident Frequency Rate and Accident Severity Rate.
Supply Chain Management
Screening for Sustainability Criteria
CapitaLand works closely with its contractors and suppliers who are committed to high quality environmental, health and safety standards. Contractors are only appointed for its projects upon meeting the Group's stringent selection criteria.
The Manager adopts CapitaLand's Sustainable Supply Chain Code of Conduct to influence its supply chain to operate responsibly in the areas of anti-corruption, human rights, health and safety, as well as environmental management.
All vendors are sent a copy of CapitaLand's EHS policy and required to comply with local government and other legal requirements. They have to ensure that their staff are sufficiently trained or briefed on EHS measures and are also required to submit a copy of their risk assessments in cases where their activities may affect the occupational health and safety of CapitaLand staff or visitors. For contractors, house rules stipulate requirements such as deploying personal protective equipment, reporting of accidents and proper disposal of debris and toxic waste.
Depending on the nature of their services, Property Management suppliers under Contracts & Procurement, Business Park Operations in Singapore are also required to meet sustainability standards - e.g. ISO 9001, ISO 14001, bizSAFE Level 3 or the National Environment Agency Clean Mark Silver (for cleaning service providers), attaining a minimum B grade licence issued by the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department (for security guards services); and adopting Progressive Wage Model (for cleaning, security and lift maintenance services).
To manage its suppliers, Ascendas Reit employs Zycus, an online Procure-to-Pay platform that can be accessed by its suppliers. Zycus allows the Manager to monitor the track record and sustainability performance of suppliers, access the ‘scores' of past, present and new suppliers, while at the same time, provides suppliers with information on how they can improve on their services. Surprise night inspections on security guards also allow the Manager to monitor suppliers' performance, which is subsequently reflected in the suppliers' performance rating.
In FY2020, all new Property Management suppliers, appointed for Ascendas Reit's Singapore property management services, were screened using social and environmental criteria under Zycus. Suppliers' finances are also checked in accordance to CapitaLand's Contractor Financial Check to ensure fiscal sustainability.
Close Engagement with Stakeholders
Close relationships and key lines of communication were maintained with Property Management contractors and suppliers throughout the COVID-19 situation in FY2020 and especially during the Circuit Breaker period in Singapore. For example, chat groups were created with term contractors for more efficient communications and mutual agreements were reached with the contractors for non-payments as a result of any nonperformance (i.e. services that could not be rendered due to the Circuit Breaker measures where workers were disallowed from leaving their dormitories). The Property Manager also proactively submitted appeals for permits with the local authorities on behalf of contractors that allowed essential services term contractors to work during this period.
Management Of Human Capital
CapitaLand has an integrated human capital strategy to recruit, develop and motivate employees. Key performance indicators (KPI), both for the business as well as for people development, are in place to ensure that employee performance goals are aligned with the Group's business objectives. Employees are provided with appropriate development opportunities to perform well in their job.
Anti-Child Labour and Anti-Forced Labour
CapitaLand is a signatory of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact and is committed to the 10 principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. It is against any form of coerced labour and discrimination, and adheres to international human rights principles including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions.
In FY2020, there was no reported incident relating to discrimination, child labour or forced labour in Ascendas Reit, and the company had no employees below the age of 16.
Fairness and Diversity
CapitaLand embraces diversity and inclusivity regardless of gender, race, nationality and family status. The Manager believes that all employees can make strong contributions based on their diverse talent, expertise and experience. Ascendas Reit, as a CapitaLand-sponsored Reit, upholds this commitment and complies with the five key principles of fair employment as a signatory of the Employers Pledge with the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP).
Ascendas Reit identifies talent internally and externally to build bench strength as well as talent pipeline for leadership succession planning. It recruits talent through a network of local and overseas universities, and attracts young talent at an early stage through its graduate development programme. Apart from fresh graduates, Ascendas Reit also employs experienced and mid-career professionals and industry veterans.
In FY2020, four new hires20 joined the Manager (11%) while five employees left the Manager (14%).
Programmes are also in place to facilitate the continued employability of employees such as pre-retirement planning for intended retirees, re-training for those intending to continue working after retiring, severance pay, job placement services, as well as training and counselling on transitioning to a non-working life.
