Sustainability takes centre stage in first virtual edition of PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit

Diverse, influential roster of experts and thought leaders broadcast insights and ideas on the intersection of real estate, tech, and climate action

  • ‘PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit 2020: Virtual Edition’ airs successfully via online platforms with the participation of global institutions and multinational brands such as the International Finance Corporation/World Bank, The Economist Intelligence Unit, JLL, Accor, Microsoft, and IKEA
  • Twenty-seven speakers share expertise in online gathering informed by the timely issues of the pandemic and climate change
  • Green technology leader Rizome and climate hero Illac Diaz honoured with the presentation of the PropertyGuru Tech Innovation Award and PropertyGuru Visionary of the Year title, respectively
  • Latest edition of summit is the most gender-sensitive yet, offering representation to women and members of the LGBTQ+ community
  • Summit a part of PropertyGuru Week, which concludes tomorrow with the 15th edition of the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards Grand Final

BANGKOK, Thailand — 3 December 2020

The real estate and tech industries’ finest minds assembled for the first virtual edition of the PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit, which aired exclusively today via and partner channels.

Also known as the tech and thought leadership platform of PropertyGuru, this year’s summit hosted a stellar line-up of 27 experts to expound on the timely topics of sustainability, green technology, and the “new economy” in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Featuring representatives of global institutions and multinational brands as well as vanguards of sustainability, the event formally known as PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit 2020: Virtual Edition (ARES 2020) ascribed this year to the theme of “Spirit of Innovation”.

Manav Kamboj, chief technology officer of PropertyGuru Group, said: “Technology is enabling businesses to act more responsibly towards building a sustainable future. The increasing amount of data and insight is allowing us to make better choices; in managing our customer’s data, in sourcing of raw materials, in design, product delivery and beyond.”

The daylong online broadcast opened with Jules Kay, managing director of PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards & Events, outlining the sustainability plan for future editions of the PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit and the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards in the next five years. This year marks the sixth edition of the summit.

The summit then kicked off with a series of high-powered keynotes by some of the foremost policymakers and thought leaders in real estate and proptech: Stephen Oehme, the chairperson of the summit and managing director of Quantum Thailand Ltd, who welcomed viewers with an address on the four pillars of sustainability in Asian real estate; Dr. Simon Baptist, global chief economist and managing director (Asia) of The Economist Intelligence Unit, who provided a macro outlook of the post-pandemic global economy; Prashant Kapoor, chief industry specialist for green buildings and climate-smart cities at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank, who dealt with green finance; and Audrey Tang, digital minister of Taiwan, who afforded viewers a look into the nation’s leadership in collaborative governance, sustainable infrastructure, and open innovation.

Having made history as Taiwan’s first transgender minister, Tang added a layer of visibility and representation for the LGBTQ+ community to the summit. Overall, a third of the summit roster comprises women and individuals who identify as LGBTQ+.

Kapoor was joined at the event by Angelo Tan, green building country lead for the Philippines at the IFC. Tan presented a case study on the democratisation of green buildings in developing countries.

Other keynotes of the day were delivered by Deb Noller, chief executive officer of Switch Automation, who talked about energy efficiency and carbon footprint reduction via meaningful data; Lars Svensson, sustainability and communication director of IKEA Southeast Asia, who spoke on eco-efficiency strategies; Miri Rodriguez, head of global internship programme at Microsoft, evangelising about the importance of storytelling in the age of smart homes and AI; and Robert Bartrop, chief revenue officer of SOURCE Global, introducing the company’s trademark hydropanel tech.

Wilma Gerber, chief operating officer for project and development services at JLL Asia Pacific, and Matthias Gelber, the director of sustainability for Global Sustainability Exchange who was once voted “the greenest person on the planet”, delivered the Expert Talks of the summit. Their sessions touched on the creation of value within commercial real estate and workforce engagement in real estate companies, respectively, with an eye toward creating a more sustainable future.

The summit also showcased the expertise of PropertyGuru, Southeast Asia’s leading property technology company, in the field of sustainability. Hari V. Krishnan, chief executive officer and managing director of PropertyGuru Group, gave the GuruTalk on “Homes of the Future”, giving prescient insights into sustainable living in megacities. Official sponsor, Hitachi Elevators and Escalators, also presented a segment on smart building solutions to showcase how the global brand helps in creating smart buildings and cities.

