In partnership with Seven Clean Seas (SCS), City Developments Limited (CDL) is the first real estate company to receive a plastic neutral certification for one of its commercial properties, 11 Tampines Concourse, following a stringent third-party verification process. In doing so, CDL has forged a new frontier in plastic neutrality by adopting the Ocean Bound Plastic (OBP) Plastic Producer Standard developed by Zero Plastic Oceans (ZPO) and certified by Control Union, a global accreditation company. ZPO is an NGO founded in France in 2019 that incentivises the collection of ocean-bound plastic. The Ocean Bound Plastic Neutrality Certification Standard ensures that all ethical, social and environmental requirements are met across the value chain.
SCS is an award-winning ocean cleanup organisation headquartered in Singapore founded in 2018, winner of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s ‘Global Startup Challenge’ and under the Cleantech Group’s 2021 #50toWatch list. SCS developed the world’s first all rounded plastic offsetting service, helping companies neutralise their plastic footprint by measuring,
reducing and ultimately removing plastic from the ocean, on their behalf. SCS’s rigorous audit procedures in compliance with the Ocean Bound Plastic Standard were used to determine the plastic consumption of 11 Tampines Concourse and ultimately, establishing it as the world’s first OBP Certified Plastic Neutral Building.
Ms Esther An, CDL Chief Sustainability Officer, said, “In this decade of urgent action to tackle climate change, innovative solutions are critical to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy. As the first CarbonNeutral® Development in Singapore and the Asia Pacific, 11 Tampines Concourse was designed and built with sustainability in mind when it was launched in 2009. In 2021, we embarked on a partnership with SCS on exploring plastic neutrality with a view to engage our building users to reduce the plastic footprint of our properties. The oceans absorb over 90% of the heat and some 30% of carbon dioxide emissions produced by human activities. This plastic neutrality initiative complements CDL’s long-standing commitment to drive climate action and mitigate the impacts of our buildings.”
As part of the comprehensive plastic offsetting process, SCS conducted a plastic footprint audit and analysis at Tampines Concourse to identify its yearly plastic consumption, generation hotspots and plastic waste composition. This provided CDL with robust and up-to-date information to reduce the impacts of plastic consumption by offsetting the annual volume of plastic generated. Similar to carbon credits, plastic credits are a novel mechanism used by organisations to offset their plastic waste footprint. Plastic offsetting credits purchased ensure remote communities from areas that are most affected by marine plastic
debris, have the resources to develop the necessary infrastructures and projects needed to reduce plastic pollution.
To ensure the rigour of this first-of-its-kind certification, the process underwent independent validation by Control Union, an experienced accreditation company that manages the assessment of over 130 different standards. Control Union provides an impartial assessment of projects and claims of Ocean Bound Plastic Neutrality against Zero Plastic Oceans’ OBP Standards. Control Union has certified both CDL’s claim of OBP Neutrality and SCS’ plastic collection projects in Indonesia for the generation of plastic credits. Each certification was subject to separate independent audits.
This milestone sets a precedent for future plastic offsets and exemplifies best practices in plastic waste management. These joint efforts are further proof of how NGOs, corporates and individuals, standard setters and certifiers can work together to provide
transparency and confidence in neutrality claims across the supply chain.
Designed and built with environmental sustainability in mind, 11 Tampines Concourse is a Green Mark GoldPˡᵘˢ building, and a recipient of the Green Mark Pearl Award in 2016. Completed in 2009, the 108,000 sq ft three-storey office building is also the first CarbonNeutral® development in Singapore and Asia Pacific. The building is equipped with green features such as an innovative indoor non-compressor fresh air-cooling system, natural day-lighting systems, photocell sensors, water-efficient fittings, waterless urinals, and use of low VOC paints for internal painting.
Mr Tom Peacock-Nazil, Founder and CEO of Seven Clean Seas, said, “Cleaning the oceans is a goliath undertaking which will require investment and innovation at an unfathomable scale. Today, we are delighted to announce that through the partnership with Seven Clean Seas, CDL has received a first-of-its-kind plastic neutral certification for one of its commercial properties! By pursuing this certification, CDL is actively contributing to cleaning the oceans from Plastic Pollution whilst working towards their own commendable sustainability goals. This achievement demonstrates the breadth of stakeholders that can rally to this cause through partnerships like these and can contribute to turning the tide on ocean plastic pollution.”
Mr Vincent Decap, Founder of Zero Plastic Oceans, said, “Transparency, clear and public definitions and standards are key to developing a plastic footprint offset system that really brings environmental and social benefits and can be trusted by all actors. The OBP Neutrality Subprogram ensures that offsets are traceable, transparent, well defined, and truly additional. Working with a certified project like SCS and having their footprint offset also certified, CDL sets a standard to be followed in its industry in terms of plastic environmental responsibility.”
Mr Seth Wang, General Manager for Control Union, Singapore, said, “We are excited to have certified CDL against the OBP Standard. The audit included the evaluation of places where the OBP was collected and how it was then recycled, an assessment that guarantees traceability and integrity. It also covered fundamental social and environmental requirements like the absence of child labour, the fair treatment of employees and waste pickers, and the respect of international best practices in waste management. As sustainability has become fundamental in businesses worldwide, we are continuously striving to meet the needs of companies in achieving their sustainability goals.”
In the global race to zero, all sectors play a key role in contributing towards a sustainable future and advancing change. As Earth’s biggest life support system, oceans are critical for regulating climate and reducing the impacts of climate change. CDL’s longstanding commitment to driving preservation efforts to ensure strong, long-term protection for the world’s oceans – not just for life below water, but also for life on land.