How to get on track in transforming construction with global responsibility

Environmental good is always precious to preserve, but what does it mean in practice? As environmental impact assessment practitioners, market players still struggle with cost-effective, modernised, scientific approaches to achieving overall environmental, social, and governance (ESG) on the decarbonisation roadmap. We want to help the industry comprehend ESG implications and the latest digitalisation development reaching eco-goals.

Where do we start? Let’s begin with the market.

According to Future of Construction: A Global Forecast for Construction to 2030, global construction output is foreseen to rise by 6.6% in 2021. Government stimuli and residential demands will increase construction by 42% by 2030. What the sector growth implies is a greater risk of pollution and waste. The current 40% of the world’s global greenhouse gas emissions from the construction sector have covered a wider environment – the construction supply chain.

The roadmap is the decarbonisation journey requiring a lot of footsteps to achieve. Each footprint is associated with stakeholders’ enactment. Stakeholder groups in construction sector: The project sponsor, Contractors and subcontractors, Materials suppliers, Designers, Employees, The Authorities, Professional bodies, Communities, End users, etc.

Why is supply chain important in decarbonisation? In the construction sector, from raw materials to steelworks and concrete production, the suppliers may not be listed companies, but they are in the supply chain affecting ESG performance.

Each company has their carbon footprint. So have their suppliers. Let’s take building materials companies’ ESG risks as examples. S&P Global ratings unveil building materials companies consume substantial fuels for production, resulting in greenhouse emissions and other kinds of pollution.

What do we do to get on track in transforming businesses with global responsibility?

Law enforcement elevates the environmental consultancy industry – Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Ordinance. Environmental Licence Permit holder is liable for breaching, including all their suppliers’. There are emerging needs other than EIA, such as ESG reporting, roadmap, implementation plan.

Listed construction companies are now reporting on ESG matters. In 2016, the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the HKEX”) raised a requirement for listed companies in Hong Kong to report their ESG performance. Supply chain management is one of the reporting areas.

Source: HKEX

Practitioners have a responsibility to advise their clients about ESG matters of their construction project. Because ESG ricks, including ESG supply chain risks have negative effects on 1) non-alignment with investor values, 2) operational risks, and 3) financial risks. (source: UNPRI.org)

It is also not a straight road towards the new direction. For construction sector, we observe numbers of challenges for them to reach comprehensive ESG targets. They are:

1) The project stakeholders have to handle a high volume of environmental data

2) It is time-consuming and labour-intensive for data collection and distribution

3) It is a pain point to identify the source

4) Data storage capacity is always a problem

5) It is difficult to communicate effectively to project sponsors and stakeholders

6) It is disputable to assign responsibility when handling the complaint

Can technology disruption help the challenges? Yes, technology can help a great deal. Technology advancement enables web-based, online, open system architecture. “Control Centre” Concept allows one-stop EM&A workflow management. Secured remote access, real-time data reporting & data analysis, and real-time event/action triggering & warning secure data integrity, which eventually leads to close-to-the-reality decision-making. Preventive maintenance echos with compliance management. Smart manufacturing streamlines sound facility management.

We believe in the power of digitalisation. Digitalisation powers communication, interaction, scalability, intelligence, and integration. Learn more about our key solutions for your eco, profitable goals.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday Newer,
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

How do we tie the relation between data integrity and environmental protection

Ethics rule our behaviours. We see ethical marketing, ethical company governance, ethical issues at the workplace, and many more in the community. As an environmental consultant, what are our ethical practices to ensure things go the right way?

According to the National Association of Environmental Professionals, integrity is one of the keystones of being a professional environmentalist, from collecting environmental data, interpreting the data, presenting the data in reports, and engaging scientific methods in research, planning, design, management, and review of activities.

Why do we pick data to tie integrity and the environment? Data integrity represents the overall data accuracy, completeness, and consistency during its lifecycle. Data authenticity, entirety, and transparency matter when there is an unauthorised data alteration in the database. The inaccurate data shifts the decision makers’ thinking path, causing poor judgment.