Respect for Freedom of Association
CapitaLand abides by the Industrial Relations Act that allows employees to be represented by trade unions for collective bargaining. This allows an avenue for employees to seek redress in cases of industrial disputes.
All employees sign employment contracts with clearly stated employment terms and conditions for employees to understand. This includes employment terms on salary and allowances, (statutory) contributions/ deductions, leave entitlements, insurance and medical benefits etc.
To ensure that CapitaLand remains competitive and able to attract and retain talent, it engages external consultants to benchmark the Trusts' compensation packages it owns against relevant talent markets. Beyond base salaries, other components of the compensation packages encompass short-term cash bonuses and long-term equity-based reward plans.
In Singapore, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) enables all working Singaporeans and Permanent Residents to secure salaried workers' retirement. As part of the CPF scheme, CapitaLand and its employees make monthly contributions to the employees' CPF account in accordance with the prevailing regulations.
All regular full-time employees undergo an annual performance review where there is an open discussion on the staff's performance, areas for improvement, developmental needs and career plans.
CapitaLand rewards and motivates employees with a comprehensive and competitive compensation package and benefit programmes. Employees at managerial levels are also eligible to receive performance-based longterm share awards. The share awards will vest over three years subject to the achievement of pre-determined Group profitability and shareholder return targets.
More than 58% of staff have been with the Manager for five years or longer. The company also interviews resigning staff as part of its continuing efforts to improve its retention policies and initiatives.
Positive Work Environment
CapitaLand recognises that a positive work environment is essential to attract, motivate and retain talent. Its total well-being programme promotes personal development, health and work-life harmony. Initiatives include a flexible medical and benefits plan, flexible work arrangements, staff engagement initiatives and subsidised rates for staff staying at Ascott's serviced residences and hotels. Part-time staff are entitled to the same benefits on a pro-rata basis. CapitaLand advocates a pay-for-performance philosophy to drive ownership of collective goals, leading to a high-performance culture which creates long-term shareholder value. Its robust performance management system ensures that all staff receive regular performance and career development reviews.
Through the flexible work arrangement policy, employees may apply for flexible work hours, work from home or part-time work arrangements depending on their needs.
Employees are entitled to parental leave. In FY2020, three employees went on maternity and paternity leave with all returning to work in the same period.
CapitaLand is committed to providing meaningful jobs for its staff. This is in line with the revised Tripartite Guidelines on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment issued by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower together with its tripartite partners, Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).
Employment contracts with clearly-stated terms and conditions are signed with all confirmed employees. In the event of termination or employee resignation, a minimum notice period of one month must be fulfilled, depending on the employee's job grade.
The Essential On-Premise Personnel were rostered on staggered hours as per authority guideline. Such measures to safeguard health and well-being were introduced prior to Government's regulations.
Through the flexible work arrangement policy, employees are able to enjoy flexible work hours, working from home or part-time work arrangements depending on their needs.
The Manager recognises the importance of a highly engaged workforce in contributing to positive business outcomes and organisational excellence. Employee engagement is carried out through regular CapitaLand Group Employees Communication Sessions and the CapitaLand intranet, which updates employees on the Group's latest development, employment policies, benefits, corporate governance and ethics.
Recognition and performance activities such as branding slogan contest and long-service awards serve to recognise employee contribution and service to the company. Under CapitaLand's robust performance management system, performance and career development reviews are conducted annually for all full-time employees, involving open discussions on the employee's performance, developmental needs, career plans and areas for improvement.
CapitaLand practises an open-door policy, allowing all staff to obtain a fair review and a prompt response to problems or concerns relating to any aspect of their employment with the Group. This includes harassment, grievance handling and whistle-blowing policies applicable to all staff. Staff can also raise their concerns to a higher level of management or to the Human Resource (HR) department.
The Manager recognises that employee engagement is all the more important as employees shift to remote ways of working.
Learning And Development
Appropriate training is provided to employees to improve their knowledge and expertise to contribute meaningfully and effectively to Ascendas Reit's performance. CapitaLand has an in-house training hub, CapitaLand Institute of Management and Business (CLIMB), which supports the training and development needs of staff. Besides on-the-job exposure, there are many opportunities for job rotation, mentoring and coaching to allow staff to reach their full potential. These programmes include CapitaLand Onboarding Programme, Data Protection Training, Managing Fraud, Bribery and Corruption, among others.
