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The value of ESG in Malaysia

In a world where capitalism has been a core drive for economies and businesses, the onset of the pandemic has shown that a step back may be necessary.

This is because Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are becoming increasingly significant in the context of the pandemic. Businesses and organisations are being compelled to reconsider the areas they inhabit to satisfy changing demands. This entails constructing environments that are both secure and durable throughout time. Any development that can do this will provide value to existing space, indirectly preparing them for the new standard.

This is exactly what has been done at The Five.

Before The Five, there was Kompleks Pejabat Damansara (KPD), a cluster of 5 low-rise buildings established in the early 1970s. For many years, it housed HELP University before becoming the home of the United Nations office and other integral businesses. Therefore, the tenants residing in The Five had to be carefully considered as the landscape of Damansara Heights evolved. Instead of redeveloping the entire property, Selangor Properties Sdn Bhd opted to renovate the existing buildings in order to cover the F&B and Service gaps in the Damansara Heights Central Business District (CBD).

To put everything into perspective, the redevelopment has been done substantially following ESG standards. In the way that the existing office building structures were maintained and given a new breath of life. Block A (now The 5th Place) and E were reimagined and remodelled to offer The Five a contemporary facelift and to provide retail spaces. Whereas, the remaining blocks (B, C, and D) were given architectural upgrades but retained their functions as office spaces.

Undoubtedly, conventional developments frequently seek to maximise profit in denser high-rise development that needs the construction of additional high-rise structures. Although this makes sense from the monetary perspective, it overlooks the requirements for ESG-compliant maintenance and rehabilitation of existing structures.

Therefore, as more and more advancements take place, ESG will eventually become increasingly relevant. With that, ESG sustainability is the hallmark and is undeniably more viable and beneficial in the long term, not just to the environment but also to society. This is true because it compels us to reassess the notion that “new is better”.

In reality, ESG in property development challenges the community to envision real estate as something that can be modified without uprooting its foundations. Not only that, but it is a great indicator of the ability to transform underutilised spaces into a place where more of the community can come together into a reimagined destination. With careful planning, the value of existing structures can be enhanced and new opportunities for society can be created.

Taking these factors into account, ESG principles should be given greater prominence in Malaysia, not only because of the macro-impacts but also on the micro-scale, where society as a whole would benefit. After being moved from its previous fit, The Five has become an appealing site for businesses searching for a new style of work atmosphere that offers a distinctively creative, relaxing, and convenient setting.

Watch as Knight Frank Malaysia’s Sarky Subramaniam speaks about the ESG values used/seen at The Five:

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