As the environmental protection trend goes, infrastructure project proponents, including the builders, the operators are obliged to monitor and manage the environment where the facilities are sitting. The environmental ordinance has pre-set scopes and parameters as a benchmark to scrutinise the impacts. The facility nature defines which regulation the facility should comply with. In Hong Kong, we have diverse environmental ordinances to fulfil – air, water, waste, noise, hazardous chemicals, ozone layer, mercury and more. The environmentalists will scientifically conduct the measurement by collecting environmental data to analyse the facilities’ environmental performance and test whether they comply with the regulation.

That is how we connect the relationship between data integrity and environmental protection.

The need for integrated environmental monitoring boosts the use of data management platforms. The data management platforms incorporate the Internet-of-Things (IoT) sensory device to receive real-time environmental data and synchronise the data to the online platform through the Internet. The IT security secures the network from illegal penetration. The data is untouched by third-party through the control-centre monitoring – this is the main reason why the data remains a virtue.

One of the environmental IoT development is the noise compass. The three-dimensional Noise Compass can alert the project staff by selecting alarms for combinations of sound pressure levels
and incident angles. Thus, we can exclude sections of the measurement when the source location is outside the interest region. For example, when Leq is above 75 dB, and the sound is coming from the construction site, excluding the parts of a measurement contaminated by railway noise from the LDEN calculation.

The integrated environmental monitoring platform is the communication bridge between the IoT device and the project stakeholders. The system tracks the critical events. The project proponent applies rules to alert key stakeholders if over the limit. The platform can also be enhanced with visualisation. The visualisation further streamlines the environmental monitoring works with modules of site overview visualisation, CCTV Livestream, various ecological tracking and project management.

On the one hand, it manages spatial data, non-structured data, structure data, IoT data, CCTV streaming data, and analyse data. On the other hand, it aids the project stakeholders by viewing the project through the interactive chart and map, dual charts and maps comparison, 2D Drones Orthophoto, time-varied Animation, geo-tag information input and Photo gallery. Customised dashboard and back-end analysis is a plus to the users to diagnose the data for reporting. None of the above environmental visualisations and reports would be correctly built without proper data import.

ANewR Consulting Limited is exhilarated to be commissioned to design, develop, and maintain a one-stop 3D visualisation platform for IWMF, Hong Kong’s flagship waste management facilities – The Integrated Waste Management Facilities. The Integrated Waste Management Facilities (IWMF), the municipal waste incineration plant, is located at Shek Kwu Chau. IWMF will be built on an artificial island, which means reclamation is inevitable. Besides the terrestrial ecology of Shek Kwu Chau, Shek Kwu Chau is inhabited by about 300 rehabilitators and staff of the Society for the Aid and Rehabilitation of Drug Addicts (SARDA). Comprehensive environmental monitoring is imperative for the project’s hit without adversely impacting the ecology and the inhabitants. And, this is why we encourage integrated environmental monitoring practice.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday Newer,YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

What do we do for our client in the land contamination assessment

At the beginning of 2021, BBC News reported that the oil giant was sued for polluting the community. The news illustrates the corporate effort in maintaining good health in the operating area concerning its reputation. The neglect would cause the lawsuit and cost penalty for the improper supply chain management. It is wrong to think local community and regulations are not under the corporate scope. Apart from achieving Sustainable Development Goals and avoiding penalties, health and safety are other critical reasons to pre-assess the land condition before the development.

Redeveloping a place is typical worldwide. New construction taking up the used ground for a new purpose revitalises the land – from contaminated land to sustainable urban development. In the US, the determining factors are founded on the release volume, total population exposed, proximity or impact to groundwater aquifers, drinking water wells contaminated, source water protection areas, unique exposure pathways, or environmental justice communities.

