The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

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Case study: How CDL promotes environmental compliance

City Developments Limited (CDL) is a leading global real estate operating company with a network spanning 103 locations in 29 countries and regions and with a geographically diverse portfolio comprising residences, offices, hotels, serviced apartments, integrated developments and shopping malls. In all its activities and operations, CDL is firmly committed to complying with all applicable EHS (Environmental, Health and Safety) legal requirements  Tweet This! as enforced by a number of local authorities.

This case study is based on the 2019 Integrated Sustainability Report by CDL published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing. 

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Through the constant monitoring, evaluation and auditing of its ISO14001 and OHSAS18001 certified EHS management system, CDL makes sure that all its activities comply with existing regulatory requirements. In order to promote environmental compliance CDL took action to:

  • manage construction noise
  • implement vector control at construction sites
  • manage water discharge at construction sites

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2019 Integrated Sustainability Report CDL identified a range of material issues, such as energy efficiency and renewable energy, product quality and responsibility, occupational health, safety and well-being, cyber security and data governance, product safety and customer well-being, talent attraction, retention and development. Among these, promoting environmental compliance stands out as a key material issue for CDL.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The organization should identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups CDL engages with:   

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement



·      Regular dialogue sessions, town halls and forums fronted by Senior Management

·      CDL 360 – Company intranet

·      Daily news bulletin

·      Staff Connect (SC) – an inter-department committee that organises company-wide activities to foster work-life balance and reinforce team spirit

·      Frequent employee activities

·      Biennial Employee Engagement Survey

·      Employee Assistance Programme (counselling service)

·      Employee grievance handling procedures

·      City Sunshine Club (CSC) – employee volunteering platform

Customers               Homebuyers:

·      Integrated customer and call centre

·      Homebuyer e-portal

·      Residential services

·      Green Living Guides

·      Defects management tracking app and procedures

·      Post-TOP customer satisfaction surveys

·      Show suites feedback system


·      CDL Green Lease Partnership Programme

·      CDL Green Ambassadors

·      Green fitting out kits

·      Project: Eco-Office kits

·      Recycling programme

·      1°C Up Campaign

·      Curated events and activities for C-suites and office community (e.g. Healthy Workplace Ecosystem and Health screenings)

·      Annual tenant satisfaction surveys

·      Precinct improvement with Raffles Place Business Improvement District

Builders and suppliers



·      Policies including climate change, EHS, human rights and universal design

·      Supplier code of conduct

·      Green procurement specifications

·      CDL 5-Star EHS assessment

·      Quarterly seminars and peer sharing

·      Annual EHS Awards

·      Declaration of EHS commitment through letter and pledge-signing

·      EHS risk assessments at concept, design and construction stages

·      Construction vision casting

·      Bi-annual vendor evaluation

Investors, analysts and



·      Annual General Meetings

·      Bi-annual financial results briefings and webcasts

·      Quarterly financial results announcements

·      Regular analyst and investor meetings

·      Post-results luncheons

·      Non-deal roadshows

·      Conferences, meetings and site visits

·      Media releases and interviews

·      Annual reports

·      Integrated sustainability reports

·      Company website

·      Sustainability microsite

·      Timely response to ESG rating agencies and analysts

·      Global sustainability rankings and indices

Government agencies and regulators


·      Senior management representation on boards of various industry bodies

·      Participation in tri-sector and sustainability-related consultations and dialogues

·      Longstanding partnership of various national programmes

·      Thought leadership in support of public policies and regulations pertaining to sustainability, green buildings and reporting

Community ·      Public communications plan with residents within a 100-metre radius of new developments

·      Builders’ contact details displayed at construction sites for public feedback

·      Participation in sustainability-related conferences/forums

·      Consultation and dialogues with academics, NGOs, and business associations

·      Annual reports

·      Integrated sustainability reports

·      Company website and social media

·      Corporate advertisements

·      Collaborations with charity and NGOs partners for community development

·      Universal design for homes and offices

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics, CDL engaged with its stakeholders through an online survey and one-on-one stakeholder interviews.

What actions were taken by CDL to promote environmental compliance?

In its 2019 Integrated Sustainability Report CDL reports that it took the following actions for promoting environmental compliance:

  • Managing construction noise
  • In Singapore, NEA (National Environment Agency) regulates the noise levels from construction sites with a set of permissible noise limits that vary depending on the time of the day and neighbouring premises. To protect nearby residents, CDL makes sure its builders comply with the construction noise limits at all construction sites. To minimise noise-related complaints, builders are encouraged to put in place an active management programme, and to take all necessary action to address and resolve related complaints. As part of CDL’s efforts to keep the community informed about construction status, schedules of the progress at each site are communicated to pre-empt the community about upcoming works that may affect them.
  • Implementing vector control at construction sites
  • To keep the incidence of vector-borne diseases low in Singapore, local authorities leverage on vector management systems complemented by education, enforcement, and continuous research to achieve this goal. Recognising that construction sites, if not well managed, could become environments for mosquito breeding and rodent infestation, CDL works closely with its builders to make sure effective systems are in place to prevent pests, curb dengue transmission and protect workers and residents around work sites against dengue fever. Besides making sure that its builders schedule and carry out regular housekeeping on site, CDL requires that they maintain comprehensive pest surveillance and control programmes. Additionally, CDL actively engages its contractors and their workers through awareness building and educational talks, to ensure effective vector control and minimise incurring fines for vector breeding.
  • Managing water discharge at construction sites
  • The discharge of wastewater into the public sewerage system and open drains, canals and rivers is strictly regulated by the PUB (Public Utilities Board) and NEA (National Environment Agency). CDL works closely with all its contractors to track the quality of water discharged to public sewerage and drainage systems, and to make sure that Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS) readings of the discharged water do not exceed the legal limits. At all construction sites, Earth Control Measures (ECM) and live-monitoring and alert systems are used to prevent silt from polluting CDL’s waterways. If the TSS limits are exceeded, prompt corrective actions, such as lean concreting to prevent soil discharge, are implemented.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed? 

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 303-2 Management of water discharge-related impacts

2) Disclosure 303-4 Water discharge

3) Disclosure 307-1 Non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations


Disclosure 303-2 Management of water discharge-related impacts corresponds to:

Disclosure 303-4 Water discharge corresponds to:

Disclosure 307-1 Non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Business theme: Compliance with laws and regulations


80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

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1) This case study is based on published information by CDL, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning.  If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:


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