GREEN SERIES - Towards greener pasture - Part 2

CONTINUING from last week's article on the interview with the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry (KeTTHA) Secretary-General Datuk Seri Dr Zaini Ujang on Malaysia's journey towards achieving its green pledges and becoming a green player instead of a green consumer.

Zero in on green

Briefly, the Green Technology Master Plan (GTMP) focuses on six sectors – energy, manufacturing, transport, waste, water and building. While these areas of concern will be monitored, just as important are the people, those working to succeed the plan and those who play a significant role in determining the success of the plan – the rakyat.

"The government can come up with many frameworks, policies and schemes, but we cannot succeed on our own. We cannot continuously be giving out subsidies and incentives either. The people must be aware, mindsets must be aligned, changed if need to; we all need to be working towards achieving the same goal for the betterment of all. After all, receiving high income nation status will benefit everyone as it is the nation which makes the country," Zaini expounds.

With that, the KeTTHA secretary-general urges the public to learn of the GTMP and understand its fundamentals. "It is not just important to adopt green technology (GT), it is vital in moving forward," Zaini says.

He then relates the importance of greener living by citing what Prophet Muhammad said: "In the Muslim context, those of this faith should remember what the prophet said; that if someone was going to die, they should go plant a tree. He did not ask them to donate all their money to charity or to pray incessantly, but simply plant a tree.

"It is a great virtue to plant a tree. If you look after a tree you will receive the fruits of your labour," Zaini shares.

While "going green" and planting trees are part and parcel of the big green plan, there are many ways the people can make changes to their current lifestyles and adopt more green choices and sustainable practices. Zaini, an avid cyclist, recommends cycling. "You could say I cycle almost daily. It keeps me trim and I am not contributing to green house gasses while at it."

Sea of green

In order to attain the goals set in the GTMP, the people are urged to inculcate greener methods of working throughout the six sectors being monitored.

For those who need direction, awareness programmes on "greener lifestyles" have been on-going since Malaysia first took it upon itself to reduce its carbon footprint.

From website and online portals, roadshows, advertisements, flyers, articles and announcements on social media; including the International Greentech & Eco Products Exhibition & Conference Malaysia (Igem) 2017, which recently came to a close and has been running for eight consecutive years; plus programmes and workshops by NGOs and green agencies; there is no excuse for the man on the street to be illiterate on the subject. (Google YaHijau Malaysia, established to promote and educate students and communities on GT.) Moreover, there is the comprehensive GTMP text, a publication by KeTTHA, available on its website.

Over the next five years, the government will be focusing on driving the adoption of GT while shifting its economic development plans towards green growth. These will be expedited via: government green procurement; green financing; green incentives; green cities; and international collaborations. As this section focuses on property, we will discuss Green Cities and GT issues that relate to property development and aim to protect the ecosystem.

"In promoting the development of green cities, the government intends to promote sustainable developments and green practices among players in this industry. By using lower carbon emissions in its working processes, this can improve the quality of life for the community," Zaini adds.

Headed towards greener days

KeTTHA and Malaysia Green Technology Corporation (MGTC) launched the Low Carbon Cities Framework and Assessment System (LCCF) in 2011 to help local municipalities and developers achieve low carbon city status. It identifies potential target areas to reduce carbon emission via systemic analysis and review with periodic assessment on carbon emission via a carbon calculator. Green Cities will be established on this "design".

By and large, GT aims to boost the national economy. With green targets met and adopted across the five sectors, by 2020, GT is estimated to contribute about RM22.4 billion (1.2% of national GDP). Green investments and green jobs are estimated at around RM36 billion (creating 144,590 jobs). Towards 2030, GT is expected to contribute nearly three times as much.

The building sector is projected to be the third fastest growing sector contributing at least RM11.8 billion to GDP. This industry is estimated to increase CAGR (compound annual growth rate) by 16%, attracting some RM13.8 billion in cumulative investments. The sector is expected to be driven by:

>> growth in new and existing private green buildings;

>> export-oriented businesses for green building materials;

>> energy-efficient building systems through heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and solar hot water systems, etc.

>> Industrialised Building Systems and green building construction; and

>> stronger local demand growth via full enforcement of Uniform Building By-Laws on energy efficient building systems.

Decoupling carbon emission from the nation's economic growth has the added benefit in ensuring that Malaysia remains competitive as an investment destination while keeping in pace with other green player economies. Looking ahead, the GTMP paves the way for Malaysia's Transformasi National 2050 (TN50), which will position Malaysia among leading global economies.

"Together, the people and the government can create a greener and more sustainable Malaysia for future generations. But lifestyles must first change; mere planning and policies can't," Zaini asserts. Hence, the rakyat are urged to implement green practices and adopt sustainable lifestyle habits for the GTMP goals to be met and benefit the nation.

Follow our section over the next few weeks on green concerns across the property development industry.