Because of the land limitation, urban residential redevelopment is the most cases in Hong Kong. We have regulations assessing the land for reuse, changing the land use, especially from industrial to residential use. For business continuity, another spot required by law for regular checkups is the petrol filling station. Petroleum leakage and seeping would likely cause pollution, impacting the local ecosystem significantly.

Environmental consultants support the clients in site appraisal, investigation, and remediation suggestions in the land contamination assessment. Taking petrol filling station as an example, the checkups of leaks from pipework, tanks and offset fill pipes, the operations such as spills during customer refuelling, filling underground storage tanks and overfilling portable containers are the conceivable reason for land contamination. You can picture how it was operated underlies the potential adverse impact on the future redevelopments.

Key Chemicals of Concern (COCs) are the parameters that environmental consultants would look at from the laboratory analytical results. The environmental consultants interpret the results for the clients, let them understand the issue, recommend remediation action, evaluate remediation alternatives, design and operation of remediation, implement and monitor the programme. In this case, independent consultants are essential to ensure the authenticity and integrity of the reports.

Learn with us for more.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday Newer,YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

Continue to enrich our ocean awareness

We are happy to connect prominent ocean activists to learn more about the burning ocean issues.

Shark Lady

Watch the webinar at Matters Academy – https://www.matters.academy/course/save-sharks-shark-lady

For the past 30 years, Ms. Richey has lived in Hong Kong and worked for a wide variety of corporate and NGO entities. Since 2015, she has worked and volunteered for the Hong Kong Shark Foundation in many capacities, most recently as the Executive Director raising awareness about shark conservation and educating people to stop eating shark fin soup and all shark products. 

Shark fin soup has long been consumed, dating all the way back to the Song Dynasty. The massive decline in the shark population in recent years brings to light the importance of saving sharks. 

In this lecture, we have invited Ms Andrea Rickey, also known as the Shark Lady, to share her passion in being part of the Hong Kong Shark Foundation. Learn about how sharks benefit the ocean, why we need to protect sharks, and what we can do to save them in this lecture. 

An SME’s Dive into ESG-Stephen Au Founder of Diving Adventure

Watch the webinar at Matters Academy Youtube channel – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JnVfLTEW7w&t=1226s

Stephen Au is a diving training director with more than ten years of experience in training divers and instructors of all levels. Experienced in training thousands of divers, Stephen has organized diving groups worldwide, including Maldives, Red Sea, Palau, South America, Ecuador, Costa Rica, the Philippines, Indonesia, etc. His diving enthusiasm has even extended to travel to Antarctica and ice diving in Hokkaido, Japan. In addition to diving teaching, Stephen also actively promotes marine conservation, encouraging the public to establish an environmentally friendly and healthy lifestyle and appreciate the beauty of the ocean together.

ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) is no longer just a hot topic for multinational companies. In fact, an SME from a very niche industry has been awarded for their efforts in ESG. Mr. Stephen Au, an experienced diver and the Founder of Diving Adventure will share with us about his green initiative, how he brought people with disabilities into the action and his ESG initiative as an SME in Hong Kong.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday Newer,
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

real estate is the significant entity shaping our sustainable future.

Sustainability embraces a sense of stewardship for the natural environment, harmonious with business’s ethical and professional conduct. What haunts our climate and environment most is carbon emission, which we do not see with our bare eyes. Coming into our daily lives, real estate is the significant entity shaping our sustainable future. Can you imagine how many buildings do we need to keep us safe and warm? The global population will surpass 8 billion by 2030. Over 60% of the world’s population (4.9 billion people) will be living in urban environments. Economically, 61% of global GDP will converge on the largest 750 cities. We will demand 260 million new homes, 540 million m2 of new office space, and 60 million new jobs in industry (World Economic Forum).

