"Minimise our environmental footprint and strive to be a community leader in making a positive impact on the environment."
We believe that sound environmental stewardship and resource conservation strategies must be fully implemented into our business operations. We have identified a set of environmental priorities to achieve over the next few years. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, water use and waste production at our properties remain the immediate key priorities. Longer term priorities include water mitigation, enhancing biodiversity and developing climate change adaptation strategies.
Maintaining Good Environmental Stewardship
Combating Climate Change - Reducing Carbon Footprint
The recent increase in extreme weather events has provided a clear signal to many companies around the world of the risks associated with climate change. Climate change does not just bring more heavy rainfall in Hong Kong, as there has been a trend towards increasing numbers of hot days per year.
As the largest retail property owner and manager in Hong Kong, Link plays a critical role in local response to global climate change through our electricity consumption, water consumption and waste management at our properties. Over the past years, this issue stays at the top of our environmental agenda and we have developed strategic programmes to reduce our carbon footprint and adopt measures to cultivate behavioral change and raise awareness in the community.
Link has taken proactive measures to avoid loss and damage and reduce cost arising from extreme weather. In 2015/2016, energy audits for each property were carried across the entire portfolio (with the exception for Maritime Bay Plaza as the common area is not under Link’s management). Data on energy consumption for analysing the condition and performance of existing systems, installations, management techniques, and energy bills were collected. We then compare our facility energy performance with benchmarks for our premises and activities of a similar nature. This helps us further improve the energy efficiency in four major energy management areas including housekeeping, operations, maintenance and capital works.
Despite the number of very hot days almost double that of the previous year, our strategic management of energy consumption resulted in a 2.2% year-on-year reduction in energy consumption, corresponding to a 15.7% year-on-year reduction in CO2e emissions. In the year under review, our total CO2e emissions were 130,903 tons, which comprises our scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. For like-for-like comparison, our total carbon intensity for our portfolio was 13.09 kg CO2e/sq ft, a decrease of 7.3% compared to 14.12 kg CO2e/sq ft in 2014/15. We have extended our scope 3 emissions to include water consumption which was 890 tons.
The energy intensity at our offices was 1,309 kWh per full time employee in 2015/2016.
We are on track to achieve our 30% reduction target for total energy consumption based on 2010 levels before 2020.
Capturing Green Building Opportunities
Building energy consumption contributes majorly to Hong Kong’s total carbon footprint. Link has actively considered and adopted green building practices and obtained certifications to improve the energy and operational efficiency of our portfolio. In 2012, we completed an asset enhancement project at Stanley Plaza and attained the Hong Kong-BEAM Platinum Certification (highest rating). Since then, green building practices have been incorporated into our renovation and operational guidelines for tenants. In 2015, Link announced a plan to build a HK-BEAM Platinum and U.S. Green Building Council LEED certified mixed used commercial and retail property in Kowloon East. As of early 2016, nine of our properties (including seven destination properties) have undergone energy audits based on the National Australian Building Environment Rating System (NABERS). Our latest acquisitions in Shanghai (Corporate Avenue 1&2) and Hong Kong (700 Nathan Road, Mongkok) will seek green building certification and rating as well.
Building Resilience and Adaptation to Extreme Weather
The increase in both frequency and severity of extreme weather events make it indispensable for corporates to formulate longer term resilience and adaption strategies to adapt to unexpected ecological events.
Link has regularly examined the resilience of our building to weather and climate-related extreme events, in particular, floods and hot weather. We look at how improvements can be made by comparing the options available and considering the fundamental building blocks for resilience. We conduct research to improve the understanding of risks from current weather and to model future climate change impacts as to provide relevant information for management.
Engaging tenants to save energy
Link’s total CO2e footprint comprises mainly scope 2 emissions from energy consumption (indirect emissions from purchased energy). In addition to reducing our in-house environmental impact, we also support our tenants and service providers to conserve natural resources. In 2016, we launched a ‘Tenant Energy Efficiency Program’ in which we provide smart metering technology and data analysis services from a local start-up company to interested tenants. This will empower energy users to understand their consumption pattern and adopt energy saving practices accordingly. We hope to raise awareness among our supply chain partners with data insights and knowledge transfer.
