The Group has always upheld the principle of sustainability, and strictly adhere to high standards of corporate social responsibility. The Group recognises the needs of its stakeholders and values their concerns regarding the Group’s sustainable development as well as its business. Regular communications with stakeholders help ensure a better understanding of their expectations regarding the Group. The Group makes ongoing efforts to guarantee the implementation of different regulations and policies on sustainability during its daily operations.
This report aims to provide the Group’s stakeholders with an overview of the Group’s efforts regarding environmental, social and governance impacts arising from its daily operations.
The Group believes that a motivated and balanced workforce is crucial for building a sustainable business model and delivering long-term returns.
As at 31 March 2020, the permanent employees of the Group totalled 1,415 (2019: 1,715). The demographics of the Group’s workforce as at 31 March 2020 are summarised below:
The Group has a diverse workforce in terms of gender and age, providing a variety of ideas and levels of competencies that contribute to the Group’s success. The Group is firmly committed to gender equality, and particularly encourages female participation in the Board, and at managerial and operational levels.
The management believes that employees are important assets of the Group, and remains committed to attracting and retaining talent with diverse backgrounds for achieving sustainable growth. As at 31 March 2020, 48% (2019: 42%) of the staff had worked for the Group for five years or more. Staff turnover rate among managerial positions is relatively low, reflecting a high level of employee satisfaction and engagement with the Group.
Health and Safety
The Group prides itself on providing a safe, effective and congenial work environment for its staff. Health and safety training is provided to employees on induction. Workshops and seminars on different topics are regularly held, to present the latest information and raise awareness of occupational health and safety issues for employees in offices, hotels and project sites. In addition, the Head Office and Grand Emperor Hotel hold the fire drill and training on the use of fire extinguishers annually.
At the project sites, safety officers are assigned to supervise, monitor and manage the contractors to ensure compliance with the requirements. The workers are given safety training sessions to reinforce safety measures and practices. Regular site inspections are conducted to ensure the required safety standard are met. The contractor is also requested to submit the Site Safety Plan and the Supervision Plan for the Works in accordance with the requirements under the Technical Memorandum for Supervision Plans 2009 and shall comply with such throughout the construction period.
The Group proactively identifies potential occupational hazards, to reduce staff exposure to accidents. Employees assigned to work on construction sites are required to observe additional safety guidelines. In hotel operations, all restaurants staff are required to wear anti-skid shoes and anti-cutting gloves, to prevent injuries.
The Group enhances emergency preparedness and ensures there are well-stocked first-aid kits in offices, warehouse and retail outlets to protect the health and safety of employees, in the event that they are injured at work. An automated external defibrillator (“AED”) has been placed in the office building to rescue potential victims of sudden cardiac arrest. During the Year, an AED awareness training course was held for the staff, to reinforce their techniques in the resuscitation processes.
The Group has arranged staff from the Head Office to attend the Standard First Aid Certificate Course organised by the Hong Kong Red Cross. They have successfully passed the examination and received the Standard First Aid Certificate, and are to provide First Aid treatment to colleagues in the workplace whenever needed. Besides, the Group has arranged staff to participate in certain seminars including the hotelier occupational safety seminar, chemical safety seminar and conflict management seminar.
Every case of injury (if any) is required to be reported to the Human Resources Department and be individually assessed under the internal guideline procedures. The rate of accidents and injuries during the Year was extremely low. No fatalities or critical incidents were reported.
Development and Training
Recognising the importance of skilled and professionally trained employees, the Group offers comprehensive training to enhance the knowledge, skills and work capability of its staff. The Group encourages and provides subsidies to employees at all levels to pursue educational or training opportunities that achieve personal growth and professional development. A policy on External Training Subsidy is in place, allowing every staff member to develop and maintain job-related skills for full performance.
Staff enrols in training programs organised by professional institutions such as the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors, the Chartered Institute of Building and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, to enhance their professionalism in architecture and surveying.
