Robinsons Land’s RL Commercial REIT (RCR) Named EDGE Champion for Sustainability

RCR’s sustainable efforts highlight Stewardship, one of the Gokongwei Group’s core values

Cementing its stature as a true advocate for sustainability, RL Commercial REIT (RCR), the real estate investment trust company of Robinsons Land, was recognized as an EDGE Champion during the EDGE Champions Summit Asia 2023, held on June 6, 2023, in Singapore.

Robinsons Offices, which manages RCR’s office portfolio, received the honor as its property holdings now include more than 200,000 square meters of EDGE-certified building space. RCR thus becomes the first office REIT company in the Philippines to obtain the prestigious EDGE Champion status.

EDGE, or Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies, is an internationally recognized green building certification system created by the International Finance Corp. (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group. EDGE focuses purely on energy, water, and embodied energy in materials, defined as the calculation of all the energy used to produce the materials that make up a building, for a measurable approach to sustainability.

Jean-Marc Arbogast, IFC Philippines Country Manager, said, “RL Commercial REIT’s EDGE Champion status underlines Robinsons Land and the Gokongwei Group’s commitment to sustainability. Increasingly, property investors are paying attention to real estate assets that operate efficiently to maximize shareholder value, while minimizing the impact to the environment. IFC remains committed in working with industry leaders such as RL Commercial REIT in expanding its green building portfolio, which will be crucial in helping the Philippines achieve its climate goals.”

Robinsons Offices’ EDGE-certified Gross Floor Area of 213,158.06 square meters – which is even larger than New York’s Grand Central Station’s 48 acres or 194,249 square meters – comes by way of five properties: Robinsons Cyberscape Alpha, Robinsons Cyber Omega, Robinsons Cyberscape Beta, Robinsons Cyberscape Gamma, and Robinsons Cybergate Galleria Cebu.

Together, these properties have achieved energy savings of 12,942.13 MWh, enough to power 4,069 Philippine households annually. (Based on the Department of Energy’s data, the average residential electricity consumption in the Philippines in 2020 was approximately 265 kWh per month or 3.18 MWh per year.) The five buildings also achieved water savings of 181,977.98 cubic meters, which is equivalent to the annual clean drinking water requirements of approximately half of the Philippines’ population or about 49 million people. In terms of embodied energy savings, the company’s EDGE-certified buildings saved 232,802.07 GJ (gigajoules), which is equivalent to the energy produced by 6,052,854 liters of gasoline, enough to fill up around 135,000 cars.

Remarking on the company’s achievement, Jericho P. Go, concurrently the Senior Vice President of Robinsons Land, General Manager of Robinsons Offices, and President and CEO of RL Commercial REIT, shared, “Robinsons Offices, in keeping with one of our core values in the Gokongwei Group, promotes the value of stewardship. When we care for our environment through the wise use of resources, we are able to bestow upon future generations a brighter and better tomorrow.” He added, “Our hope and aspiration is that we are able to create awareness in the need to practice sustainable activities that reduce water and electric consumption, among others.”

One of the leading lessors for Business Process Outsourcing companies in the Philippines, Robinsons Offices takes great pride in being able to contribute toward the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, as the company provides suitable locations where businesses can operate and grow, which leads to job creation and increased economic activity in the areas where it is located.

In line with the aspirations of its parent company, Robinsons Land Corporation, to achieve Net-Zero carbon emissions by 2050, Robinsons Offices is also committed to reducing its carbon footprint as it has embarked on certifying more of its existing portfolio, which is an integral mission in the company’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives.

At present, green buildings make up 47% of Robinsons Offices’ portfolio. Complementing its EDGE-certified properties, Robinsons Offices also has several LEED-certified buildings in its lineup: Tera Tower, the Exxa–Zeta Towers, and Giga Tower, all within the RLC-developed Bridgetowne Destination Estate. Being green-certified, whether from EDGE or LEED, enhances both the value and desirability of a property, as there is a rising demand for sustainable office spaces from companies who are conscious of their ESG responsibilities on society.

Apart from its commitment towards more green office building developments for the future, sustainability efforts from RCR and Robinsons Offices also trickle down to the operational level through an effective solid waste management program and by encouraging responsible practices among building tenants and employees.

RCR and Robinsons Offices’ buildings diligently segregate waste from their locators, tenants, and building personnel. Moving beyond the outdated "Dry" and "Wet" classification, the company now categorizes waste into several types – items for disposal, recyclables for treatment and recycling, biodegradables for composting, and clean plastics for repurposing. Doing so enables them to transport waste to suitable collecting entities and successfully divert waste from landfills.

Complementing these efforts are the various properties’ Materials Recovery Facilities. These include compartments for various items which can be recycled, such as mixed paper, cardboard, glass, plastics, and metals, as well as batteries and other electronic waste, which contribute toward overall waste reduction.

To raise awareness, RCR and Robinsons Offices communicate to stakeholders that every effort counts. “Our goal in promoting awareness about sustainability is to encourage others to follow and to be champions of the environment as well. The more people and companies talk and practice sustainability the greater the gains will be in saving our planet,” said Go.

As the country’s real estate landscape transitions to the better normal, competition among developers is also bound to heat up—and that’s actually a good thing. Go concludes, “Because of the inherent nature of companies wanting to outperform each other, we trust that this sets a good precedent for fellow developers to follow suit, all for the care of the environment. Because when they do, the world, all its inhabitants, and future generations stand to truly benefit.”

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