Developer exploring opportunities to implement large-scale CSR initiatives
Forest City, a smart and ecological development by Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd (Country Garden) is in full swing. Despite the rapid growth and mega-scale development which invited various reactions from local and overseas, Forest City remained confident in its planning.
Co-developed by Country Garden and Johor government-backed Esplanade Danga 88 Sdn Bhd (EDSB), the developer has implemented several small and medium-sized corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.
CSR activities conducted by Forest City are always guided by three key pillars, namely education and youth development, social development and environmental awareness. After three years of its development, Forest City is determined to be more active and proactive in implementing ecological conservation efforts.
During the development of the Forest City project, Country Garden has taken an interest in the marine ecology surrounding the area. Since 2015, efforts have been taken by the organisation in collaboration with a group of scientists from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) to conserve the seagrass meadows at Tanjung Kupang. After various initiatives, the meadows have shown positive growth and recovery back to its original form.
As of now, Forest City has invited other experts to assist in ecological caring, with UPM being funded and appointed for the past five years to perform seagrass conservation efforts on the Merambong Island.
“We can ensure the ecology of the area is protected by appointing the experts to care for it,” said Forest City brand general manager Zhou Jun, who expressed the willingness of the company to find qualified individuals to safeguard the marine interest.
Currently, the organisation is seeking out more local universities to take part in the conservation effort. Forest City is looking forward to continuing the contract with UPM once the existing one ends in Jan 2020, she said.
Other environmental conservation initiatives planned and carried out by Forest City recently is the beach cleaning activity, from which the owners and staff of the organisation were encouraged to join in the program.
Moving forward, Forest City is planning to hold an academic seminar by leading researchers on the importance of marine ecosystems and species diversity. Also in the plans are the development of a green museum to showcase marine life specimens around Tanjung Kupang and Sungai Pulai, not forgetting the execution and monitoring of conservation activities.
The corporate social responsibility efforts by Forest City does not end there. Surrounding the development are the mangrove swamps which are homes to many species of flora and fauna, an area where the organisation is interested in protecting.
Forest City this year signed a memorandum of understanding with the Malaysian Nature Society on Oct 29. “The management of Forest City believes that efforts to conserve the environment are important and should be carried out with the help of experts in this field.
“With over 70 years of experience, the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) will assist Forest City in conservation, education and information work on environmental awareness and publications. The joint venture is based on a three years’ contract and will be renewed in accordance with the requirements of conservation activities,” said Zhou.
According to Zhou, Forest City is looking forward to receiving knowledge from MNS as well as other experts in assisting the plant ecology around the development. The organisation is also interested to cooperate with other non-government organisations who have strong abilities and professionalism to commit towards the future of environmental protection.
“We do not take environmental protection as a requirement, but as a process of life,” said Zhou.
Set to become a prime model for future cities, Forest City is poised to combine environment, technology and industry integration design concept to establish an ideal and technology-driven living and workspace.
Positioned as a smart and green industrial city, Forest City has plans to develop eight major industries. These include tourism and meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions; healthcare, education and training; regional headquarters; nearshore finance; e-commerce; emerging technology; and green and smart industry.
Besides the external efforts mentioned, Forest City has committed to sustainability through its internal process. “Our industrialised building system plant produces less air and water pollution during the building structure process, and materials are accurately used to reduce waste,” said Zhou. The design of the IBS plant also allows for natural lighting and the inlet of air.
The property management encourages everyone in Forest City to perform garbage sorting, and there are further plans to incorporate foreign waste degradation technologies, making the development a pure and green city.
A sewage treatment plant has also been built to make the development a “sponge city” to absorb rain and wastewater, which is then converted into irrigation water for other purposes. Office practises in the organisation encourages all staff to save energy by setting the air conditioning temperature at 26°C. They are also to reduce lighting usage when no one is in the office.
All these measures are to ensure that sustainable practices become a part of the corporate culture as the company steps up to the plate.