In hotel operations, various training courses are regularly conducted to promote occupational safety, personal and food hygiene, fire and emergency response, first aid and customer serving skills. The Group also provides professional training programs to hotel operations’ frontline staff under the Macao Occupational Skills Recognition System (“MORS”) certification scheme, to enhance their occupational proficiency. As at 31 March 2020, 89 frontline staff had obtained MORS certifications in accordance with their professions: assistant cook, Chinese cook – Cantonese cuisine, Chinese cook – Cantonese dim sum, bartender, bell attendant, front desk agent, guest relations officer, room attendant, security officer, and waiter/waitress of western restaurant and Chinese restaurant.
During the year, the Group invested approximately 17,569 hours in employee training, which is equivalent to approximately 12 hours of training for each employee.
The Group believes that maintaining work-life balance is essential for sustainability and a sound body and mind for every employee. To support employees in maintaining worklife balance and creating spirit amongst employees, the Group continued to organise a number of activities including sports events, DIY workshop and corporate match for its employees during the Year.
As one of the highly recognised developers in Hong Kong, the Group always prioritises environmental protection, and believes business growth and environmental sustainability are interrelated. In adhering to the constant pursuit of green management, the Group has introduced green measures in its offices, hotels and construction sites to reduce waste and promote efficient use of resources. The Group has also actively taken up its corporate responsibility to promote carbon footprint reduction and minimise global warming by adopting various green practices.
Energy and Waste Management
Global warming and climate change are among the major environmental concerns in every part of the world. In an effort to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, the Group actively promotes efficient use of energy and adopts green technologies in its head office at 26/F, Emperor Group Centre, 288 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong (the “Head Office”), investment properties as well as hotels and serviced apartments.
For energy management, The Group continues utilising advanced lighting and air-conditioning systems in its properties, to improve overall energy efficiency. At Grand Emperor Hotel, an advanced heat recovery ventilator in the air-conditioning system has been installed, which effectively reduced the liquefied petroleum gas consumption.
The Group offers green experiences to shoppers through implementing clean energy practices. In this regard, carparks in the pulse are equipped with charging stations for electric vehicles, in line with government’s efforts to support clean transportation.
The Group is also dedicated to raising the environmental awareness of its employees, tenants and shoppers through participating in environmental protection campaigns such as Earth Hour.
To identify opportunities for increasing energy efficiency, the Group monitors the energy consumption intensity across its operations from time to time.
The Group endeavors to conserving water resources. Various measures are implemented to enhance efficient use of water and advocate responsible consumption behaviors. At Emperor Group Centre Beijing, water from sinks is collected and recycled for irrigating garden plants through a recycling system, thereby reducing fresh water consumption. The Group has also adopted water-efficient equipment to engage employees, tenants, shoppers and guests in promoting responsible water consumption practices. For instance, water flow limiters on taps and shower heads are adopted in the hotels and shopping malls managed by the Group.
For waste management, the Group strives to minimise the environmental impacts arising from waste disposal through recycling in the Head Office, investment properties, hotels and serviced apartments.
The Group engages employees in their waste behaviours and encourages recycling practices in the workplace. In the office building, the building’s property management company has appointed recycling contractor to collect and recycle used papers, plastic bottles, aluminium, glasses, fluorescent tubes and computer equipment. Recycled bags are also put in the office to collect waste papers for recycling.
The Group also joins hands with tenants to maximise recycling efforts by providing waste separation facilities in major complexes including Fitfort Shopping Arcade, China Huarong Tower and Emperor Group Centre in Hong Kong, as well as Emperor Group Centre Beijing in mainland China.
The hotels managed by the Group have implemented recycling measures to separate paper, aluminum cans, glass, metal, plastic bottles and surplus food from the waste. At Grand Emperor Hotel, shower gel bottles are reused after special hygiene treatment.
In The Emperor Hotel, unconsumed yet still edible and appetising food is donated to people in need through Foodlink Foundation, a charitable organisation. As for waste cooking oils, the Group engages qualified service provider registered under the Environmental Protection Department to collect waste cooking oils. Furthermore, eco-friendly straws, instead of plastic straws, are provided at food and beverages outlets within the Group’s hotels.