The severity of climate change has been shaping our way of livings and doing. On the other way round, our actions alter the climate. The moment right now is not to maintain the emission level to prevent climate change but to recover the environment from severe damage. According to World Economic Forum, the real estate sector consumes more energy than any other sector. Carbon emission measurement is complex. World Economic Forum urges this notable CO2 emission of the real estate sector to wake up from the critical situation derived:

  • The sector uses over 40% of global energy yearly;
  • 20% of total global greenhouse gas emissions start from buildings;
  •  There is a forecasted 56% jump in building CO2 emissions by 2030;
  • A 7% increase in the proportionate portion of global GHG emissions is foreseen by 2030;
  • Buildings hire 40% of raw materials globally.

World Bank estimates a 1.25% reduction in annual energy consumption and a 3% reduction in annual emissions from the real estate sector will be closer to the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. The new non-CO2 emitting energy for the built environment is the ultimate target to save our earth.

Therefore, we have green buildings. It is expected that commercial buildings with green elements to rise to 55% in 2020. Lower operating cost is the decisive driving factor to trigger green building popularity (World Green Building Trends Report). Marketably, green buildings support brandings and public relations. When it comes to corporate social responsibility, it is the right thing to do. What about the investors’ preferences? JLL, a global commercial real estate services company, unveils that 50% of investors across the APAC region, including Australia, China, India, Japan, and Singapore, will prioritise green-certified real estate for the corporate occupiers’ commitment to net zero. JLL claims 70% of APAC companies are unhesitant to pay a rental premium to rent sustainability-certified buildings at the business operation level.

Besides the target of the 1.5°C and all of the economic perspective, the corporates would find it hard to apprehend the green building value chain where the sustainability lies from Design, Construct, Buy, Sell and Rent, Manage, Retrofit, and last but not most minor, End of Life. At the design and construction stage, the builders have to put the followings in their mind:

  • environmental monitoring
  • green building specialist assessments such as noise from building equipment
  • life cycle costing
  • water saving or reduction estimations
  • water quality survey
  • indoor air quality (IAQ)
  • thermal comfort measurements
  • construction IAQ management
  • room acoustic and vibration, etc.

Intelligent technologies are undoubtedly one of the viable solutions. World Economic Forum reveals that innovative technology for new buildings saves c.44 Mt CO2e. World Cities Submit presents that the use of virtual technology reduces 20 percent of heat gain. What are these intelligent environmental initiatives in real estate?

Data Management Platform
It is a digital dashboard available for universal accessibility as long as with the Internet connection. The dashboard keeps track of key performance indicators (KPIs) – for example, energy use, water usage, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By forecasting risks, the property owners can minimise asset depreciation and essential maintenance expenditure. The energy consumption can be adjusted to the efficiency level.

Photo above: ESG dashboard to record greenhouse gases emission and resources consumption for a more efficient management

Digital Inspections and Predictive Maintenance
The asset performance goes downward because of getting old. Predictive maintenance with a designated dashboard can identify inefficient operation in advance, which would lead to further use of energy, carbon emission, and eventually higher operating cost. Utilising the modern Internet of Things with the digital platform masters the laborious tasks for humans inspections. The preventive act has a legitimate aim – when the potential failure can cause a severe casualty, property owners have the responsibility to reduce the risk of catastrophic failure. Preventive maintenance practice has been proved by the outstanding accuracy and the cost reduction result.

Video above: The bottom line is the final total of an account or balance sheet. In 1994, the bottom line concept was essentially transformed because of the entrepreneur and business writer John Elkington. The triple bottom line was coined. The three bottom lines (Profit, People, and Planet) harmonise seamlessly with ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) that the corporates are coping with nowadays. But how to practice sustainability, based on an accounting framework.

Buildings have a lifespan of 50-80 years before they are demolished and replaced. Property owners who have a passion for achieving sustainability in their properties should also consider the end of life and zero waste construction and retrofit and adaptation for Life-Span Extension. All of the above are professional environmental practices. Engage a digital and ecological expert to support your projects to achieve a higher environmental standard in compliance with relevant credit requirements.

