CFP is ramping up its international rollout. Curious to know what our plans are for Asia Pacific? We talked to Liang Tan, recently appointed regional director in Singapore. Liang has many years of business experience in Asia and will put CFP on the map there. Read about what drives Liang, what he thinks are the biggest sustainability challenges worldwide, and how he sees the year ahead.
A mutual acquaintance of Bram Adema and Liang at a recruitment agency arranged the first meeting. “I was expecting a 20-minute chat, but 90 minutes later we were still eagerly swapping ideas.” Coincidence? Liang doesn’t think so. “I was asked several years ago to collaborate on a start-up whose mission was similar to that of CFP. That company wasn’t ready yet, unlike CFP, which has a solid base to build on.”
Liang believes that the work you do should align with your beliefs. Sustainability has always played an important role in his life. The sense of urgency he feels about contributing to a better world has only been heightened by his nine-year-old son. “If he asks me later, ‘Dad, what did you do to make the world a better place?’, I can say that I worked to save the Earth from a critical situation.”
“My focus is on rolling out the Green Buildings Tool in Asia.” Liang was appointed CFP’s APAC regional director in January 2023 and brings many years of experience in the tech sector to the table. His thorough understanding of different cultures in Asia also comes in handy. “I’ve already helped several companies gain a foothold in APAC. When I started at CFP, I did a comprehensive analysis. Based on my knowledge of the region and my experience there, I was able to pinpoint specific targets and develop a corresponding plan to achieve them.”
“It’s fascinating to see how tangible CFP is managing to make sustainability. Organisations realise they need to become more sustainable, but don’t know where to start. Our Green Buildings Tool shows them how, and that’s invaluable to them.”– Liang Tan, CFP Green Buildings
“First of all, I’m setting my sights on building brand awareness in Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. They are the vanguard of sustainable real estate in Asia and they’re setting an example. We want companies and banks to know about CFP and who we are. We’re getting the word out at events, by being visible online, and through existing partnerships and our office in Singapore.”
“Since the Green Buildings Tool often reaches companies through banks, this will take some time. Major banks have multiple stakeholders; they must get internal parties to agree. Once we have the green light, our team can get started. The banks can then use the Green Buildings Tool to help their customers explain things to their investors.”
“The World Green Building Council has identified APAC as a region with the greatest challenges in sustainable real estate and healthy living environments, in part because of the high level of urbanisation.” The continent is home to 60% of the world’s population, and right now as many as 16 of the world’s 28 megacities – cities with more than 10 million inhabitants – are located in APAC.
“Much can be gained in the APAC region by leveraging the experience and track record that CFP has built since 2005. Carbon credits are being mooted as a means of meeting the Net Zero target for 2050, but it’s obvious that that won’t make a difference.” So far, most of the parties in the APAC region are reporting scope 1 and scope 2 emissions. Scope 3 is much harder to monitor.
“There aren’t many tools that also show you what to do next. In other words, how to reduce your environmental impact and make your real estate more sustainable. We deliver that next step with our Green Buildings Tool, which is based on data and specific investments.”
This is what immediately sets CFP apart from its international competitors. “We start by helping clients properly track all emissions, including scope 3 emissions. But more importantly, we use the data to analyse and offer guidance on how to reduce their emissions.”
“Most people don’t really understand the value of sustainability. If you tell them the world will benefit from it, they ask whether they’ll benefit from it personally. The single biggest challenge we face is to change this mindset.” As Liang sees it, education and awareness play an important role in this context. “We need to make people aware of opportunities to make a positive impact and of the corresponding business case – let them know that it will be good for their own bottom line.”
“That question is a perfect segue. In fact, I feel that awareness of making an impact is very much top-of-mind at CFP. Its aim is to harmonise individual and corporate interests.” Liang notes that CFP’s strategy is well crafted, even though he himself works a long way away in Singapore. Remote working is not an issue for him. “I’ve been working remotely since 2008, so I’m completely used to meeting team members and clients virtually online. My experience allows me to switch easily and adapt to different cultures and practices. That comes in very handy in my job!”
Since his appointment, Liang has immersed himself in the world of sustainable real estate. “It’s fascinating to see how tangible CFP is managing to make the concept of sustainability. Organisations realise they need to become more sustainable, but don’t know how. Showing them with our Green Buildings Tool is invaluable to them.” Studying this world has only served to boost Liang’s excitement. “The more I learn, the more motivated and inspired I am. CFP’s mission is really close to my heart and so I hope to deliver the first wins in APAC by the end of the year.”