The Group continues to encourage a paperless working environment which not only reduces environmental damage but also fits commercial goals, as it can save physical space, facilitate information sharing via IT networks, and reduce complicated documentation procedures. In recent years, the Group has implemented paperless internal human resources processing such as employee time sheets, payrolls, leave applications, surveys, assessment papers, inspection forms and many more. Moreover, duplex printing and copying has become the norm within the Group, greatly reducing paper consumption and saving costs. Usage data of office printing machines is regularly collected and assessed for monitoring the efficiency of the paperless environment.
Partnering with its printing solutions provider, the Group has adopted “Follow You” print solution in the office, helping the Group becoming more cost efficient through smarter printing. The print solution enables the Group to achieve environmental objectives by reducing unclaimed printing, as printing is released only upon presentation of a staff card from that particular staff who gives the printing instruction.
The Company strongly recommends shareholders to access its corporate communications, including financial reports, through the websites of the HKEX and the Company, instead of receiving printed form. By introducing electronic means of corporate communications to shareholders, the quantity of printed materials has been considerably reduced. This paperless practice thus helps to protect the environment, as well as save costs for stationery, printing and administrative charges, etc.
The Group is committed to achieving a sustainable future through green building practices. Deepening its commitment to building a green living environment, the Group aims to achieve certification through relevant green building assessment schemes. In this regard, as Silver Patron Member of the Hong Kong Green Building Council Limited, the Group’s new developments have adopted Building Environmental Assessment Method (“BEAM”) Plus standards recognised and certified by the Hong Kong Green Building Council Limited. The Group has also incorporated a range of environmental friendly designs and systems in its projects.
Several projects of the Group that were under construction in Hong Kong have attained BEAM or BEAM Plus green buildings certification. In mainland China, Emperor Group Centre in Beijing was certified at gold level under the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) for Core and Shell (CS) Development program, demonstrating the Group’s commitment to delivering a green and clean working environment in commercial projects, and further strengthening the Group’s leading position in environmentally friendly property development.
Supply Chain Management
The Group engages more than 100 contractors and suppliers for property projects. The Group places high importance on the quality of its operations and products. As a responsible developer, the Group sets rules and policies on the selection of suppliers, contractors and tenderers. This is to maintain high reputation and levels of customer satisfaction regarding the Group’s services and products.
The Group aims to deliver the highest possible quality for its customers, while expecting the same quality from selected suppliers. Thus, the Group has a strict process for selecting suppliers by tenders. During the tendering procedure, tenderers are requested to submit their environmental plan, quality control plan and safety plan as key factors for consideration. In the outsourcing process, company history, industry reputation and past job references are taken into consideration before choosing reliable suppliers. The supplier selection process is reviewed by the Internal Audit Department, to ensure fair and objective procedures for all suppliers.
As for hotel operations, the Group works closely with a number of suppliers in providing a range of hospitality goods, including guest-room consumables, tableware, furniture and food and beverage. The selection of suppliers is based on criteria such as quality, price, delivery timeliness, supplier’s capability and experience, with preference given to suppliers who demonstrate their environmental commitment.
The Group’s strong commitment to quality is underscored by its professional team, which spans a wide array of expertise including project management, leasing services, interior design, etc.
Understanding customer needs is critical to the Group’s success. The Group closely interacts with its diverse customer base, which spans tenants, residents, hospitality guests, diners, shoppers and home buyers.
Regarding to property management, the Group has recognized expertise in property management which provides tenant-focused facility management and generates refreshing visitors’ experience across its office and retail portfolio. The Grade-A multi-functional tower Emperor Group Centre Beijing presents a new office style and adheres to international office standards. Oriented towards lifestyle and environmental protection, the tower also offers collaborative opportunities for all enterprises, thereby creating a new business landscape for the Beijing Central Business District. Emperor Group Centre Beijing was previously awarded the honour of “6-Star Super A-level Building” by Beijing Central Business District Administration Committee, recognising its standing in China’s real estate market. Additionally, its building manager exhibited exceptional performance and was ranked among the “2018 Beijing CBD Gold-Level Building Managers”.
