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Go Green @ Ascott - A New Global Sustainability Drive

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Ascott has embarked on a global sustainability drive, “Go Green @ Ascott”.

 The company has implemented, and will continue to roll out, sustainable initiatives across its offices and properties worldwide, and targets to achieve 15% savings in water and energy consumption by 2015, using 2008 as the base year.

 In 2011, Ascott consumed 9% less water and energy than in 2008. The 225,000 cubic metres of water saved can fill over 90 Olympic-sized swimming pools, while the 18,000 megawatt hours of energy saved can power some 3,500 average Singapore households for a year.

Mr Tony Soh, Ascott’s Chief Corporate Officer and Chairman of Ascott’s Green Committee which oversees the company’s global sustainability efforts, said, “Climate change is a real issue that is affecting how we live, work and play. As the world’s leading international serviced residence owner-operator, Ascott can make a significant positive impact on the environment, across the 21 countries and more than 70 cities where we operate. Hence, we are taking proactive and meaningful steps to transform our business practices and promote sustainability among our staff, residents and business partners. Ascott is committed to do its part in the global sustainability effort, as it is the right thing to do, to help safeguard our planet for future generations.”

Ascott will focus on five areas to realise its green vision:

 Green Buildings: Ascott will incorporate green elements into all new properties to be built or renovated to create sustainable residences that are both comfortable and resource and energy efficient. This includes the use of sustainable building materials, or products that are locally sourced, more energy efficient and more durable, which consequently have less impact on the environment.

An example of an Ascott serviced residence with sustainable features is Citadines Mount Sophia Singapore. The property features sky gardens and naturally ventilated corridors which lessen the need for air-conditioning.

Apartments are also designed to allow abundant daylight, thus reducing the dependency on electrical lighting. Ascott aims to attain green certifications from established green building rating systems for all new and renovated properties.

 Environment, Health and Safety: Ascott has put in place comprehensive environment, health and safety procedures across its serviced residences. To date, its properties in nine countries – Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the United Kingdom and Vietnam – have received international certifications on environmental management (ISO 14001) and occupational health and safety management system (OHSAS 18001). Ascott targets to achieve international certifications for its environment, health and safety management system in all properties it owns worldwide by the end of 2012. Major contractors engaged by Ascott are already required to be certified to these international standards.

Green Products: Ascott has established procurement guidelines to increase the use of green products at its serviced residences. For instance, Ascott has introduced energy-saving light bulbs, solar water heaters, sensor lighting, biodegradable laundry bags and bathroom amenities with innovative and recyclable packaging to reduce wastage. At Somerset JieFangBei Chongqing, Ascott replaced 800 11-volt lamps with four-volt lamps in public areas. This translates to savings of over 3,500 kilowatt hours per month, which can power up to 25 average-sized refrigerators in a month. Ascott has also adopted the use of Forest Stewardship Council or recycled paper where possible for the printing of office documents, marketing collateral and stationery.

Water, Energy, Paper and Waste Reduction: Ascott has implemented green practices to promote the conservation of water, energy and paper as well as to reduce waste. Since 2009, Ascott’s serviced residence directory is available for download on its website which reduced the number of print copies and saved over 8,000 kg of paper every year. Other examples of sustainability initiatives at Ascott’s properties include offering long-stay residents the option not to have daily housekeeping, the installation of water-saving devices in toilet cisterns, the use of recycling bins and providing reusable eco-bags or shopping trolleys which reduce the use of disposable grocery bags. Ascott also recycled and distributed over 40 tonnes of furniture to charitable organisations and groups in need in the United Kingdom following the refurbishment of Citadines Prestige Trafalgar Square London.

Stakeholder Engagement: An Ascott Earth Day is held every first Friday of the month at Ascott’s offices and properties worldwide. On this day, staff and residents are encouraged to dress down while the temperature of air-conditioning units at the offices and properties are turned up by 1 degree Celsius to conserve energy by around 10%. Similarly, staff and residents in temperate countries are encouraged to wear warmer clothing as the heater temperature is reduced. Ascott’s offices and properties will also switch off beacon signage lights and other non-essential lightings for 10 hours from 8pm. In Vietnam, staff from Somerset Chancellor Court Ho Chi Minh City and Somerset Ho Chi Minh City travelled over 250 kilometres to the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang to grow two hectares of mangrove forest which had been destroyed by storms. In Manila, Ascott Makati offers a Green Meetings Package providing recyclable notebooks and white boards instead of flip charts as well as personalised water goblets in place of paper cups. In addition, Ascott Makati provides residents an eco-menu that requires less cooking and, therefore, less energy consumption.

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