With a total of eight Green Mark Gold Awards and one Platinum Green Mark Award in Frasers Centrepoint Singapore’s growing portfolio of BCA Green Mark certified commercial buildings, Alison Wong, General Manager (Commercial Properties), attributes these milestone achievements to the passion and hard work of her team.
Alison (4th from left) and her team getting creative at the Eco Workshop organised during Frasers Environment Month this March.
Besides the Green Mark awards, the team has also attained other awards such as the Green Mark Interior awards, Eco-Office awards from the Singapore Environment Council, ISO 50001 (Energy Management Systems Standard), PUB Water Efficiency Building (WEB) awards as well as Occupational Health & Safety Awards such as OHSAS 18001 & SS506 (Part 1) and bizSAFE Star of the Occupational Health & Safety Awards.
In fact, her team, with support from the FCL Sustainability Working Committee, has just rolled out the inaugural “Frasers Environment Month” in March. They successfully planned and organised a comprehensive series of inspiring programs to cultivate a greener mindset, and spearheaded the drive to create thriving, safer and healthier spaces for our communities.
Find out how teamwork and determination can truly result in positive changes in a company’s culture.
How did our Frasers Green Journey begin?
When I took over the management of office and industrial properties in July 2010, sustainability was not a high priority item yet and none of our buildings had Green Mark certification.
So, my team set out with the challenging task to certify our office and industrial buildings. That meant improving the way we operate and transforming our buildings to align with international standards of sustainability.
We celebrated our first success when we received the Green Mark Gold Award for Alexandra Point in March 2011. After our first “win”, we had a better understanding of how to “Green Mark” our buildings and decided to work on Alexandra Technopark next and attained the Green Mark Gold Award for it in September 2011.
Alexandra Point offices on levels 15, 16 and 21 were awarded the Green Mark Office Interior GoldPLUS Award 2017 to 2021.
It was quite a remarkable achievement. Despite the fact that Alexandra Technopark uses “water-cooled package units” which is not a central air-conditioning system under the Green Mark certification criteria, we were one of the few buildings with this system to be granted a Green Mark certification.
After that, we successfully bagged Green Mark Gold awards for the rest of our commercial properties and eventually the Green Mark Platinum Award for Alexandra Point during a re-certification exercise in 2014!
Today, we have achieved eight Green Mark Gold Awards and one Green Mark Platinum Award for our commercial buildings. This was no small feat especially because the Green Mark Award is renewed once every three years. This means a continual effort to upgrade our buildings to improved sustainability standards.
I am also very proud that Alexandra Point has been ranked by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) as one of the top ten energy efficient buildings in Singapore, for two years (2015 & 2016) running now.
Why is getting certified and being environmentally friendly so important?
We do not drive these initiatives because the awards are prestigious; we do this because it increases savings on our operational costs, reduces environmental footprint, ensures good air quality while improving the well-being of occupants in our buildings!
Companies are also becoming more conscious about sustainability. For instance, one of the first questions potential tenants ask us is if our buildings are Green Mark-certified. So even more than ever, we are working hard to ensure that green spaces are not just limited to common areas of our properties, but also in the way we operate within the offices. This might mean, for example, making use of recycled materials and certified products under the Singapore Green Labelling Scheme (SGLS) for interior fittings. One case in point is our recent Green Mark Interior Award (Gold Plus) achievement, for the 15th, 16th and 21st storeys in Alexandra Point.
On top of Green Mark certifications, we always want to achieve internationally recognised standards of sustainability and continue to improve. Thus, we went on to achieve the Eco-Office certifications, PUB Water Efficient Building (WEB) awards as well as the ISO 50001, a world-recognised framework for organisations to manage their energy consumption and improve their efficiency.
Is Frasers Tower also designed with “Green” in mind?
Our upcoming commercial project, Frasers Tower, exemplifies the kind of buildings we have envisioned for the future. Certified with the Green Mark Platinum standard for its various energy and water efficiency features, it will also have end-of-trip bike parking, lockers and even shower facilities.
Best of all, Frasers Tower actually features a park of its own, three levels of gardens and a communal breakout space called The Terrace which features foosball tables and resting pods!
These unique spaces are all part of our efforts to encourage tenants to socialise and work in a flexible manner, all within Frasers Tower. There will also be plenty of organised wellness activities such as yoga, tenant mixers and networking sessions, which inspire a truly balanced “work, live, play” lifestyle.