A panel discussion on “Rebuilding the World Responsibly” dived into climate-positive ways of construction; 3D printing; solar panel tech; and sustainable infrastructure. Panellists included Hasan Basri Tosun, co-founder of Sensgreen, recipient of the 2019 PropertyGuru Tech Innovation Award; Armelle Le Bihan, founder and chief executive officer of Green Building Consulting and Engineering; and Nicola Crosta, founder of Baan Dek Foundation, the official ESG partner of the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards and PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit.

Developers and decision-makers behind the creation of smarter, safer cities worldwide also gathered online for a panel discussion on sustainability issues. They were Chanond Ruangkritya, chief executive officer of Ananda Development; Gaynor Reid, vice president of communications and CSR for Accor in Southeast Asia; Kristin Thorsteins, partner with Portman Investment Pte Ltd; Lynette Leong, chief sustainability officer of CapitaLand Group; Shaishav Dharia, CEO for townships and annuity assets at Lodha Group India; and Stephen Oehme of Quantum Thailand Ltd.

Two of architecture’s luminaries appeared at the summit to share their views and ideas on achieving sustainability through design. Prof. Jason Pomeroy, founding principal of Pomeroy Studio and Pomeroy Academy, sat with Begoña Lucena, director of Artemis Associates, for the Fireside Chat on carbon-negative design, and Tim Kobe, founder and chief executive officer of Eight Inc., delivered a keynote on sustainability as the baseline of design.

The summit culminated with the presentation of the coveted honours of the PropertyGuru Tech Innovation Award and the all-new PropertyGuru Visionary of the Year Award. The awards serve to recognise innovative start-ups as well as game-changing individuals that have contributed to building an ecosystem that takes the real estate industry forward.

Rizome won the PropertyGuru Tech Innovation Award for its impressive use of engineered bamboo lumber as the primary material in construction. Troy Carter, co-founder of Rizome, earlier presented a case study on the material as well as the company’s ambitious carbon sequestration goals.

The recipient of the PropertyGuru Tech Innovation Award was chosen by a panel of experts that consisted of Manav KambojSteve Melhuish, Angel Investor, VC Partner/Co-Founder, PropertyGuru Group; Jittida Haputpong, Vice President, Business Development, Igloohome; Matthias Gelber, Director of Sustainability, Global Sustainability Exchange; Nick Myers, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, RedFox AI; Petra Bührer, Global Sales Leader, IBM/Chair(woman), IBM Technical Expert Council in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (Dach); and Stephen Oehme, Value Management Specialist & Sustainability Advocate/Managing Director, Quantum Thailand Ltd.

The PropertyGuru Visionary of the Year Award was presented for the first time ever to Illac Diaz for his seminal efforts with the Liter of Light Foundation. The acclaimed climate hero also presented earlier a case study on Liter of Light’s journey from a social enterprise into a global, grassroots movement that has become a source of illumination for affordable homes in developing countries.

The PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit is part of PropertyGuru Week that launched on 2 December, with the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau). PropertyGuru Week will culminate on Friday, 4 December with the 15th PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards Grand Final. All events of PropertyGuru Week have adopted a virtual format, reaching an extensive base of consumers and property agents across Asia Pacific for the first time.

Established in 2015, the PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit over the years has gathered several influential and global names for its annual and regional events. Past speakers include ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General Dr. Aladdin D. Rillo; Thailand’s former Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij; Malaysia’s Deputy Finance Minister Dato’ Lee Chee Leong; The Economist’s global editorial director Andrew Staples; TechCrunch China founder Dr. Gang Lu; Google’s head of agency and performance Kim Rellinger; Singapore’s chief urban planner-architect Dr. Liu Thai Ker; MiraLab founder Prof. Nadia Magnenat Thalmann; PLP Architecture’s Ron Bakker; and the original Apple Store designer-architect Tim Kobe. Past partners include the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Nikkei Asian Review, TechSauce, Oxford Business Group, Mingtiandi, and The Wall Street Journal.

The PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit 2020: Virtual Edition is supported by sponsor Hitachi Elevators and Escalators; official portal partners,,, and; official innovation partner PropertyGuru FastKey; official magazine PropertyGuru Property Report; official PR partner Artemis Associates; media partners APAC CIO Outlook, Asia PropTech, CMO Asia, Future Trends,, Jumpstart, Locanation, PropertyInvestSG, and Techsauce; official ESG partner Baan Dek Foundation; and supporting associations Austrian PropTech Initiative, Green Building Consulting & Engineering, and GSX Global Sustainability Exchange.

For more information, email [email protected] or visit the official website:

Watch the PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit 2020: Virtual Edition again at