Reatimes has an interview with Phuc Khang 's Green chief executive Luu Thi Thanh Mau on her experience and human philosophy in the business when choosing a completely different path in the market.
A pioneer in green living
Reporter: We would like to congratulate Phuc Khang Corporation and Diamond Lotus Riverside on being voted in the Top 5 green building projects in 2020. Being the first real estate company in Vietnam pursuing the goal of developing a green project chain and gradually harvested fruitful results. How are you feeling now?
Green CEO Luu Thi Thanh Mau: I am very honored and proud that Diamond Lotus Riverside is honored as the best green building project in 2020, at the Leading Real Estate Brand Honoring Ceremony 2020 - 2021 organized by Vietnam Real Estate Association (VNREA), Vietnam Real Estate Online Magazine (Reatimes) and Vietnam Real Estate Research Institute (VIRES). This is an objective assessment from 500,000 readers across the country and a voting panel including 150 journalists and 30 leading experts in the fields of economics, architecture, construction and real estate.
It is not only the award for Diamond Lotus Riverside project but also a recognition for the efforts of the Board of Directors and all members of Phuc Khang Corporation.
Our today success is rooted from business ethics, which we always keep in mind, that is not about promoting or creating activities to make our name more famous. The most important and practical thing to do is to be responsible for our words, keeping our promise and our mission of “pioneering and promoting the creation of a better lifestyle for public health and sustainable humanistic ecological environment in accordance with global green standards”.
This award is an encouragement for Phuc Khang to continue steadily on the “journey for the green” that we chose. We will continue to spread the green spirit, to create generations of people with green thinking and a greener community in the future.
Reporter: Many years ago, when Phuc Khang deployed our first US-standard green project, there were many concerns and thought that this was a very "strange" direction. Can you share more about your experience of the first steps on your chosen green journey?
Green CEO Luu Thi Thanh Mau: Green contruction is now a global trend amid rapid urbanization, but there are not many contruction projects in Vietnam that reach green building standards. At the first stage, we started to build a genuinely green apartment applying international standards, in particular, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – LEED. It is the most rigorous green standard and widely applied in western countries and all over the world. It is deployed in more than 167 countries and regions. To be honest, we felt so lonely because not many people understood what we do.
It also took me a lot of time to convince the Board of Directors of the Company and most importantly, our major partners, A+ graded contractors in the Vietnamese market at that time. The date of December 24, 2017 became so special to us as Phuc Khang also received the companionship from Japan-based Mitsubishi Corporation, a world leading corporation in creating green living spaces with green standards and Japanese quality and technology.
Vietnamese customers have markedly changed their perception green buildings and green apartments, thanks to efforts of the government, ministries, and businesses where Phuc Khang is a pioneer in the development of green buildings. A clear proof of this is that when Phuc Khang started selling its first green apartment, we did a survey where only 35% of customers chose to stay. However, after 1 year, the occupancy rate was 84% and the price of green buildings has increased by 175%.
I think it is the customers that increased the value. Communal values are only created when there are people in the place. A real estates are not bought through advertising but values it brings to the people. An example is Diamond Lotus Riverside, whose occupancy rate is now more than 80%. We are proud that Diamond Lotus Riverside is one of the projects with the fastest speed in occupancy in Ho Chi Minh City. It proves that residents have understood the enthusiasm of investment and the real benefits of living in a standard green building.
Phuc Khang Corporation and I believe that with effort and determination, we can together build more green buildings, green cities, towards sustainable development and responsible development. Phuc Khang Corporation and myself always want to share more to spread green thinking, green spirit to everyone.
A mission to transfer values to the future
Reporter: Over 10 years of development, Phuc Khang has always created products associated with hashtags of green and ecology. What does this have to do with your business philosophy?
Green CEO Luu Thi Thanh Mau: Right from the beginning, Phuc Khang has been oriented towards green development with sustainable human values. This is reflected by eco-green and eco- product line or the high-rise product line that is designed, built and operated in accordance with real global green standards.
