According to Ruth Yeoh, Director of Investments at YTL Corporation Bhd Group of Companies and a passionate environment activist, although YTL is a corporation whose business interests include power, cement, land and development, and transport, it is very passionate when it comes to conserving the earth's natural resources
"We only take and use what we need," explains Ruth. "Even 75% of our Pangkor Laut Resort for example is left undeveloped, and roads we built wind around trees to avoid having to cut them down." After all, civilisation is integral to humanity. What matters is fulfilling social responsibilities while executing development, she adds.
Her love for the environment is not new-found. Having taken environment-related modules while doing her degree in architecture and business studies, Ruth was well-equipped with the heart as well as the knowledge to spearhead environment conservation from the moment she joined the company. Ruth says, "We can't run away from development. It is something that we need but we shouldn't sacrifice our environment in the name of development." This is the philosophy behind everything YTL does and it has established its reputation as a responsible corporate citizen in recent years.
With her unswerving passion and commitment to global warming issues, it is no wonder that Ruth is the head honcho for the annual Climate Change Week that YTL has organized since 2007.
This year's highlight is National Geographic Channel's documentary Strange Days on Planet Earth: Oceans, narrated by actor Edward Norton. "I shall do it justice by calling it not just a mere documentary, but an alarm clock for us to wake up with a sense of urgency - like a 'time bomb' ticking!"
YTL is also closely affiliated to RARE (Nature Conservancy and Reef Check) and strives for reef cleaning and coral regeneration. Ruth oversees SV Carbon, the carbon credit consultancy group, which assists other companies to go clean and green, and has collaborated on a book with her father's friend, Dr Kenny Tang, titled Cut Carbon, Grow Profits: Business Strategies for Managing Climate Change and Sustainability.
Environmental awareness is part of the culture at YTL. The company has its own team of engineers that monitor the emission levels YTL's industries release, and makes sure that has no negative impact on the environment.
Everyone in the office is serious about preventing the wastage of electricity. "It is just normal... and it has become a habit for everyone to switch off lights when they step out of the office," continues Ruth.
Her individual contribution to the environment? Ruth uses retrofit lights at home and is involved in neighbourhood projects.
Even during this financial crisis, Ruth's investment of time and effort in going green is as aggressive as ever, if not more. In fact she feels that "... we should do even more" now to constantly remind people about the environment crisis which can only augment the economic crisis if not tackled now.
Ruth is not only the eco-friendly image of a large Malaysian corporation. I believe her burning passion will be able to ignite our beacon of hope for a better future, and flame our will to conserve the beauty of nature in Malaysia.