Water usage was mainly for domestic use purposes at our properties, and our operations do not produce hazardous waste or effluent streams. The total water consumption for 2015/2016 was 1,525,279 cubic metres.
Empowering Environmental Resources – Our Relationship with Resources
As a property owner and manager, we have three main sources of waste -
2) Tenant operations
Construction waste materials that are generated from the asset enhancement programmes. We partner with contractors to reduce and recycle waste materials at sites under incentive programmes.
For waste collected from our tenants, Link developed a six-step road map that comprises our waste management programme. Developing and implementing waste management programmes requires comprehensive data on present and anticipated waste situations, supportive programme frameworks, expertise and capacity to develop initiatives/systems and proper use of environmentally sound technologies, and appropriate financial instruments to support implementation.
57 garbage collection points are equipped with weigh-in stations. Data on waste collected are being analysed. Preliminary analysis on cost implications has been carried out. Link works towards improving waste reduction performance as to reduce environmental footprint and costs.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is currently being used at Lok Fu Plaza to assist with collection of data. There is source separation of waste prior to using RFID. Data are collected and subsequently analyzed internally. The results are circulated to the senior management including property management and sustainability team. The data are essential information for us to understand how much waste was collected and how much we could possibly reduce. The RFID technology is being considered to be adopted at other sites.
Link engages tenants, employees and service providers to build a sustainable culture by raising their awareness for the new programme. Briefing sessions on the protocols were conducted for tenants. Educational material on waste management is included in the e-Learning programme for staff. Link partners with NGOs such as Food Angel, Feeding Hong Kong, Greener’s Action and World Green Organisation to collect edible food materials for the creation of nutritious meal boxes for the needy. Link also partners with a local contractor to collect both raw and cooked food waste and turn it into high quality animal feeds. Link works to strengthen service provider partnerships and resolve logistics challenges.
Link supports Hong Kong’s target of reducing food waste disposal to landfills by 40% in 2022. In anticipation of the Municipal Solid Waste Charging Scheme by the HKSAR Government, our property management employees, contractors, and tenants will be trained on organic waste source separation and data collection. The first phase of fresh market waste separation pilot scheme ended in May 2016, and the second phase has kick-started in June 2016. Learning from the experience we had in the first phase, we can improve the performance and efficiency of waste separation process in other fresh markets. We target to extend the scheme to all 24 fresh markets by March 2017.
To raise the community’s awareness on environmental protection and aid in the creation of a microclimate for shoppers, Link has adopted both horizontal and vertical greening into our properties. Our in-house Tree and Slope Team has launched a Horticultural Maintenance and Improvement Contract comprising over HK$12 million investment in 2015/2016 to improve better maintenance and greening improvement works. We have planted over 133,755 shrubs across the portfolio in the year under review. We are committed to planting native plant species wherever possible.
The roof garden proposes a new alternative for enhancing the condition of the urban environment, while maximizing landscape efficiency. Green roofs have been constructed for Oi Man Plaza and Stanley Plaza and one more green wall has been installed at Stanley Plaza. The greenery planted throughout the properties can help filter the surrounding air, and the roof garden provides additional public green space to the nearby residents. Greening Link’s landscape is essential to the health and well-being of the communities we are serving.
Promoting a Greener Lifestyle
Link is eager to promote a greener lifestyle in the community. From December 2015 to January 2016, Link hosted the “Music Children at Link” musical instrument collection campaign in 10 of its shopping centres. About 80 musical instruments were collected for underprivileged children taking music lessons at Music Children Foundation. Through this campaign, we link people to a brighter future with music.
Case Study Sharing:
Link presented the 3rd annual “Ocean Art Walk 2015” with Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation and Ocean Recovery Alliance at Stanley Plaza during March to April 2015. The purpose of the exhibition was to raise public awareness on how human behaviors affect climate change, thus impacting terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Besides exhibitions, movie marathons, dance performances and nail art mural were presented to the public as well to encourage positive action together to protect our environment.
This is part of Link’s ongoing commitment to promote sustainable development in the community.