Our business philosophy is towards Value Segmentation and Sustainable Development, which means that we do not segment the market by “price” like mid-end or high-end, but we consistently develop valued products.
The two concepts of value segmentation and sustainable development are closely related and Phuc Khang's business philosophy is that "sustainable development" must start from "responsible development". That leads to Phuc Khang's specific goal, which is towards transferring responsibilities.
Conventionally, when thinking about responsibilities of businesses, people mention charities, ethical responsibilities, work responsibilities related to their duties. But few people mention the transfer of responsibilities. It means that real estate businesses do not only sell the products for today but they must strive to create values of a living space nurturing people physical and mental health and transfer it to two or three next generations.
Therefore, sustainable development is about transferring our social responsibilities to the next generations and maintaining values for the next generations. Sustainable development with a foundation of green construction will do that. I think these two things are more worthy than other activities, in order to increase benefits for the society even though it will reduce profits.
Reporter: When it comes to green buildings, the most analyzed problem is cost factors and technical issues. Reducing profits and increase benefits for the society as you have mentioned is not common in the market. Why can Phuc Khang firmly follow your new value system?
Green CEO Luu Thi Thanh Mau: We are living in a period of integration and development. Businesses do not just stop in some months or some years but it is the story of a generation, it can be 2 generations and even more. I have a privilege to visit more developed countries in the region such as Japan and Singapore, and I learned a lot of about sustainable development from them. For example, Singaporean urban leaders believe that "urbanization is an inevitable process, we should not avoid it, but must see it as challenges for businesses to create a prosperous urban image, well living must come with sustainability ".
As our country is more globally integrated, industrialized and modernized, products must have more values. And only that can help us to integrate faster, to increase the value of Vietnamese businesses quickly, and to accompany the Government to call for more international investment. Only when our products and human resources have the same value with other countries can we work sustainably with foreign partners and move our country forward.
From a macro perspective, modernization involves many fields. At first, human pursued wealth, corresponding to which is the modern economy. Then we pursued spiritual civilization, then the result is the modern society. Developed countries are pursuing ecological civilization, and that is modern environment, respectively. From a micro perspective, green building is ecological civilization. Phuc Khang's real estate contribute to two areas, urban civilization and community civilization. This means it makes a great contribution to greener urban areas, changing to green mindsets and "making GDP green".
To an investor, cost - benefit is always a focus. If you consider green urban development, green building, and energy efficiency as an investment, it is a long-term investment. The initial cost is quite high compared to conventional projects, not to mention that it requires a team of specialists and consultants for this specific field. When considering for a longer term, we do not care of profit at the time of sale, but we also need to care of other parameters such as maintenance costs, operating costs and brand value. The investment is for long term. In the long run, it will bring higher returns than other short term investments.
Reporter: Can you share about some of Phuc Khang's future development plans?
Green CEO Luu Thi Thanh Mau: As we shared, Phuc Khang does not segment the market by "price" to mid-end or high-end but we steadfastly develop products according to value segments, opening up genuine green lifestyles according to the philosophy of "Creativity for Humanity".
Phuc Khang is proud to be a pioneer in green building development in Vietnam. With more than 10 years of development, although not yet a global enterprise, Phuc Khang Corporation is proud to be started with an international mindset. Although not bringing the Vietnamese brand to the world, but it has brought the quintessence of the world in Vietnamese brands.
In the upcoming time, Phuc Khang will continue with its green mission, because to Phuc Khang Corporation, sustainable development is a committed mission. In particular, in each period, we will continue to expand four pillars of business development, namely smart manufacturing and green construction, fair trade, smart consumption- responsible consumption and humanity education.
Reporter: Thank you for your sharing. We hope that Phuc Khang Corporation will continue to spread your distinctive value on the chosen green journey!