“We believe sustainability is good for those around us and therefore good for our business."
Link's Sustainability Framework, consists of seven core elements, namely staff
, corporate governance
. It guides our progress towards sustainability. These elements are presented in a circle, illustrating our firm belief that all seven elements are equally important to us and necessary for sustainable development. Doing well in one particular element will also result in better performance in other elements. We have also strengthened our Sustainability Framework by establishing clear strategies for each element.
We believe the strength of Link is rooted in our culture of serving people first as a core value. We work hard to develop, and retain the best people in our company. Link strives to become an employer of choice by growing a workforce that makes us one of the most successful companies among our peers.
Marking the tenth anniversary of its IPO, 108 staff members have formed a team of Happy Staff to help spread positive energy. They help motivate colleagues to join different kinds of company activities and events, deliver branding message, collect feedback and successful stories and handle enquiries raised by staff regarding the company and branding messages.
We believe a strong and transparent corporate governance framework is essential for the long-term success of Link.
In 2012/2013, Link announced that it adopted a 20/20 vision, which aimed to reduce total annual energy consumption by 20% of 2010 levels by 2020. Through effective measures like the introduction of energy-efficient hardware and proper monitoring of facility operations, the goal was achieved six years ahead of schedule in 2013/2014. To build upon our effort, Link has already established a more ambitious target which seeks to achieve a 30% reduction in annual energy consumption by 2020, again using 2010 as a baseline.
In anticipation of the Municipal Waste Charging Scheme by the HKSAR Government, Link launched the fresh market waste separation pilot programme in 2016, preparing tenants for the upcoming waste charging.
Energy and waste management will continue to be a major component of Link’s cost management and environmental management strategies.
Link believes that environmental, social and governance issues have the potential to impact investment returns. As currently Asia’s largest REIT and one of the world’s largest retail focused REITs in terms of market capitalisation, Link believes that adopting a sustainability policy across the business operations will allow for greater alignment with stakeholders’ long-term interests.
Link aspires to be a world class real estate investor and manager, serving and improving the lives of those around us by providing value and quality service, partnering with local communities and delivering sustainable growth. With the launch of our new corporate brand on 19 August 2015, we will continue to serve and enhance the lives of those around us, and remain committed to creating a better shopping experience and environment and to finding more ways to link people to a brighter future. Link recognises the measurable physical impact the properties have on the environment and community. We strive to be recognised as a member of the global leaders on sustainability and responsible property investment. Link continues to be a signatory of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, which encourages responsible property investment and management practices.
Link efficiently manages the properties we own and we strive to build a strong and reputable brand name allows us to work closely with different stakeholders. The management of our retail and car park facilities has evolved to be our strength and expertise. Over the years, we have established a track record of increasing rental revenue complemented by the effective control of property operating costs. Through scalable innovation, we continue to leverage this competitive advantage.
Tenants are the core of Link’s business. We create environments that inspire success to increase value for our tenants. We improve the tenants’ business environment by an ongoing programme of asset enhancement initiatives to upgrade our retail properties. We also invest extensively in the repair and maintenance of the shopping centres and car parking facilities across our portfolio. All such investments are done with a view to enhance the shopping environment and provide a more sustainable operating platform for the tenants’ businesses. Link also enhances the tenants’ competitiveness by providing the latest industry insights and business suggestions to our tenants via Link Tenant Academy.
Link's portfolio spans various districts in Hong Kong, serving customers through about 11,000 shop tenancies. Apart from well-known initiatives like asset enhancement programmes and Link Tenant Academy, Link is contributing to the expansion of small tenants through its sizeable property network.
Our leasing teams organise study trips to visit centres in other districts, and learn from their experience in shop mix design and management with a view to optimise the business environment in their own districts. A Tenant Intelligence and Expansion Scheme (TIES) has been launched where team members are encouraged to exchange information about the success of popular tenants in attracting customers. As a result, they can have better access to business opportunities in other districts, and more tenancy deals have been concluded.
In tandem with renovation programmes that enhance the entire shopping centre, many small tenants are keen to modernise their shops to capture new business opportunities. Link offers tenants industry-specific design guidelines and samples, setting up a team to advise tenants on shop design matters.
As a good and responsible corporate citizen, Link plays a broad range of roles in meeting the needs of employees, communities, and supporting businesses; enhancing the economic and social value for the stakeholders. We connect business success and community success in ways that we seize opportunities to meet societal needs via a sustainable business model.
We place high priority in creating value for the communities we serve, which is illustrated through our flagship community investment programme – Link Together Initiatives. Link utilises the shopping centre network to offer free venues to the organisations to promote their projects and services in addition to the financial support provided to the organisations.
Every year, Link contributes an amount up to 0.25% of its net property income from the previous financial year to The Initiatives. The maximum that can be awarded to any one organisation is 30% of the total funds granted.
For 2015/2016, as Link Together Initiatives (“the Initiatives”) marks its third year. A variety of charitable organisations have already benefited from the support it has provided. For the 2015/2016 funding cycle, after careful consideration, the Initiatives’ Selection Committee and the Board of Link selected 44 community projects from nearly 130 eligible applications. Along with Link First Generation University Student Scholarship and barrier free access facilities, Link donated nearly HK$10 million to support the organisations to serve communities in need.
The ability to improve retail and commercial assets, together with asset acquisition and disposal, enables Link to accelerate the optimisation of the asset portfolio. These drivers complement each other by adding different capabilities at different points in time, and together they drive the growth at various stages of Link’s development.
Link aims to offer tenants, shoppers and communities with vibrant centres for modern living that inspire success to increase value for all our stakeholders. These in turn provide unitholders with a steadily increasing total return.
Critical Success Factors
We have identified four critical success factors to achieve our sustainable development goals:
Corporate Culture: Embed a culture of sustainability across all business units and in our daily operations.
Actions: We enhance staff awareness and understanding of sustainability by identifying and sharing best practices, promoting transparency and encouraging engagement.
Business Operations: Add more value and reduce our footprint.
Actions: We actively encourage resource conservation and operational efficiency. This will reduce impacts on society and environment, while providing investors with better returns.
Communication: Listen. Respect. Lead.
Actions: We actively listen to stakeholder’s needs and encourage constructive feedback, which is taken into account during decision-making processes.
Building Relationships: Build trust with different audiences in our communities.
Actions: We actively engage with different parties, collaborating on common issues. This helps to build strong and healthy relationships with different parties in the community.