Video above: Do you know? According to the official website, BEAM Plus, formerly known as HK-BEAM (first initiated in 1996), is one of the most widely used voluntary green building certification schemes of its kind globally, on a per capita basis.
Video above: Managed service is the outsource practice to support the project managers at ease with the critical, time-consuming administration and management tasks. Why outsource the critical tasks? What are the advantages in hiring managed service?

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: 
https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday NewerYouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

What is TCFD (the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures)?

It was thought that climate change had nothing to do with business. To think about it in the long term, do you dare?

Photo above: Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (https://www.fsb-tcfd.org)

Let’s talk about it. You are running a business. In a disaster triggered by climate change, your staff may not be able to go to work for alarming weather warnings. A storm may ruin your office building. The climate event is disruptive enough to cease the productivity.

There is a will; there’s a way. Before acting, stop and think about what you need. Do you have a figure about how likely your business will be impacted? What about the model for your future investment in the climate change era, which seems unlikely to get well soon? We are almost getting there – what you need is the climate-related financial numbers for your decision making.

The Financial Stability Board has created the TCFD (the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures) to support the idea of transparency in climate-related financial reporting. Numbers of recommendations are extracted here from the TCFD report for you to realise the objectives and guidelines.

First, Governance – to disclose the organization’s governance around climate-related risks and opportunities.

Secondly, Strategy – to disclose the actual and potential impacts of climate-related risks and opportunities on the organization’s businesses, strategy, and financial planning where such information is material.

Risk management – to disclose how the organization identifies, assesses, and manages climate-related risks.

Metrics and targets – to disclose the metrics and targets used to assess and manage relevant climate-related risks and opportunities where such information is material.

The four core elements of recommendations are based on the principles for effective disclosure.

Principles for effective disclosures: 1) represent relevant information, 2) be specific and complete, 3) be clear, balanced, and understandable, 4) be consistent over time, 5) be comparable among companies within a sector industry or a portfolio, 6) be reliable, verifiable, and objective, and 7) be provided on a timely basis

It may be hard for you to imagine what will happen to your business in a catastrophe. Scenario analysis is recommended for you to consider the future impact.

As suggested by TCFD, the scenario analysis may not give you an accurate impact result; it still leads you to think about your business’s worst-case. Sustainable development is all about the environment and human development, what makes your business to be sustainable.

The TFCD recommendations are boundlessly applicable across various industries and countries. It is time to think forward and act on it.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday Newer,
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

What move could the corporates take to demonstrate their authentic selves?

The bottom line is the final total of an account or balance sheet. In 1994, the bottom line concept was essentially transformed because of the entrepreneur and business writer John Elkington. The triple bottom line was coined. The three bottom lines (Profit, People, and Planet) harmonise seamlessly with ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) that the corporates are coping with nowadays.

“Triple bottom line (TBL), in economics, believes that companies should commit to focusing as much on social and environmental concerns as they do on profits. TBL theory posits that instead of one bottom line, there should be three: profit, people, and the planet. A TBL seeks to gauge a corporation’s level of commitment to corporate social responsibility and its impact on the environment over time.” (Investopedia)

If the corporates do not look into the triple bottom line, they will be noted as obsolete. They may fall into a reputational crisis when they do not act on it. The operational practice mirrors the actual value they hold. Profit is straightforward to quantify as it is numerical. What about the intangible people and planet that seem not initiatively be compatible in the accounting? The far-reaching environmental and social impacts ironically shorten the sight into the business resolutions. It matters to sustainability, and this is the total cost of doing business, after all.

It is tricky to measure and communicate solidly for something uncertain. Standards are established to guide sustainability performance with a KPI set. It highly concerns stakeholders the business would affect. The corporates should get the KPIs managed with authentic actions.

What move could the corporates take to demonstrate their authentic selves?

When involving people, preventive maintenance will significantly change the course, and the result can be observed in the accounting – Total recordable incident rate (TRIR) and fatality rate for direct employees and contract employees.

Preventive maintenance is the systematic approach the owners take to protect the stakeholders from catastrophic operation failures in a precautionary way. The process entails routine inspections, maintenance, and repairs on assets. Not at the time when it breaks, but before it reaches its expiry.