In compliance with Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) regulations, Capital Markets Services (CMS) license holders also attend REIT Management courses on an ongoing basis organised by Reit Association of Singapore (REITAS), contributing to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training hours.
In FY2020, 97% of the Manager's employees attended at least one learning event, and the average number of training hours completed by each employee for the year was more than 17 hours. Due to restrictions from COVID-19, employees were unable to attend courses in-person. With training providers cancelling most of the physical classroom courses, there was also a delay in the conversion of these courses to virtual learning. As a result, employees attended fewer courses, resulting in the drop in the training hours achieved.
Upskilling the Workforce for the Future
In anticipation of technological changes and its impact on the skillsets of its staff, CapitaLand has a series of programmes to upskill its staff to ensure they remain relevant and contribute to the company. CapitaLand organised a series of sessions where industry experts were invited to share insights on topics and trends related to its business.
Social And Relationship Capital
The Manager and Asset & Property Managers engage with stakeholders regularly throughout the year to understand their needs. Stakeholders are groups that Ascendas Reit has a significant impact on and those with a vested interest in Ascendas Reit's operations. Key stakeholders include employees, regulators, existing and potential customers, suppliers and contractors, the investment community and the local community. Through various engagement channels, the Manager and Asset & Property Managers seek to understand their views and respond effectively to their concerns.
Ascendas Reit believes that corporate transparency and two-way communication will engender stakeholder confidence. Its investor relations (IR) policy, which is available on Ascendas Reit's website ir.ascendas-reit. com/ir_policy.html, provides the framework to do these things effectively.
Its key objectives are firstly, to ensure stakeholders are equipped with accurate and timely information to make sound judgements about the company; and secondly, to cultivate trust and confidence, through regular and clear communication with its stakeholders.
All material information is announced in a timely manner on SGXNet and on Ascendas Reit's corporate website, often with accompanying news releases, to ensure that management's perspectives and Ascendas Reit's corporate actions are easily understood. It keeps stakeholders abreast of the company's news through print, broadcast and digital media, as well as email alerts to those who registered to be on the mailing list via the company's website. Ascendas Reit organises various events, and participates in conferences throughout the year, with opportunities for the investment community and the media to interact with its senior management team and learn more about Ascendas Reit's business. More details can be found in the Investor Relations section on page 62 of the Annual Report 2020.
CapitaLand actively engages its staff through various avenues, including regular staff communication sessions held by senior management, for the effective flow of information and to ensure an alignment of business goals and objectives across all levels of the workforce. Refer to the Human Capital section for further details on employee engagement activities in FY2020.
Existing and Potential Customers
Ascendas Reit conducts regular satisfaction surveys such as after-event surveys, transactional surveys pertaining to leases as well as the Voice of Customer survey, which will resume in 2021. All feedback gathered will be reviewed to continually improve service levels to customers.
Suppliers and Contractors
Ascendas Reit works closely with its contractors and suppliers who are committed to high quality EHS standards. For more information, please refer to the Supply Chain Management segment in the Human Capital chapter.
Wider Community (Government, local community)
Ascendas Reit is committed to regulatory compliance. Procedures are in place to ensure that its activities and operations comply with existing regulatory requirements through regular monitoring, evaluation and auditing of the CapitaLand EHS management systems. Ascendas Reit also participates in stakeholder consultations organised by key government agencies to furnish feedback on proposed regulatory changes that may impact the company's business.
The table below showcases the key stakeholder group, their concerns as well as the response, engagement methods and frequency taken by Ascendas Reit.
The Manager is committed to delivering an exceptional customer experience while enriching lives and the communities it operates in. Ascendas Reit remains guided by its customer experience vision which seeks to create value and experiences in response to its customers' evolving needs. It leverages its approach at activating its spaces, delivering service excellence and engaging with stakeholders through digital means where possible, which has become increasingly important as a result of new ways of working due to COVID-19.