Artist’s Impression. The Oasis at Frasers Tower is a three-storey podium with a roof garden and houses exciting F&B concepts within lush planting and cooling water features.
Tell us more about Frasers Environment Month?
This is actually the first time our company embarked on Frasers Environment Month which was held in conjunction with global events such as Earth Hour and World Water Day in March.
The main purpose of Frasers Environment Month is to inspire our staff, tenants and customers to come on board our journey to create greener and healthier spaces. It also raises awareness among our community that there are a whole lot of things to be done for environment sustainability, to improve our environmental footprint and the health of our buildings.
We are excited to say that this will be an annual affair for our company from now on and we have been working closely with other business units under the Frasers Centrepoint Limited group, including Frasers Hospitality and Frasers Property Australia. In fact, the entire month of March will now be dedicated to sustainable efforts. For example, this year, we coordinated various programmes such as Eco workshops, tenant and staff engagement talks together with Singapore Green Building Council, and visits to the water reclamation NEWater plant.
An organised staff tour at the PUB NEWater Plant helped raise awareness about Singapore’s water sources.
We also worked with our retail and commercial properties to turn off all their non-essential lighting during Earth Hour, and even mobilised our staff for a beach clean-up!
A two-hour beach clean-up mission at East Coast Park with more than 30 staff volunteers.
Aside from implementing a list of activities to create awareness, we also shared weekly tips to remind staff to conserve water, energy and other precious resources.
With this concentrated effort, we hope to inspire a greener culture within our community, especially in our staff, such that they continue on their own green journeys, even in their personal lives and homes.
Apart from driving environmentally friendly practices, what other initiatives are you looking at?
Aside from our constant drive to improve sustainability within our buildings, we also want to ensure they promote the health and safety of occupants.
Beyond the Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs), we believe that it was necessary to match the safety standards of all our procedures to international standards. That is why we underwent a comprehensive two-year process to certify our workplace safety measures under the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS), before finally obtaining it in 2014.
What this entails is setting up risk assessments for every task carried out by our staff, right down to our contractors. They are briefed and trained on all safety measures – from training them on what personal protective equipment to wear including safety harnesses and belts, to how to identify potential risks and eliminate hazards.
All of these efforts culminated with the bizSAFE Enterprise Level Star Award which is the highest accolade given out by Workplace Safety and Health Council in the Ministry of Manpower. These were awarded to all our commercial properties.
How do these initiatives help your position as a landlord and how does it foster relationships with tenants and staff?
Achieving all these certifications is definitely a team effort. We would not have accomplished them if the team did not have the drive, passion and foresight to create the kinds of buildings that cater to the evolving needs of the environment and the workforce.
As water and oil prices are on the rise, our background work of creating more sustainable buildings have been prepped years in advance. This makes us well poised to take on these challenges. If we only started to look for cost and energy saving measures now, it would be too late.
We also shape our strategy around what would be most beneficial for our tenants, and this includes factors like staff welfare as well as the health of our buildings. That is why we constantly seek new ways to foster an environment where tenants are inspired to live a healthier lifestyle.
How has your team worked together to achieve these certifications?
It is really a team effort. And it is also a real passion for all of us.
Today, all our commercial properties have been Green Mark certified. All these achievements have been made possible by a group of people who truly believe going green is the right way to operate. And, that there’s always something more to be done for the environment.
It is interesting to see everything falling into place and that we have achieved what we had set out to do.
I am thankful to be backed by such a reliable and committed team with everyone coming together from various centres and technical fields, working concurrently to achieve our vision.
What is your philosophy for nurturing a successful team?
I always tell my team to be themselves at their best and make every day count!
Come to work every day with the mindset that you can make an impact and a real difference.
I really believe that our staff on the ground are the best people to improve our processes, whether it is in finding better resources or better methods to solve a problem. Each one of us, especially those on the ground, can and should always keep a lookout for ways to improve our operational standards and identify potential risks or dangers. And ultimately, to take pride in what we can all achieve together, as a team.
It is also in our culture to be innovative. To constantly find new ways to do things smarter, better, safer and more efficiently. Because of this, I would encourage my team to always think creatively and explore more innovative approaches to improve the way they work.
Constantly upgrading themselves through workshops and courses is also something I strongly encourage. I believe in empowering and training them so that they can be well-equipped and tap into their true potential.
Nothing makes me happier than to help my team become the best that they can be.