2019 has been a significant year for climate action and sustainability. At the United Nations (UN) Climate Action Summit, UN Secretary General Mr Antonio Guterres pushed for stronger political action to fight climate change, while teenage climate activist Ms Greta Thunberg berated world leaders for inaction. 

For the ComfortDelGro Group, we have deepened our commitment to sustainable development in 2019.  The Board and Management have approved and adopted a sustainability framework that is aligned with 10 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We commit ourselves to various Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) efforts and targets. We see our investments in sustainability as an opportunity to create value and long-term growth for the Company and our Stakeholders. The Board will continue to provide oversight, with the support of Management, to drive our ESG efforts towards building a sustainable enterprise.

Enabling an Energy Efficient Transport System

As a global mobility operator, ComfortDelGro is committed to minimising the environmental impact of our operations. To halve our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission intensity by 2030, the Group has put in-place various plans and initiatives, including the progressive replacement of our diesel taxis with hybrids. To-date, more than 40% of our Singapore taxi fleet is petrol-electric hybrid vehicles. In Melbourne Australia, under a green loan arrangement, we are replacing 50 of our diesel buses with the Volvo Euro 6 hybrid vehicles. In July 2019, Metroline started London’s first all-electric, zero emission Route 43 service. SBS Transit, our public transport operator in Singapore, pro-actively partners the Land Transport Authority to experiment hybrid and fully-electric buses across different routes. In addition, the Group is working to increase the use of renewable energy like solar power, and to improve energy efficiency at our facilities and buildings. In 2019, new solar photovoltaic panels that were installed at the Yio Chu Kang bus interchange, provided 0.3MWp of energy to meet the operating needs of the facility.

Beyond transiting to a greener fleet and cleaner energy, the Group is also working to improve the reliability and efficiency of our public transport services. For 2019, the Mean Kilometres Between Failure (MKBF) of our North East Line and Downtown Line were 1.38 million train-km and 1.14 million train-km respectively. The improved reliability will help in steering commuters towards using public transport that consumes less energy per passenger km compared to private vehicles.

Enhancing the Safety and Well-Being of the Community and Our People

As a responsible mobility operator, road and passenger safety are our priorities. While passenger injuries across our Group had decreased, there were still two road fatalities in 2019. Any fatality is one too many. We will expand and accelerate the implementation of technology solutions like Mobileye and predictive anti-collision system to further improve the road safety of our fleet. This is an area that we will focus on in 2020.

We see a diverse and inclusive work force as our strength. We continued our efforts to improve the representation of women in Board and senior leadership roles. Ms Jessica Cheam, a leading sustainability advocate of climate action, joined the Board in January 2019.

We also continued to invest in our employees and partners such as our cabbies. Working with various agencies, we have introduced programmes such as the Rail Manpower Development Package to train and deepen the competencies of our employees. To equip our cabbies with digital skills, more than 4,000 of them from our taxi business have undergone digital training to use various apps to improve productivity and accept digital payments as at end-2019. Our plan is to expand and roll out the digital training programme to all remaining cabbies by 2020.

In 2019, the Group continued to give back  to  society,  including the poor, the elderly and the sick, donating about S$1.24 million to various charities and welfare organisations. About 440 staff volunteered for charitable activities, clocking   in all 3,616 hours. Our plan is to focus on the area of mobility where we can meaningfully contribute and make a difference. As part of its outreach effort, SBS Transit has partnered I’m Soul Inc., a social enterprise to launch the MAGIC CARES Van community programme to encourage the elderly to be more active through the use of music.

During the year, CabbyCare, our Taxi Business’ cabby volunteer group in Singapore, made over 1,780 free trips to deliver meals and library books to the needy. For its effort in helping persons with disabilities and the needy, the social enterprise arm of the Group, GobblerCo was recently awarded the Certificate of Recognition for businesses at the SG Enable’s 5th Enabling Employers Award. ComfortDelGro was also nominated as one of the finalists for the President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Award - Social Enterprise Champion of the Year.

Engraining a Culture of Innovation and Strong Governance

We continue to foster a culture of innovation and strong governance. We launched the autonomous NUSmart Shuttle trial at the National University of Singapore in July 2019. We also co-organised the 2019 Singapore Mobility Challenge, an open innovation initiative for ideas and technology to benefit commuters and the public transport industry. In this age of disruption, in order to stay relevant, the Group must be bold but nimble to assimilate new ideas, innovate and experiment.

During the year, we are glad that there were no major cyber- security or personal data breaches across the Group. Given the evolving threats and our increasing digital footprint, we must continue to strengthen our capabilities to secure our information infrastructure, systems and databases.

Continuing Our Sustainability Journey

2019 ended on a sobering note as we witnessed the massive bushfires happening in Australia, one of ComfortDelGro’s key markets. As demonstrated by the impact of extreme weather events, climate change is an emerging risk. We can, and we must do more.

The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) is a consortium set up in 2015 to help investors understand climate risk and help companies disclose this information in a clear and consistent way. We have asked the Management to review our targets and plans, and to consider adopting the climate risk reporting framework recommended by the TCFD.

We are glad that our efforts in sustainability has been recognised when ComfortDelGro was selected as one of the five Singapore companies to be included in the 2019 Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) – Asia Pacific. Besides DJSI, Sustainalytics, a leading independent global provider of ESG and corporate research and ratings to investors, also assessed ComfortDelGro as a top fifth percentile transportation company in its 2019 ESG risk rating performance. These recognitions are affirmations that we are on the right path.