Ascendas Reit understands the need to build solidarity among the community is more important than ever before. During the year, a series of community-building programmes and initiatives were developed and carried out safely in accordance with the prevailing COVID-19 regulations. While various events and engagement had to be put on hold or revised due to the situation, Ascendas Reit continues to provide high-quality programmes and well-maintained spaces where possible, ensuring safe management measures were implemented. Various COVID-19 related initiatives introduced help ensure the physical and mental well-being of customers, employees and customers were also taken care of.
Customer Experience Enhancement Initiatives in Singapore
PROVIDING QUALITY END-TO-END REAL ESTATE SOLUTIONS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF CUSTOMERS
The Manager adopts a multi-pronged approach to deliver value to its customers. This includes value-adding investments through acquisitions, developments and AEIs, as well as delivering quality spaces and good customer services.
Asset enhancements and redevelopments are continuously undertaken to deliver end-to-end premium quality real estate solutions for Ascendas Reit's customers. These projects include providing community spaces as public gathering points, ensuring accessibility in the built environment to those of different age groups and varying mobility, promoting sustainability features to improve customers' work experience and creating live-work-learnplay environments.
More information on the on-going asset enhancement projects undertaken by the Manager can be found on page 50 to 52 of Ascendas Reit's Annual Report FY2020.
More than 38,000 meals and 6,000 food bundles22 were provided to the elderly and other vulnerable elderly, underprivileged children and community care staff, with S$350,000 donation from CHF and CapitaStar members via their STAR$®.
In support of President's Challenge 2020, volunteers including CapitaLand staff sewed over 9,000 mask pouches for children and youth with special needs as well as frontline staff from special education schools in Singapore. CHF donated S$20 to President's Challenge 2020 for every mask pouch sewn or sold, capped at a total of S$200,000.
Temasek Foundation's #BYOBclean Initiative
In early 2020, CapitaLand's staff participated in Temasek Foundation's #BYOBclean @SG initiative, where 1.5m households in Singapore were able to collect complimentary 500ml hand sanitizers at over 100 distribution centres island-wide including 16 CapitaLand malls.
Social Integration Of Ascendas Reit Properties
The Manager is committed to building safe, accessible, vibrant and quality real estate developments to enhance the lives of its customers and members of the community. Its social integration criteria include:
- Ensuring accessibility in the built environment to people of different age groups and varying abilities;
- Enhancing connectivity to public transport, roads, amenities and between buildings; and
- Providing community spaces as public gathering points.
Universal Design (UD) considerations ensure that public spaces in Ascendas Reit's projects are accessible to users of different age groups and varying abilities. These include:
- Seamless connectivity to the external surroundings, e.g. bus stops, adjacent buildings, streets and sidewalks;
- Barrier-free access from accessible (handicapped) parking lots and family lots to lift
› Sheltered and barrier-free drop-off areas;
› Accessible (handicapped) parking lots and family lots;
› Designated pedestrian lanes in carparks; and
› Amenities such as accessible (handicapped) toilets, lifts and nursing rooms.
- https://www.capitaland.com/international/en/about-capitaland/newsroom/news-releases/international/2020/oct/capitaland-winsorganisation- of-good-at-pvpa-2020.html
The Manager is committed to the highest level of corporate governance and transparency in the execution of policies and processes as this is fundamental to the management and operational protocols of Ascendas Reit. This is founded on the belief that good governance is essential in building trust and confidence with stakeholders which ultimately determines the success of the business. To guide employees in making the right business decisions, Ascendas Reit builds and maintains a strong organisational culture, guided by CapitaLand's Core Values.
Fraud, Bribery And Corruption (FBC) Risk Management Framework
CapitaLand adopts a strict zero-tolerance stance against any FBC in the conduct of its business activities and expects all employees to be committed to the highest standards of integrity and professionalism in their work and business dealings.
The FBC Risk Management Framework has been set in place to manage FBC risks in an integrated, systematic and consistent manner.
