CapitaLand’s Green Champions

Because iCare Award winners show their creative sides when caring for the environment

Issue: Mar 2012

Green warriors in CapitaLand, such as Ivy Cheah (centre), are appreciated for suggesting green initiatives in the work place, a true embody of the spirit of Because iCare
Green warriors in CapitaLand, such as Ivy Cheah (centre), are appreciated for suggesting green initiatives in the work place, a true embody of the spirit of Because iCare

As a strong advocate in caring for the environment and conservation, CapitaLand actively pursues leadership in terms of green buildings and environmental awareness. This issue, INSIDE introduces you to some of the Because iCare Award winners who have made a difference in voicing their green ideas to improve operations at work.

Such behaviours are central to the Because iCare (BiC) programme launched by CapitaLand last May to encourage its employees to speak up constructively, listen actively and respond accordingly in an environment of acceptance. Through this initiative, CapitaLand seeks to create an engaging workplace where inspired employees care enough to share ideas freely. The inaugural BiC Awards was presented to
33 employees in November (read Speak Up, Listen and Respond Because iCare) to acknowledge the good work they have done to engage co-workers in a meaningful way in different areas of their work.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

For Ivy Cheah, the Housekeeping Manager at Somerset Bencoolen Singapore, being green plays a big part in her work and life. She is known and appreciated for her eco ideas that have helped to make things better for her colleagues while improving the work environment. For example, thanks to Cheah, all the employees at Somerset Bencoolen Singapore now have food containers given to them by the management to pack food from home for their meals.

“I noticed that most of the staff like to bring home-cooked food for lunch and they used disposable containers to do this. So I suggested to the management to give everyone reusable containers so that they can continue to bring their own food using these recyclable containers,” said Cheah.

On another occasion, she noticed that Room Attendants liked to keep their home-brought food and drinks in plastic bags. So, she suggested that recycled bags be given to all her colleagues as a Mother’s Day gift, a gentle reminder for all to take care of Mother Earth. That is just what Cheah is like – always looking out for ways to protect the environment as well as the welfare of those around her. Those who know her say that she is one who is full of laughter and brightens up the day. When asked why her suggestions for staff gifts were always taken up, Cheah attributed this to her boss who is very supportive of the Go Green @ Ascott campaign and a great team that embraces her ideas.

Coloured bags on the trolleys help the Room Attendants sort trash for recycling as they clean the rooms
Coloured bags on the trolleys help the Room Attendants sort trash for recycling as they clean the rooms

On the operational front, Cheah came up with the idea of providing Room Attendants with three colour-coded recycling bags that are attached to their trolleys to immediately sort out the trash they clear into glass, plastic and metal for recycling. Not only is this green practice time-efficient, it is also a good reminder to employees to always consider recycling in their course of work. Another idea was the recycling of old, discarded shower curtains in the property by sewing them into covers for soiled linen covers.

Not only are these green practices cost- and time-efficient, they also serve as good reminders to employees to constantly consider recycling in their course of work.

Her green ways are so infectious that Somerset Bencoolen Singapore managed to collect 1,400 kilogrammes of recyclable waste for Green for Hope @ CapitaLand and managed to raise S$2,920 for underprivileged children through the support of CapitaLand Hope Foundation, CapitaLand’s philanthropic arm.

Greening the Surrounding

Her warm manner has everyone calling her “Auntie” but Goh Joo Lan (second from left) not only cares for her colleagues but for Mother Earth as well
Her warm manner has everyone calling her “Auntie” but Goh Joo Lan (second from left) not only cares for her colleagues but for Mother Earth as well

They call her Auntie Joo Lan because of her motherly, caring ways. 64-year-old Goh Joo Lan may work as a Tea Lady at CapitaLand Residential Singapore but she treats everyone around her more like family than colleagues. She has been known to brew tonics for those who are unwell and every month, she takes it upon herself to cook for her colleagues for lunch or birthday celebrations.

Her care for those around her extends to the environment as well. In her own small way, she encourages everyone to recycle.

“Sometimes, the vending machine dispenses extra cups. They are unused and clean. So I keep them in the pantry so others can use them. It’s a waste to throw them away. I also salvage baskets from hampers and re-use them. Sometimes, I even give them away to the florist nearby,” said Goh.

She attributes her habit of recycling to a hard life growing up. “When you have been through want, you learn not to waste,” said Goh. In addition, she also does her part in greening the office.

“I help them to take care of their potted plants and flowers. It beautifies the place and keeps everyone happy. I am used to it. I have my own plants at home and I treat the office like my home. Whenever I see something needs to be done, no matter how small, I do it to make things better,” said Goh.

Going on the Paperless Trail

In Beijing, Li Xi , a Team Leader of West-South District Accounts Payable team in the Financial Share Services of CapitaMalls Asia (China), showed her care for company and colleagues through her dedication in working on an automated accounting system that enables a paperless work flow. The new SAP accounting software enhanced efficiency and reduced paperwork, saving time, energy and resources.

Li Xi laboured tirelessly with her team to make the automated accounting system work
Li Xi laboured tirelessly with her team to make the automated accounting system work

But applying it to the normal work process took getting used to. Li, however, was undaunted and not only tested the system meticulously, but also came up with ideas on how to better it. She was quick to spot errors and made it her responsibility to help her colleagues along.

“As an accountant, Excel and the SAP finance system are my work tools. When I first joined the company,my patient bosses taught me how to use them. Because of their influence, I learnt to share what I know (with others). If we all do our part, our team can progress better,” said Li.

Believing in the efficiency of this system and the green cause, Li was so committed to making sure the system worked that she made user manuals of both the SAP accounting system and automatic payment business system for her colleagues to help them understand the accounting procedure and the work processes. At a time when automation means a less paper-dependent work process, Li’s energetic participation in the new system and her selfless attitude in coming to the aid of her colleague speak volumes.

Caring about recycling, caring through greening the work place, and dedication for a paperless, work automation system – in ways big and small, these green warriors have shown they are people who look beyond themselves to care for others, for the organisation, and for Mother Earth.

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