BEST CR Initiatives: Below RM10 Bil Market Capitalisation (Joint Winner): Gamuda Bhd - Clear measurements demonstrate weight of sustainability goals

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on December 27, 2021 - January 09, 2022.
BEST CR Initiatives: Below RM10 Bil Market Capitalisation (Joint Winner): Gamuda Bhd - Clear measurements demonstrate weight of sustainability goals
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Gamuda Bhd is among only 12 The Edge Billion Ringgit Club (BRC) members that have not only won corporate awards but also been recognised for their corporate responsibility (CR) efforts. This is the second time the company has won a BRC CR award, the first time being in 2016.

Stakeholders reading sustainability-related pages appended in its annual report will see not only Gamuda’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) journey mapped out over two decades as well as the environmental, economic and social impact the group has had, but also its key strategic priorities in each area. That is a good sign, as what gets measured matters and gets managed.

Among other things, Gamuda aims to achieve a 40% reduction in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions by 2030 as well as cut its Scopes 1 and 2 emissions intensity by 30% and 45% by 2025 and 2030, respectively, across its construction and general operations.

According to its recently released 2021 annual report, the group had also planted 302,081 trees, or about 30% of the one million saplings that it aims to plant and nurture by 2023. More than 334,333 cu m of water had also been recycled across Gamuda Land’s construction sites.

At its Gamuda Gardens sales gallery, for example, the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels saves 250,00kWH of energy and RM90,000 a year. Stakeholders interested in economic impact would probably note sizeable savings from sustainable e-procurement processes.

Gamuda also aims to scale up its community investment and people development efforts via Yayasan Gamuda, established in 2016 to put into action the group’s commitment to making a continued positive impact on society.

Every year, the home-grown construction outfit allocates about 2% of its annual profits to Yayasan Gamuda.

“Gamuda strongly believes in contributing back to build the community that made us, and Yayasan Gamuda is our way to institutionalise the efforts to reinvest the profits earned in areas that will bring about a significant social and economic difference in the places we do business,” the company says on its website.

Gamuda also set up an Enabling Academy to empower young adults on the autism spectrum to be gainfully employed as well as to raise awareness and enlarge the network of partner corporates to provide administrative or professional jobs to individuals with high-functioning autism. Since its inception in 2016, the Enabling Academy has trained 66 candidates, of which 80% have secured and sustained jobs. Gamuda remains among the earliest, if not the earliest, corporations to operate such an employment transition programme in Malaysia.

To further extend the impact of this programme, the company made its training resources and materials available in the public domain without charge.

“The sharing of the intellectual property is intended to help develop more trainers and teachers in this niche field in Malaysia,” it says in its 2021 annual report.

Gamuda also offers young Malaysians scholarships to pursue a university education and sustainably contribute to community development.

Since its inception in 1996, Gamuda Scholarship has awarded 471 scholarships — providing hundreds of deserving young adults with the opportunity to pursue tertiary education and, subsequently, go on to successful careers in a wide range of professional fields. In FY2021, Gamuda awarded 27 scholarships, of which 24 were local and three were international, with a cumulative value of RM3.9 million.

“We have doubled the scholarship quantum offered for the year, with plans to increase the allocation for overseas studies and place greater emphasis on students from low-income families,” it says.

In the past, scholarships were typically offered to those pursuing courses in engineering, quantity surveying, development and urban planning, property and real estate management, and architecture. Starting this financial year, applications have been extended beyond engineering-related courses to include environmental science, safety and health, landscape architecture, biodiversity management and horticulture.

When it comes to its own talent pool, Gamuda not only emphasises training but also commits to respecting and championing human rights. Having complied with the Malaysian Employment Act 1955 and all other relevant local laws and regulations, the group is currently drafting its own human rights and modern slavery policy to integrate respect for human rights into its operations.