People, profit, planet. These three words embody corporate social responsibility in a nutshell. They guide and measure performance — specifically how to serve the needs of all stakeholders. We look at the three Hong Kong developers who take these values to heart.
Founded in 1976 and listed in Hong Kong since 1981, Henderson Land is a significant property developer in Hong Kong and mainland China. The group had 8,736 full-time employees at the time of printing its 2019 CSR report. Henderson founder Lee Shau Kee retired in May 2019, leaving sons Peter Lee Ka Kit and Martin Lee Ka Shing as vice-chairmen, with older brother Peter heading the mainland operations and Martin taking care of Hong Kong, including CSR reporting. There’s also a listed subsidiary, Henderson Investment Ltd, and three listed associates: Hong Kong and China Gas Co; Hong Kong Ferry and Miramar Hotels.
The company has earned a slew of prestigious awards for its residential and commercial developments, including the International Finance Centre (IFC) complex in Hong Kong’s central business district, the H Zentre in the traditionally vibrant tourism centre of Tsimshatsui, and the World Financial Centre in Beijing.
The multi-award-winning H Zentre in Tsimshatsui, which combines food and beverage with wellness (including clinics) and retail, is a “good example of the group’s healthy and smart buildings”. The complex joins H Queens in Central, which has a heavy emphasis on galleries and art spaces, and the H Code fashion complex near the renovated Tai Kwun arts and heritage complex.
Henderson has reported its CS figures since 2006, and in a standalone report since 2014. Its 2019 CSR report numbers almost 100 pages, covering topics as broad as sustainability values and strategies, corporate governance, and people and community, as well as key facts and statistics. There’s a Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and HKEX Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) content index.
Meanwhile, Henderson reports that it’s supported more than 100 community programmes, which benefit some 131,00 underprivileged and young people. Employees took more than 178,000 hours of training, while five staff volunteer teams contributed more than 147,000 service hours.
The Group’s sustainability strategy has five primary drivers:
Social responsibility to pursue overall community benefits through the business operations; to create a sustainable community and society by implementing best practices.
Environmental impact reduction to monitor environmental footprint; to mitigate any direct and indirect negative environmental impact to the society through technological innovation, strategic partnerships and awareness raising.
Product responsibility and innovation to deliver responsible, high-quality and innovative products to customers; to promote innovations in the industry; to engage with customers regularly to understand their expectations about products.
A people-focused workplace to attract and retain the best talent; to understand employees’ expectations; to provide a healthy and safe workplace; to provide adequate training and education in fulfilling their career aspirations and to promote workforce inclusion and diversity
Industry Collaboration to maintain strategic and long-term partnerships with suppliers, contractors and business partners along the value chain who share the same sustainability visions and values.
Forbes magazine named Henderson one of the world’s leading 500 employers.
Kerry Properties Limited (KPL)
Kerry Properties Limited also boasts an extensive property and investment portfolio in the mainland and Hong Kong, for the most part up-market residential and mixed-use properties that include office towers, flats, shopping malls and hotels in prime locations. The company is a constituent stock in the Hang Seng Corporate Sustainability Benchmark Index. Its 2019 report was prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards: core option and with reference to the GRI G4 Construction and Real Estate Sector Disclosures.
In its extensive 131-page report, it states: “Sustainability has been elevated to a level of strategic imperative. The necessary discourse is no longer about whether to incorporate sustainability into strategy and operations, or even how to do it – but how to do it better.
“Over the long term, KPL believes the only solution is to develop a strong culture of sustainability. We train our team, engage suppliers, develop ethical guidelines, upgrade procurement practices, enhance performance management and formulate new approaches for customer wellness.”
KPL continually works to “inspire transformative business leadership” in social responsibility and sustainability. Through implementing practicable policies, “KPL encourages a positive impact on the environment, customers, employees, communities, and all other stakeholders”.
The company’s first five-year sustainability roadmap was launched in 2016 to take advantage of its sustainability journey. “Through a step-by- step process, this roadmap provides a clear and comprehensive picture of the Group’s sustainability strategy. It also helps us prioritise improvement actions and optimise resource deployment.”
In 2018, the Group made further progress towards meeting various roadmap targets. Across Hong Kong and the Mainland, all suppliers and contractors acknowledged their responsibilities on sustainable practices required by KPL’s Vendor Code of Conduct.
Management staff were offered training in equality and diversity. In the Mainland, four additional projects we managed obtained the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment System (OHSAS) 1001 certification. In Hong Kong, Kerry attained the ISO 14001:2015 certification for property development, property management and corporate supporting services, and was also on track to achieve 100 percent certification of Hong Kong’s Building Environment and Assessment Method (BEAM) for all new residential and commercial buildings in Hong Kong by this year.
Another major developer, Wheelock, embarked on its sustainability journey nine years ago with a vision to contribute towards a thriving and sustainable community.
“Sustainability has become embedded in our business operation, shaping decisions that drive positive change for the present and the future, from significant transitions in global environmental and sustainability issues, to the pandemic and other complex challenges,” Wheelock chairman Douglass CK Woo said in the latest Sustainability Report, which provides a detailed account of sustainability efforts made by the group in 2019.
“During the year, we pioneered and obtained the first sustainability-linked loan in Hong Kong. Furthermore, we have elevated our actions towards four United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) that are most aligned with our operations. We are also enhancing resilience with a robust portfolio management approach, in line with the advocacy of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).”
The company continued to focus on green building and was committed to achieving at least Gold rating under BAM Plus1 certification for all developments, and LD 2 certification for all commercial developments. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a global accreditation system.
“Our O’East and O’South residential portfolios, which formed a connected green hub in Tseung Kwan O, were awarded BEAM Plus Provisional Gold rating, while 8 Bay East, a commercial project, achieved dual Platinum3 in LEED and BAM Plus certification.
Wheelock also attained LOOP (Low-carbon Oce Operation Programme) Platinum certification by WWF-Hong Kong for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions at its headquarters. Participating in LOOP allowed the group to achieve a 34 percent reduction in energy intensity use at headquarters, using 2015 as the base year.
Regarding supply-chain management, Wheelock continued to specify ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) criteria in tender documents and subsequent contracts. For oce tenants and residents of development projects, the developer continued to promote and enhance environmental awareness, for example trialling municipal solid-waste charging schemes at selected managed properties.
Meanwhile, Project WeCan, Wheelock’s Business-in-Community initiative, continued to partner with 68 organisations and more than 2,000 volunteers to provide support to more than 70,000 students.
The HKSTP@Wheelock Gallery, since its launch in 2018, has hosted more than 2,700 business meetings and events and engaged more than 12,000 “technopreneurs” and start-ups. Wheelock Properties announced peppercorn leases to NGOs to provide some 2,000 units of transitional housing.
Empowering employees is part of the company’s long-term sustainability strategy. In 2019, it reinforced training and development programmes to cover the latest topics, and introduced a mentorship programme for new joiners.
Wheelock said the Coronavirus pandemic that emerged late last year was a global crisis with severe and far-reaching impacts, and had greatly disrupted economic and business activities in Hong Kong.
“We fully recognise the need to cope with these devastating impacts,” Woo said. “With safety being among our top priorities, we pursue best practices and proactive approach on behaviour and technology to provide a safe and healthy environment for our employees, tenants and customers. In terms of hygiene and cleaning, we are working towards medical-grade standards.
“Meanwhile, we have implemented business continuity plans and preventative measures by making reference to the global and local health authorities’ recommendations as well as the 2003 SARS epidemic. We also constantly review and improve the measures as the situation develops. All these efforts could not be achieved without the contribution of our employees and the support of our business partners and customers.”