FILRT CEO: The future of offices hinged on sustainability
The Philippines’ IT-BPM sector is on the fast lane towards recovery. The IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) announced that the industry’s 2021 showing surpassed 2021 and 2022 targets with revenues coming in at $29.49 billion for 2021 indicating a 10.6% year-on-year revenue growth. Filinvest REIT (FILRT) President and CEO Maricel Brion-Lirio shared the same optimism during the Go-Tech Summit hosted by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“Our high occupancy rate is a clear demonstration of FILRT’s strong support for the IT-BPM industry. Indeed, the BPO sector remains to be the top demand driver for office space in the country, and for FILRT, in particular, the BPO sector comprises 91% of our tenant mix or equivalent to 240,998 sq.m. of space in our Grade A, sustainable office buildings portfolio,” shared Ms. Brion-Lirio.
FILRT boasts of a portfolio that consists of 17 Grade A (highest quality) and LEED Gold-certified office buildings, which include green and sustainability-themed features. Of these, 16 are in Northgate Cyberzone in Filinvest City in Alabang, a PEZA Special Economic Zone and IT park, and the first central business district (CBD) in the Philippines to receive LEED® v4 Gold for Neighborhood Development Plan certification for its township-wide green and sustainability features, as well as the first CBD to receive Berde certification. Two of the properties in its portfolio namely Axis Tower One and Vector Three are among the country’s few LEED Gold-certified developments. Rounding up the portfolio is Filinvest Cyberzone Cebu, a 1.2-hectare joint commercial development of FILRT with the Cebu Provincial Government, represented by the honorable Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, under a 30-year “build-transfer-operate” arrangement.
Office buildings inside Northgate Cyberzone are cooled by the country’s largest district cooling system that reduces carbon emissions and energy consumption, the result of Filinvest’s partnership with Engie, a world leader in developing sustainable technology solutions. All FILRT properties have bicycle parking facilities to help reduce the use of motorized vehicles and encourage greener modes of transport. Electric jeepneys ply the streets of the neighborhood to offer low-carbon transport for the commuting public.
“Our energy management approach revolves around the two key focus areas of energy efficiency and using renewable energy whenever economically feasible. We are exploring how we can attain 100% renewables for our tenants. To date, 6 out of 17 properties getting 100% renewable energy from a retail electricity supplier, and we are in discussions on how the supply can be increased to serve more buildings in the next 2 to 3 years. Needless to say, we aim to replicate these measures in all FILRT office developments moving forward as these sustainability features are sought after by multinational BPOs and ROHQ companies,” shared Ms. Brion-Lirio on FILRT’s sustainability initiatives.
According to Colliers, more companies in the Philippines are now looking for sustainable and healthy work environments that will provide confidence for their employees to return to workplaces, an important consideration in a post-COVID-19 world.
“We are proud to say that FILRT was the first sustainability-themed REIT listed on the bourse. We strongly believe that the future of the offices sector lies on sustainability. This is why the Filinvest group is committed to creating green and sustainable developments. FILRT’s growth strategy is largely anchored on having a pipeline of green, high-value assets that attract tenants who share Filinvest’s journey towards a future in real estate where environmental sustainability is embedded in the design of spaces and daily operations,” added Ms. Brion-Lirio.
Learn more about investing in or leasing spaces with FILRT by visiting the Filinvest REIT official website www.filinvestreit.com and official social media platforms www.facebook.com/filinvestreitcorp and www.linkedin.com/company/filinvestreit.