To better engage with its tenants, the Group makes occasional courtesy calls and visits in order to understand their service needs.
The Group is dedicated to providing homebuyers with a superior experience before, during and after product delivery. Each of the Group’s developments is thoughtfully designed and built with attention to detail to create family-friendly homes. To ensure the quality and building requirements are met, the Quality Control Team periodically makes site visits and monitors the progress of developments. Professional consultants, such as architects and engineers, are also hired to inspect sites on request, and provide specific professional advice.
To help prospective purchasers make informed decisions, the Group provides timely and accurate information about its residential properties. The Group also ensures sales and marketing of residential properties strictly comply with “Residential Properties (First-hand Sales) Ordinance” (Cap. 621, Laws of Hong Kong).
During the handover, a dedicated customer service team follows thorough procedures to ensure that the units delivered to the homebuyers are in satisfactory condition. Additionally, the Group offers a 1-year warranty, to underpin homebuyers’ confidence in the Group’s properties.
In hotel operations, the Group’s experienced and well trained customer servicing team delivers consistently high quality customer services. To monitoring customer satisfaction, questionnaires are set to collect customer feedback. Guests’ comments on their experience are reviewed and presented to the Group’s management. All complaints are independently investigated and handled according to the Group’s internal guidelines, ensuring they are attended to diligently and resolved in a timely manner.
The Group places the utmost importance on protecting the privacy of its customers, partners and staff in the collection, handling, safekeeping, use and retention of their personal data. The Group adheres to the applicable data protection regulations and ensures appropriate technical measures are in place to protect personal data against unauthorised use or access. The Group also ensures that customers’ personal data is securely stored, and processed only for the purpose for which it has been collected. Relevant staff are provided with adequate training in compliance with applicable laws on data privacy protection, to strengthen their awareness and to protect personal data against loss, unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure. In addition, access to the customer database is limited to authorised staff, whilst authentication is required before accessing the data. To reduce the risk of identity theft, the Group takes appropriate measures to dispose of documents that contain customer information.
Protection of Intellectual Property
The Group protects its intellectual property rights by prolonged use and registration of domain names and various trademarks including without limitation to “Emperor” and “英皇”. The Group has registered trademarks in various classes in Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China, United Kingdom and other relevant jurisdictions. In addition, the Group’s trademarks and domain names are constantly monitored, and renewed prior to their expiration.
In November 2019, the trademark “ 英 皇” has been recognised as well-known to the relevant public in mainland China and obtained cross-class protection from the National Intellectual Property Administration, affirming the Group’s wide acknowledgement in China and its brand value.
In order to enhance ethical corporate culture and practices, the Group has established policies and procedures for anticorruption, anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing.
It is essential for the Group’s employees to acquire a better understanding of bribery, extortion, corruption and related acts. In addressing and mitigating corruption risks, a set of guidelines in giving and receiving gifts, or offer in the form of meals, accommodation and entertainment, as well as interacting with government officials, was established to outline acceptable and unacceptable conduct in employees’ daily business activities. It targets to ensure every employee adheres to applicable legal requirements and make ethical business decisions. Special care must additionally be taken to ensure that all business dealings with government officials are conducted in a context that is free from any form of corrupt practices.
The Group has long adopted an Anti-money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Policy and Procedure (“AML Policy”). The AML Policy establishes the general framework for combating potential money laundering and financing of terrorism, and provides guidelines for preventing the Group’s employees and clients, customers, suppliers, vendors and contractors from being misused for money laundering, terrorist financing or other financial crimes. The AML Policy indicates the kind of potentially suspicious transactions or activities that employees should look out for.
The Group has set out the key provisions relating to anticorruption legislation. The Group has also adopted a whistleblowing policy and procedures for all levels and operations under the Group, so staff can raise concerns – in confidence – about possible improprieties such as misconduct and malpractice in any matter related to the Group. These policies and procedures together with the code of conduct can be found in the employee handbook.
Additionally, a tendering procedure is adopted for all projects to prevent corruption, and all tender documents are kept confidential, restricted to concerned parties. Tender evaluations are systematically based on the Group’s internal policies.