In the building aspect, asset deterioration means a shorter building life expectancy and an unfriendly environment for tenants. In a factory area, machinery failure causes operation discontinuity; and affects operability and profitability. If corporates can predict the breakdown and act on it before, they will avoid vital loss on the asset, people, and eventually businesses. When the failure happens on consumer commodities, the prevention measures become more evident because the potential casualty points to productivity, safety, and reputation issues.

The above vivid revelations turn the triple bottom line apparent and the need for inspection, detection, correction, and prevention. These proactive procedures diminish the asset depreciation rate and extend the life of the assets, which would be exposed in the monetary term—notably, the financial consequence resulting from legal proceedings associated with defect- and safety-related incidents.

Our prime case study of the predictive maintenance using the acoustic camera to detect the flaws conceivably provoking derailment has shown us that the manual cost is 1.3 times higher than the predictive-maintenance-with-IoT cost. It is over 95% of accuracy to pick up the defect wheel of Rolling Stock. In worldwide, McKinsey once estimated the global rail maintenance market to be about EUR 50 billion per year. Among which, 25% efficiency is lost due to inefficient, unreliable predictive condition-based maintenance. SMRT’s 2016 annual report unveiled the number of rail maintenance staff by almost a quarter since 2013. Nearly half of the rail revenue was spent on maintenance-related tasks, rising by $18.0 million or 14.8% to $139.9 million, associated mainly with the strict maintenance regime for the ageing network and more trains scheduled overhaul, maintenance work.

Put yourself into the shoes of other infrastructure industries; when the asset size grows with extended operation hours, the duration between each checking for the same asset set also doubles. The preventive maintenance practice identifies a potential problem without interrupting regular operation. The method can reduce the number of breakdowns, unplanned maintenance, and the required level of reserve asset capacity. Once any irregularities have been detected, the department in charge will receive an alert, and hence they can follow-up action and repair the assets immediately to minimize accidents. It helps enhance the company’s corporate image by promising stakeholders and employees safety and customer services. Since the preventive maintenance is non-intrusive, i.e., being monitored and analysed in real-time, interruption to the regular operation remains ultimately minimal.

Maintenance is one of the value chains to support the corporate’s market status and customer service commitment. The predictive maintenance on the railway has reached tangible benefits – enhance the passenger safety, the feasibility of maintenance schedule of rolling stock, and the accuracy of maintenance checking. The performance can be seen in corporate’s integrated reporting. It is time to consider the transformative predictive maintenance approach for your assets.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday Newer, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

Communications mandatory for ESG performance disclosure

We gradually see more countries imposing disclosure terms on a company’s environmental and sustainability performance. Authentic performance is of great importance to be the leader in your working industry. People who want to be the first in the world could lead by an invention, innovation, and creativity developed for products or services. It also could be the first move to enhance environmental practice through legislation. New Zealand makes climate reporting compulsory. In Hong Kong, a revised ESG Reporting Guide (“Guide”) has been launched by the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited, effective from 1 July 2020. Companies will need to extend their techniques to respond to the latest reporting challenges, such as how, when, and what they need to report. It is a move addressing the growing concern of climate change issues. An outstanding leader can act as a driving force to encourage good things to happen. ESG disclosure becomes a key factor for forward-looking companies and investor decisions.