Together with various CapitaLand's policies and procedures, the FBC Risk Management Policy is published on the CapitaLand's intranet and accessible by staff. The policies CapitaLand has implemented aim to detect and prevent FBC by:
- offering staff fair compensation packages, based on practices of pay-for-performance and promotion based on merit; and providing various healthcare subsidies and financial assistance schemes to alleviate common financial pressures faced by its staff
- documenting policies and work procedures which incorporate internal controls to ensure that adequate checks and balances are in place. Periodic audits are also conducted to evaluate the efficacy of these internal controls
- building and maintaining the right organisational culture through its core values, educating its staff on business conduct and ethical values
CapitaLand's zero-tolerance policy on FBC extends to its business dealings with third parties (including joint venture partners, suppliers/vendors, contractors, subcontractors, agents, advisors, consultants and others performing work or services for or on behalf of CapitaLand). Pursuant to this policy, it requires that certain agreements of the Group incorporate anticorruption provisions.
A whistle-blowing policy (www.ascendas-reit.com/en/ the-manager/corporate-governance/whistleblowingpolicy. html) and other procedures are in place to provide employees and external parties who have dealings with the Group, with a well-defined, accessible and trusted channel to report suspected malpractice or impropriety in the workplace. It also allows for the independent investigation of any reported incidents and appropriate actions for follow up. The objective of the whistleblowing policy is to encourage the reporting of such matters - staff or external parties making any report in good faith will be able to do so with confidence, treated fairly, and to the furthest extent possible, be protected from reprisal if any.
More details on Ascendas Reit's practices can be found from pages 110 to 143 of the Corporate Governance Report in the Annual Report 2020.
The Manager believes that having the right risk culture and people with the right attitude, values and knowledge are fundamental to its success. CapitaLand has implemented initiatives to ensure that all staff understand CapitaLand core values and principles that shape the way it works and functions. This is a module in the CapitaLand Immersion Programme (CIP) for new staff from various countries. For existing staff, there are training courses in Singapore such as “CapitaDNA: Strengthening Core Values”, where specific examples and applications of the company's core values in the workplace are shared. CapitaLand has a dedicated training module for new staff orientation which has since been converted to an e-learning module and launched in 4Q FY2020.
Risk Management And Internal Controls
The Manager maintains an adequate and effective system of risk management and internal controls that enables the Manager to manage risks in an integrated and structured manner. The Board is responsible for the governance of risks across the Group. The role of the Board includes determining the Group's risk appetite; overseeing Group's Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Framework; regularly reviewing the Group's risk profile, material risks and mitigation strategies; and ensuring the adequacy and effectiveness of the risk management framework and policies. It is assisted by the Audit & Risk Committee (ARC) which provides dedicated oversight of risk management at the Board level.
Annually, the Manager coordinates Risk and Control Self-Assessment (RCSA) exercise that requires business units and corporate functions to identify, assess and document material risks which include ESG-relevant risks; along with their key controls and mitigating measures. Material risks and their associated controls are consolidated and reviewed by the Manager before they are presented to the ARC and the Board.
The Manager has implemented a Business Continuity Management (BCM) programme that puts in place the prevention, detection, response and, business recovery and resumption measures to minimise the impact of adverse business interruptions or unforeseen events on the Ascendas Reit Group's operations and also has in place a Business Continuity Plan (BCP). As part of the BCP, periodic desktop exercises and drills, simulating different scenarios, are carried out to stress-test the effectiveness of processes, procedures and escalation protocols. This holistic approach under the BCP serves to ensure organisational and staff preparedness and readiness to deal with adverse business disruptions such as acts of terrorism, cyber-attacks, data breaches and epidemics. Awareness and preparedness for potential risks affecting its business continuity helps the Group minimise the impact of disruption to its business operations. CapitaLand has a Business Continuity Management Policy to guide the business units in the implementation of business continuity plans. Periodic exercises have been conducted with its results recorded for continual improvements to be made.
The Manager regularly assesses its operations, such as procurement of goods and services and engagement with managing agents for risks related to corruption in all the countries where it operates in. Increasing levels of business digitalisation also exposes the Group to information technology (IT)-related threats. The outsourced IT team from CapitaLand executes its cyber security strategy which set out the requirements in the management of IT risks through ongoing review against existing/evolving threat landscapes and institute measures to minimise vulnerability exposure and manage threat vectors. Appropriate measures taken include implementing data protection measures, updating CapitaLand IT Security Policy and Data Protection Framework to ensure relevancy, raising employees' IT security awareness through training and knowledge of remediation protocols, conducting annual IT disaster recovery exercise to ensure business recovery objectives are met and engaging independent security service providers to conduct vulnerability assessment to further strengthen the IT systems.
