One of the more positive impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has left on our lives is the way it has brought to the forefront the importance of health and sustainability.
According to the Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey published by multinational professional services firm PwC last year, half (50%) of global consumers say that they have become more eco-friendly in the past six months, with Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern consumers leading the way.
The Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey focuses on consumer purchasing habits and behaviors, and shows how consumers have increasingly adapted to be more eco-conscious and digital in the last six months. The Philippines ranks second in this, with 74% of consumers making the change, behind Indonesia’s 86%.
The private sector has had a hand in leading these behavioral trends, as with the case of Filinvest Land, Inc. (FLI). Its Chief Executive Officer Josephine Gotianun Yap shared that long before it was a byword, the company has been putting environmental concerns ahead.
“Our property sustainability program is built on two important themes. First is inclusivity — bringing quality housing to as many segments of our society — as exemplified by the history of our beginnings. Second is our commitment to help protect and enrich the environment,” Ms. Gotianun Yap said while addressing the real estate industry during the recently concluded Philippine Property Awards 2022 by PropertyGuru Philippines. She was recognized as the Real Estate Personality of the Year during the event, making her the first woman to receive the award.
“Our property sustainability program is built on two important themes. First is inclusivity — bringing quality housing to as many segments of our society — as exemplified by the history of our beginnings. Second is our commitment to help protect and enrich the environment.”
She added that FLI will continue to pursue its green development thrusts as one of its long-term strategies in leading the way towards inclusivity.
This is made more significant with the fact that buildings and real estate development have an outsized effect on the environment. A study produced by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, which evaluated the impact of North American buildings and their contribution to climate change, found that commercial and residential buildings in Canada and the United States are responsible for 20% and 40% of their primary energy consumption, respectively.
Construction and insulation of environmentally-sound buildings, which include using wood, can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of buildings. The United States Green Building Council estimates that green building, on average, currently reduces energy use by 30%, cutting carbon emission by 35%, and generates cost savings of 50% to 90%.
Recalling the origins of FLI, Ms. Gotianun Yap said that sustainability and inclusivity has always been part of the fundamentals that the company was built on. “The entry of Filinvest into property development over 50 years ago came from my parents, Andrew and Mercedes Gotianun’s desire to bring gated and secured communities to the middle class in the 70s when only the upper echelon of society enjoyed that lifestyle. In the 90s, FLI introduced our slogan ‘We build the Filipino dream’ when we brought affordable housing to the mass market,” she said.
Today, FLI proves its commitment to creating green and sustainable developments across its residential brands namely the smart-value Futura by Filinvest, the middle-income Aspire by Filinvest, and the high-end Prestige by Filinvest. The developer carries on with offering a healthy home for Filipinos from different walks of life evidenced by its growing portfolio of over 280 ongoing projects in over 50 key areas nationwide.
Filinvest City, a 244-hectare integrated and mixed-use township of its namesake, also illustrates how the real estate developer is walking the talk. Filinvest City is the first and only central business district in the country to receive a 3-star BERDE rating from the Philippine Green Building Council. BERDE’s core framework takes into account a district’s management, use of land and ecology, energy, water, waste management, transportation, health and well-being, and community engagement — to which BERDE awarded Filinvest City with an ‘exemplary performance’ evaluation.
Filinvest City is also the first and only central business district in the country to receive the LEEDv4 Gold for Neighborhood Plan certification. This makes Filinvest City the largest central business district to gain this recognition in Southeast Asia. The US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED is one of the world’s most credible and recognizable green building certification programs.
Filinvest REIT or FILRT, the first sustainability-themed REIT to be listed on the bourse, follows suit. Majority of FILRT’s office buildings are located in Northgate Cyberzone, an IT-BPO campus-style hub serviced by the largest district cooling plant in the country. The plant, built through the partnership between Filinvest Land and global sustainable energy company ENGIE, helps reduce power consumption by up to 40% and water consumption, greenhouse gas, and carbon emissions by up to 20%.
“Our property sustainability program paved the way for Filinvest to become one of the most trusted property developers today. We at Filinvest share one vision — to embrace green living as the better normal. We strive to constantly evolve and innovate to stay attuned to the needs and lifestyles of the markets we serve. At the heart of each endeavor is the burning passion to create sustainable, future-forward developments that enhance lives and open up opportunities for our countrymen,” said Ms. Gotianun Yap. — Bjorn Biel M. Beltran
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