Esther An is the Chair of WorldGBC’s Corporate Advisory Board.
A pioneering green building and sustainability advocate for over two decades, Esther has been instrumental in establishing CDL’s leadership and integrating ESG best practices into its business.
CDL is ranked as a top real estate company on the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World since 2020 and is also the only CDP A-List company for climate strategy and water security in South East Asia. CDL was also the first real estate conglomerate in Southeast Asia to sign the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings in February 2021 and expanded this commitment to achieve maximum reduction of embodied carbon in new developments, compensating for any remaining residual operational and upfront embodied emissions via offsetting for new developments by 2030 and for all buildings to be net zero carbon by 2050.
Named by Reuters as one of 25 trailblazing women leaders in climate 2023, Esther has spearheaded key initiatives including publishing the first sustainability report in Singapore in 2008; issuing the first green bond by a Singaporean company in 2017 and pioneering an SDG Innovation Loan in Singapore in 2019.
As a forerunner in embracing the UN SDGs, Esther was conferred 2018 SDG Pioneer for Green Infrastructure and A Low Carbon Economy by the UN Global Compact. She is chairperson of the Sustainability Report Advisory Committee in Singapore, and also sits on board the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Supervisory Board, GRESB Foundation Board, and UN PRI Real Estate Advisory Committee. She chairs the World Green Building Council Corporate Advisory Board; the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association’s ESG Committee; and co-chairs the Urban Land Institute Singapore’s Sustainability Product Council.
Esther became a G20 Empower Advocate in 2022. She also founded the Women4Green network in 2017 and the Youth4Climate initiative in 2018, recognising that youth engagement and female empowerment is crucial for sustainable development.
City Developments Limited
City Developments Limited (CDL) is a leading global real estate company with a network spanning 143 locations in 28 countries and regions.
Listed on the Singapore Exchange, the Group is one of the largest companies by market capitalisation. Its income-stable and geographically-diverse portfolio comprises residences, offices, hotels, serviced apartments, shopping malls and integrated developments.
With a proven track record of over 60 years in real estate development, investment and management, the Group has developed over 50,000 homes and owns over 21 million square feet of gross floor area in residential for lease, commercial and hospitality assets globally.
Along with its wholly-owned hotel subsidiary, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Limited (M&C), the Group has over 150 hotels worldwide, many in key gateway cities.
Leveraging its deep expertise in developing and managing a diversified asset base, the Group is focused on enhancing the performance of its portfolio and strengthening its recurring income streams to deliver long-term sustainable value to shareholders.
CDL’s value creation business model is founded on its ethos of “Conserving as We Construct” since 1995. For over two decades, it has built a strong track record as Singapore’s trusted property pioneer and is recognised as one of the most sustainable companies in the world.
CDL believes that change is the only way forward for the sustained growth of its business. The company has remained steadfast in its strategic integration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals and policies into its business. CDL firmly believes that the way to future-proof its business and create sustained value for its investors and stakeholders is to mitigate risks, enhance resource efficiency, and drive productivity and innovation.
CDL’s continued progress is widely recognised by 14 prominent global ratings, rankings and indexes. This includes the 2023 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World by Corporate Knights, of which CDL remains the world’s top real estate company and Singapore’s most sustainable company for the fifth consecutive year. CDL was also only company in Southeast Asia & Hong Kong to maintain Double ‘A’s for Climate Change since 2018 and Water Security since 2019. Other major rankings include FTSE4Good Index Series (since 2002); MSCI ESG Leaders Indexes (since 2009 and ‘AAA’ rating since 2010); Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (since 2011); Sustainalytics ESG Global 50 Top-rated, Regional Top-rated and Industry Top-rated in 2023; Bloomberg GEI (since 2018), and top-ranked Singapore company in Equileap Gender Equality in Asia-Pacific Special Report 2022, and top-ranked Singapore company globally in 2021.
For its efforts in engaging its supplier network effectively to address climate change, CDL was awarded the 2022 CDP Supplier Engagement Leader, placing it amongst the top 8% amongst CDP participants for supplier engagement on climate change.
CDL was also accorded 2nd in Asia (Diversified-Office/Retail), and GRESB-5-Star rated on Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) 2023. Additionally, CDL was named one of the world’s 50 Sustainability & Climate Leaders in a documentary hosted by Bloomberg.
To augment its sustainability-focussed strategy, CDL became the first Singapore company to embrace the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since its launch in September 2015. To-date, CDL has embraced 14 out of 17 SDGs in its Future Value 2030 sustainability blueprint goals and targets. As part of CDL’s commitment to transparent disclosure, key strategic goals and ESG targets set under its blueprint are tracked and reported quarterly and annually since 2017.
Recognising the high environmental impact of the built sector, carbon management has been CDL’s priority. To support efforts towards a low-carbon economy, in 2018, CDL became the first real estate company in Singapore to have its carbon emissions intensity reduction targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature.
Along with setting more ambitious science-based emission reductions targets, CDL takes pride to have been the first real estate developer in Singapore and the first real estate conglomerate in Southeast Asia to sign the WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment in February 2021, pledging to achieve net zero operational carbon emissions for buildings under its direct control and management by 2030 and advocating for all buildings to be net zero operational carbon by 2050.
Testament to its pioneering and unwavering commitment to green building efforts since the early 2000s, CDL has amassed a portfolio of 110 BCA Green Mark certifications for its developments and office interiors, making CDL the most awarded BCA Green Mark Platinum developer in the private sector.
In the face of unprecedented climate, health and economic threats, CDL’s strong ESG performance has positioned it to achieve sustained growth and attract fast-growing sustainable investments.