There were no cases of material non-compliance with laws and regulations in the financial year, a record the Manager endeavours to uphold. For further details on the risk management process, please refer to pages 144 to 149 of the Enterprise Risk Management Report in the Annual Report 2020.
Appendix A: Environmental Data Quantification Methodology
This section explains the calculation boundaries, methodologies and assumptions used in the computation of Ascendas Reit's energy, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water and waste.
Reporting Scope and Period
Ascendas Reit adopts the Operational Control Approach, as outlined in the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard, is used to determine organisational boundaries. This attributes accountability for 100% of the GHG emissions from operations over which the organisation has control. There were 4 properties within the Australia portfolio and 25 properties within the United States portfolio under Ascendas Reit's operational control.
Data for energy and GHG emissions from the following reporting periods have been included in the Integrated Sustainability Report 2020:
- 2020: 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020
- 2019: 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019
Energy Consumption Within the Organisation
Energy consumption is consumed from purchased electricity in Singapore, Australia and United States, as well as diesel and natural gas in Australia and United States. The total energy consumption is expressed in million kilowatt hours (kWh).
Energy and Carbon Intensity
Energy consumption and carbon emissions is calculated for the common areas (chillers, corridors, perimeter lightings and centralised building facilities under Ascendas Reit's direct control). Intensity metrics are calculated relative to effective Gross Floor Area (GFA), expressed as kWh/sq m. Effective GFA is calculated considering total GFA and occupancy rate. Effective GFA has been selected as the metric for intensity ratios as a large proportion of energy consumed is attributed to shared services such as the building's chiller system.
Scope 1 emissions are calculated from the consumption, natural gas and diesel in Australia and United States, expressed in tonnes of CO2. There are negligible Scope 1 emissions for Ascendas Reit's properties in Singapore.
Scope 2 emissions are calculated from the consumption of grid electricity in Singapore, Australia and United States expressed in tonnes of CO2.
Scope 1: Emission factors for direct energy consumption are taken from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emission factor database (i.e. 74.1 tCO2/TJ for diesel and 56.1 tCO2/TJ for natural gas)
Scope 2: Emission factors for the calculation of electricity consumption are taken from the Singapore Energy Statistics 2020 published by the Energy Market Authority in Singapore (0.4085 kg CO2/kWh), the National Greenhouse Accounts Factors 2020 for New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory (0.81 kg CO2-e/kWh), the Emission Factors for Greenhouse Gas Inventories published by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in March 2020 for Raleigh and San Diego (743.3 lb CO2/MWh) and Portland (639 lb CO2/MWh).
Emission factors were not used in the calculation for properties in Queensland as actual data was provided by the local utility provider.
Sources of water withdrawn by Ascendas Reit properties include municipal water utilities across Singapore, Australia and United States. In Singapore, NEWater, which is high-grade reclaimed water from treated used water supplied by Singapore's national water agency is also used across selected properties. Any wastewater is also discharged responsibly through municipal water utilities across all three countries.
Only non-hazardous waste is disposed by Ascendas Reit. Third-party certified waste contractors are engaged across Singapore, Australia and the United States. In Singapore, recyclables are sent to a recycling facility where Ascendas Reit has a term contract with. In Australia, waste is disposed via recycling, composting (for grease traps) and sent to landfills. In United States, waste is disposed via recycling and sent to landfills.
Water intensity ratio is calculated by the total volume of water consumed, relative to effective GFA, expressed as m3/sq m.
Appendix B: GRI Content Index
Appendix C: United Nations Global Compact
|Integrated Sustainability Report FY2020||10 MB PDF|
|Integrated Sustainability Report FY2019||7.98 MB PDF|
|Integrated Sustainability Report FY18/19||11.10 MB PDF|
|Integrated Sustainability Report FY17/18||7.27 MB PDF|
|Sustainability Report FY16/17||0.80 MB PDF|
|Sustainability Report FY15/16||0.57 MB PDF|
|Sustainability Report FY14/15||0.08 MB PDF|
|Sustainability Report FY13/14||0.12 MB PDF|
|Sustainability Report FY12/13||0.25 MB PDF|