The government policies issued worldwide have demonstrated the growing demand in disclosing decision-useful data. For industries, the environmental data has a significant advantage for national climate programs and economic instruments such as carbon taxes and emissions trading. Energy supplies and engird intensive companies are regularly criticised for their emission performance. Quantitative data is of great value in both sustainability factors and economic administration. Here below are few examples of climate-related data disclosures that increasingly common in reporting provisions since the 2000s (Carrots & Sticks Report, 2020):

  • Mandatory GHG Accounting System (2005), issued by Ministry of Environment, Japan
  • Green Posting System (GHG emissions and energy use) (2012), issued by Financial Services Commission, South Korea
  • GHG Monitoring Regulation (2014), issued by Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, Turkey
  • Circular No. 52 Law N 20.780 / Carbon Tax (2014), issued by Ministries of Finance and Environment, Chile
  • Energy Transition Law (institutional investors, banks, and listed companies to report on climate risks, 2015), issued by the Ministry of Environment, France
  • National GHG Emission Reporting Regulations (2017), issued by the Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa
Photo above: Carrots & Sticks report 2020

Besides the regulation and economic factors, communication between the companies and the stakeholders is a task that can never miss. This is the communication strategy to inform your investors, potential investors, and stakeholders about how you perform. The long-standing impression and reputation matter to the investors and potential investors when they are in a maze among investment options. It is also about community relations, which you find your operation area is at. Without utilising the diverse communication channel, the company could find it hard to engage stakeholders, investors, and potential investors thoroughly. Through various ways, the stakeholder engagement channels by annual reporting, periodic reports, investor briefs, newsletters, press releases, and web announcements and engagement events.

Photo above: (Form Carrots & Sticks Report) Disclosures venue referenced by reporting provision: 2013, 2016 and 2020 (expanded breakdown)

We are coming into the digital age, effective and efficient communications are the great interest the data and format would be delivered to stakeholders reliably, comparably, and timely. How to operate the communications for ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance)? Here below are some tips for you:

  1. Green publishing – eco-friendly paper type and ink, graphic design optimisation, summary factsheet, sustainable packaging, and logistic methods.
  2. Digital engagement – mini-games through social media and web, Whatsapp stickers, web accessibility, and interactive PDF, video production, e-form, animated CSR report,
  3. Events and activities – staff awareness program,
  4. Gifts and premium – green lifestyle items
  5. Awards and recognition – standard achievement

ESG is more than data reporting. The reporting is a communication tool to engage stakeholders, inform stakeholders of the company performance. Beyond reporting, the company has to have actual action on the ESG attainment. If not, there will be no meaningful data to complete the ESG reporting. A consultancy service would benefit the company to comprehend the environmental status achieved more than a reporting scheme. A trustful consultancy service comprises a project manager, coordinator, and marketer in charge of planning, executing, controlling the timeline, being the focal point of communications, and engaging stakeholders by an integrated approach. From strategic advisory, gap analysis, and content analysis to raw data conversion into KPI by ESG Dashboard, these are decisive steps to guarantee ESG attainment’s excellence.

Photo above: ESG Dashboard assists the project owner in effectively organising all data in one reporting platform.
Photo above: The lecture – Effective ESG Disclosure Strategies Essential to Success aims to update the trends of ESG disclosure strategies with industrial, professional insights.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday Newer,
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

Sustainability pioneer’s advice on meaningful reporting

A report is the means to share data and support decision-making. Reporting influences stakeholders, and increasingly shareholders’ perceptions. Hence, transparency in reporting is crucial for a company to earn stakeholders’ trust and reputation. To prepare ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance), sustainability, as well as CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) reports, companies recognise the central role materiality plays. The definitions of materiality are evolving. Significant resources deliver to use; large chunks of data to adapt the context to the definitions set by the reporting authorities, to channel the corporate message. The CEO and top leadership allocate resources to the reporting tasks and, by approving the final document before publication. The top management teams held both publicly and internally accountable for the content. The report identifies the unique story of the company.  The report content is the foundation from which the core message arises and for which the reporting team is responsible for delivering.

The founder of ESG Matters, Dr. Glenn Frommer, is our bearded grandpa of sustainability. His life experience and caring character have earned him this familial title. As the sustainability pioneer, he had partaken in setting up standards such as GRI G4 Reporting Guideline, the AccountAbility 1000AP Standard, and Reporting 3.0. How did he go from being an aerospace student to a sustainability pioneer? What does he think about the difficult part of setting up standards for reporting? Let’s find out more about his journey!

