The social distancing and domestic travel restrictions continue to pose difficulties for developers trying to lease and sell their land or products, as investors and potential tenants cannot undertake site visits to conclude their decision. However, the rollout of the vaccinations and promises of a vaccine passport programme are instilling confidence into landlords and investors alike.
In addition to strictly following the government’s regulations, we have been implementing the GLCares programme to show our concern not only to the community but also to employees in the company, with many activities providing support and encouragement to them and their family members, as well as the surrounding community. For internal staff, we have supported living allowances to help during the difficult time. For external associates, we supported protective equipment to frontline workers and food for vulnerable communities.
The pandemic has dramatically changed the way people live and work. It has slowed down our business for almost a year. Online applications have been applied for our company to transform and ease contactless approaches in our day-to-day work. Everything must be ready for our new product launches period, where we focus on adaptability to ensure sustainability.
I firmly believe we will all be pulled into ESG and sustainable development, no matter which industry we’re in or how long we have been operating and in which country.
It is imperative for not just Gamuda Land Vietnam, but also Gamuda Berhad as a group, to leverage our top-notch technology and international expertise to enhance our wide efforts in sustainable development from the outset. It is also praiseworthy for our group to push towards fulfilling ESG responsibility beyond mere compliance.
In every stage of development, we ask ourselves how should we implement the “E”, “S”, and “G” elements in our initiatives. While the “E” is of prime importance and could be more easily assessed given the indicators to achieve a zero-carbon economy, the “S” and “G” are somehow more challenging to address, despite their increasing relevance.
In Vietnam alone, we’ve witnessed some significant milestone as the government embarked on its ESG transformation, which is in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
We are striving to contribute towards the achievement of the SDGs, the Paris Agreement, and particularly Vietnam’s SDG programme.
As the leading property provider group with major focus on Asia-Pacific, we aim to achieve 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions via our sustainable master-planning, climate-responsive design, and green features, as well as a reduction in landfill waste and freshwater demand.
For example, a materiality assessment is one of our critical mechanisms in ensuring our sustainability efforts are met, as well as a focus on what matters most to our business and stakeholders.
Notwithstanding, there’s no such thing as a general recipe for success. Based on each country, we have formulated a distinctive approach towards a feasible circular economy model, such as reducing each host country’s greenhouse gas emission to a different level.
Since our very first day in Vietnam in 2007, we have been driven by our desire to adopt societal responsibility and invest in sustainable practices.
We have organised a number of activities to raise awareness among our staff in terms of our ESG requirements and compliances, as well as the awareness towards a sustainable development after the vast experience we have accumulated throughout the pandemic.
We have established the suitability initiative, but we want to create awareness clearer to residents, investors, and the public to truly match the concept for us to continue. Hence, we have to live and adopt with the current environment or else we will be left out and loose the competitive edge.
We have planted nearly 20,000 trees in Vietnam, both in Gamuda City Hanoi and Celadon City in Ho Chi Minh City. We intend to plant more and are also the making an effort in our ESG initiative.
Our first presence in the country was not a residential project, but the Yen So Sewage Treatment Plant. We have successfully built and operated the plant, refurbished Yen So Lake, and transformed the low-lying land south of Hanoi into a liveable place. We have always respected the nature and developed the project in the most eco-friendly direction, with a special team fully equipped according to ESG standards.
The Gamuda City project in Hanoi, as well as Celadon City in Ho Chi Minh City, has a low construction and development density. Most of the area is prioritised for green landscape and water surfaces, accounting for about 50 per cent of the master plan, to realise a green, clean living space for residents. We reckon that the only way for a sustainable township to exist is to have all these ESG criteria as the fundamental baseline for a community creation.
With a scale of 123 hectares, Yen So Park is located in the prime utility chain of the Gamuda City project, which is considered a green lung of the entire southern area of the city. The utility of the lake improves the landscape and, at the same time, keeps the air at the project cool and comfortable.
After more than 14 years of development, we have not stopped making efforts to implement green campaigns for the environment, such as raising awareness of residents and surrounding communities, planting trees, using advanced construction technologies, eco-friendly energy generation such as solar power systems, and cooperating with partners.
We are proud that Yen So Park is now considered the largest park in Hanoi, with the largest lake inside a park too. Unlike many other developers, we raised our trees and plants locally at Yen So Park with advance planting technology that promote bio-diversity, instead of importing them from abroad.
This ensures that the plants are completely fit for the climate and not suffer any potential shocks when transplanted into residential areas. These trees are then presented to the house owners and residents once they have grown up and are intended to grow old with the owners.
We first created the park, then started working on other social infrastructure and facilities to await future residents. This is what makes Gamuda Land’s development unique in the local real estate industry and what brought us many special awards by the international community.
Social responsibility is deeply ingrained in our corporate culture. We’re committed to giving back to the communities we’re in, and now more than ever. Continuing with the series of meaningful charitable activities, the GLCares programme has spread love and coordinated with local authorities in raising awareness in both analogue and digital approaches.
We’ve also completed the primary access road to the 500-bed field hospital in a record time and supported many households with tonnes of rice and face masks to ensure a safe environment for all, while providing fruits and vegetables for our staffs to accompany them during this hard time.
GLCares is a series of humane social responsibility activities that Gamuda Land has been carrying out for the past months, with the purpose of spreading positive energy and helping the community in fighting the pandemic.
Besides the pandemic, we have been faced with other challenges: the increasing prices of raw materials and the impact on the supply chain. It is certain that, when the price of raw materials increases, the price of the product will increase gradually too. This will not be a huge shock for big developer like us, because the business plan is usually outlined for 3-6 months ahead, and some strategic decisions have already been in the pipeline since last year.
To solve these common problems in the market, the state has to re-adjust. We are an enterprise, and in the middle of the supply chain, so we must quickly adapt. As it stands, there is an open option to manage the difficulties in a reasonable and practical way and to support the supply chain to overcome difficulties.
In terms of labour resources, we have implemented a series of actions. We also implemented disease control procedures at construction sites and workplaces according to government guidelines and applied preventive measures that promote a touchless approach.
We also combined operational, financial, and human resource planning under various scenarios, creating financial support plans for employees in case parts or all of the site is close, including a very effective work-from-home strategy. In addition, the company’s management board regularly updates information and chooses appropriate plans in line with global experiences like in Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia.
I highly appreciate and trust the actions that the government of Vietnam initiated. So far, the authorities are doing an extremely good job, and I trust it will be continued. We will always be here to support and encourage the required actions.