During the Year, no legal case regarding corrupt practices was brought against the Group or its employees. Also, no whistleblowing concerning a criminal offence or misconduct was reported.
Compliance with Laws and Regulations
The Corporate Governance Committee is delegated by the Board to review and monitor the policies and practices on compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, including but not limited to the following ordinances which have significant impact on the Group:
- Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (Cap. 615, Laws of Hong Kong)
- Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622, Laws of Hong Kong)
- Competition Ordinance (Cap. 619, Laws of Hong Kong)
- Conveyancing and Property Ordinance (Cap. 219, Laws of Hong Kong)
- Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57, Laws of Hong Kong)
- Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (Cap. 201, Laws of Hong Kong)
- Residential Properties (First-hand Sales) Ordinance (Cap. 621, Laws of Hong Kong)
- Legal Framework for the Operations of Casino Games of Fortune (Law No. 16/2001, Laws of Macau)
- Macau Labour Relations Law (Law No. 7/2008, Laws of Macau)
The Group holds relevant licences required for provision of services, such as estate agent licence (for property agency services), Junket Promoter Licence issued by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, Administrative Licence issued by Macau Government Tourist Office (for entertainment and hospitality services in Macau), etc.; and the management must ensure that the conduct of business conforms with the applicable laws and regulations.
The Legal Department works to provide an in-house legal and compliance service that effectively supports various operation units in their duties and day-to-day operation to comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulations.
Updates to the relevant applicable laws, rules and regulations are brought to the attention of relevant employees and relevant operation units from time to time. The management must ensure that business is conducted in accordance with the relevant applicable laws and regulations.
Embracing the mission “From the Community, To the Community”, the Group actively promotes diverse community campaigns spanning elderly welfare, underprivileged communities and environmental conservation initiatives. The Group’s management team also plays an important role in mobilizing staff to join all these activities, which are held in tandem with its commitment to sustainable development.
In June 2019. With the commencement of operation of the Albert Yeung Sau Shing (Funing, China) Elderly Service Centre, various employees of the Group, together with Emperor Entertainment Group artistes Chen Bing and Pang Yunong, and representatives of the local government of Funing County, joined the volunteering tour and passed sincere greetings to the senior citizens.
During the Mid-Autumn Festival in 2019, excess mooncakes were collected by the Group from staff and donated to a subsidiary of Pok Oi Hospital. The mooncakes were then given to people from ethnic minorities at Tin Shui Wai, to share the joy and celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival with them.
As the Black Diamond Sponsor, Emperor Foundation supported the Alex Fong’s 45km Swims Around HK Charity Challenge, initiated by the charity organization in December 2019. A Drop of Life, by making a donation. The funds raised was used for providing clean drinking water for 450,000 rural residents who are short of water.
To proactively carry out corporate social responsibility, the Group cooperated with a local charitable organisation, Foodlink Foundation, during the “Emperor International CNY Gathering 2020” in January 2020, and purchased Chinese New Year’s sticky rice cake vouchers from Golden Valley, a restaurant in The Emperor Hotel, for a charity sale during the event. The funds raised, without deducting the cost, were all donated to Foodlink Foundation through Emperor Foundation, in order to provide a heartfelt dinner during Chinese New Year to needy people.
With the outbreak of Pandemic during the Year, Emperor Group has donated medical protection supplies and funds totalling RMB10 million through the Emperor Foundation to the Hubei Charity Federation and Social Workers Across Borders in January 2020, to support the emergency epidemic prevention work in Hubei Province and Hong Kong. More than 100 non-invasive ventilators were included, for symptomatic treatment to assist patients with severe illness to effectively improve their respiration. Another 10,000 sets of medical protective equipment were purchased, to provide support and assistance to medical institutions, and its medical staff standing on the front line and patients with severe illness in Hubei Province.
In addition, the Group has been awarded the 15 Year Plus Caring Company Logo by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, recognising its ongoing commitment to fulfilling its corporate social responsibilities
Funing, Jiangsu Volunteering Tour
Supplies and Funds Donation for Pandemic Prevention Work