Photo above: Dr. Frommer from ESG Matters

Q1: Hello! Dr. Frommer, I have heard your team call you grandpa. How did you get this title?

A: My sustainability history with my long flurry beard earns me the grandpa’s name of sustainability. I was working on the noise propagation study in the before-computer era in the 70s. It is hard for my young team to imagine all data reduction, slopes, and plotting done by hand calculation. At that time, It took me one year to map one million points on graph paper.

Since then, I have put my effort into NASA’s Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRV) program and NYU medical school pulmonary testing, applying fluid mechanics to breathing. I began my Ph.D. at Stanford University in California in 1973, looking at how the cochlear transformed acoustical signals into electrical ones and how the brain uses the information. Complexity and cutting-edge stuff put me onto the idea of working in a societal area.

My working profile of over twenty-two years in Mass Transit Railway (MTR) consolidated my academic knowledge and my work experiences into sustainability. That is why I got the title of the grandpa of sustainability.

Q2: How had you moved from your aerospace academic background to the sustainability field? Do you see your staying in Hong Kong as one of the turning points?

A: Since my move to Hong Kong in August 1992, I have rooted my ESG matters in this place with no question.

Independence at my young age did an excellent job for me, especially when I started to work on my own as an Environmental Manager in the Projects Division in MTR. Engaging in the project of the longest road in the world and rail suspension bridge and associated rolling stock, I was there to ensure the success of the Lantau and Airport Railway (LAR). The success in terms of my then-position meant zero environmental impacts raised from the LAR projects, having no harm to human lives and biodiversity around the site.

The year 2013 was the turning point of my life – retiring from the position as Head of Sustainability from MTR. I have been talking about sustainability for over twenty-two years. After my retirement, how could I sustain my advisory work and further develop from my experience to my goal of working in a societal area?

In 2014, I founded ESG Matters Limited.

I have never stopped learning, from my academics, from my career, from my life. I have comprehended well about learning during my time in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has an exceptional culture of learning, and we can build on that for sustainable development. We are all far behind what we need to achieve. There are almost no countries capable of providing a sustainable lifestyle with regenerating natural resources for our future generations. The current Covid-19 event is just the first test. Climate change is not far behind; after that, the biodiversity will collapse. There is so much to do and not much time to do it in.

Q3: What is ESG Matters? More than a company name, what do ESG Matters mean to you?

A: Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) matters to our society, our employees, our government, and our investors. ESG is the entire spectrum of environmental and social issues that make our organizations accountable while seeking continual improvement. The establishment of ESG Matters Limited hits right on the rising need for ESG. More than advisories, our team shapes ESG Matters with a commitment to accelerate the pace of ESG through technology. That is our flagship ESG Dashboard.

I am very fortunate to be associated with a young, intelligent, and dedicated team at ESG Matters. Our team has so much to encounter. I am confident that our team will commit to technological progress in the ESG sector.

Q4: As our grandpa, what advice would you like to give to the rising leaders who engage themselves in the sustainability field, in an attempt to develop the practices for their corporation?

A: I am pleased that I have got a chance to set up standards such as GRI G4 Reporting Guideline, the AccountAbility 1000AP Standard, and Reporting 3.0. Setting standards is not difficult. The most challenging part is how to apply these standards to real cases. Questions that we will need to ask are: how and what you would measure, how to compute the numbers, how you record, what you would use to compare the result, how you would use the numbers to reduce the impacts to the acceptable level. These are not easy tasks. The key is to develop the process, implement the systems, and get others to recognize the benefits of doing so.

The development is ever-changing, and big corporations are starting to pay more attention to ESG topics, whether for reputation, ESG reporting, commercial purposes. Leaders will need to focus on the areas which are beneficial to employees and organizations concurrently. When CSR is the initiative, ESG factors revealing the performance in the report. It is necessary to develop productive skills, competencies, and habits through continual learning to the ESG factors to confront the evolving world.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday Newer,
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)