Protecting the Environment

Reduce our environmental footprint and combat climate change

Management Approach

Environmental Management
Climate Change and Air Quality
Resources Management
Biodiversity

Environmental Management

We have an Environmental Policy that guides us in how we protect the environment, use resources, reduce emissions and waste, and mitigate our impacts on biodiversity. In addition to this policy, we have a Sustainable Purchasing Policy to encourage the use of environmentally friendly products and services at Towngas.

We also have a Corporate Environmental Manual for our frontline staff, which sets out the standards, procedures and guidelines they should be following. Two other documents published by the Company — our Green Office Practice Guide and Green Event Practical Guide — outline the best environmental practices in these two areas.

In each of the jurisdictions where we operate, we fully comply with all major regulatory requirements and benchmark our performance against the highest international standards and codes of practice. For the new projects we undertake, we begin with an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) according to the local legal requirements.

Since 1999, our gas production facilities at Tai Po in Hong Kong have been certified to the ISO 14001 standard to reduce our environmental impacts and drive continuous improvement. We have also been helping our project companies in the Chinese mainland to achieve the same standard.

Monitoring and Reporting

Sound environmental practices begin with good corporate governance. Our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Committee is responsible for coordinating and steering our environmental initiatives as well as monitoring our environmental performance. This committee is supported by an Environmental Working Committee and the Corporate Sustainability Department. There are also 12 Environmental Sub-committees and green ambassadors, who are responsible for mobilising resources, implementing environmental projects and disseminating environmental messages. For more details on our management structure, please refer to Governance Structure

A primary focus of our environmental efforts is ensuring our facilities comply with all relevant environmental standards and identifying areas for continuous improvement. To that end, we conduct regular audits and inspections of our facilities, including our mainland utility projects in the Chinese mainland where we have been performing annual environmental audits since 2011. These audits cover energy conservation, waste and wastewater management practices, as well as noise control measures.

Engaging Stakeholders

The participation of our stakeholders (including employees, suppliers, customers, etc.) in environmental conservation is vitally important to us. To raise awareness and build capacity among our stakeholders, we organise training sessions, seminars and site visits as well as a range of other activities. What’s more, we have set aside funds for our environmental protection initiatives and the Green Creativity Fund to develop innovative environmental initiatives suggested by our employees.

We also share knowledge, exchange ideas and seek partnerships with government authorities, industry practitioners, green groups and others so that we can remain up-to-date on issues of environmental concern and drive improvement.

Climate Change and Air Quality

Our Climate Change Policy and Environmental Policy outline our commitment to managing and minimising our climate change impacts and enhance air quality, energy and resources management.

Most of our air emissions, which include carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx) and respirable suspended particulates (RSP), are the result of combustion of fuels. We control and monitor these emissions on a continual basis to ensure our plants comply with all local regulations.

Climate Change Management

In the transition to a low-carbon economy, we understand the risks associated with a changing climate and have made appropriate provisions for them in our businesses.

These provisions are based on the risks we identified in a comprehensive climate risk assessment in 2015 of our Hong Kong operations under extreme weather events; in 2016, we extended this exercise to our project companies in the Chinese mainland. In 2019, we conducted a gap analysis to better align our climate change management against the Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) under Governance, Strategy, Risk Management, and Metrics and Targets.

In 2020, we also assessed our transition risks and opportunities across Towngas’ energy-related businesses in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland under various climate scenarios. Major transition risks comprise policy changes, reputational impact and shifts in market preferences, including upstream and downstream changes.

In 2021, we initiated another round of physical risk assessments for our critical facilities across the region. Supplemented by computer modelling studies, the assessment identified major physical risks faced by our businesses, such as rising temperatures and sea levels, drought and extreme weather events, all of which could have a significant impact on our operations.

To mitigate physical risk, we incorporate resilience measures at the planning and design stages. Additional measures to protect our existing operations against climate risks include installation of flood gates in our Infrastructure/gas facilities, as well as enhanced maintenance and inspection programmes. We also visit our project companies’ sites to understand their regional climate-related risks and to help them prepare for adverse weather events. This includes advising them on mitigation and resilience measures, as well as the provision of training in combating climate change.

We have also identified opportunities made possible by new technologies, products and services that could enable us to become more resilient and adaptive to climate change.

We review and update our climate-related risks on at least an annual basis to ensure we are sufficiently resilient against this emerging risk. We will continue to align with the TCFD disclosures, not only to communicate with our stakeholders in a more transparent manner but also to ensure our business grows sustainably.

Carbon Management

We are committed to continuously monitoring and reducing our direct and indirect greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. Therefore, we have established Carbon Inventory Accounting Procedures based on international standards such as the GHG Protocol and local guidelines. GHG verifications aligned with ISO 14064-1 are regularly conducted, which allow us to identify areas for continual improvement.

We recognise that our operations emit GHG that contribute to climate change. To mitigate their impact, we have reduced our direct and indirect GHG emissions by upgrading our infrastructure and strengthening our control measures. We also use low-carbon, renewable energy sources such as natural gas and landfill gas, employ energy-efficient equipment and improve our production processes. Additionally, we work continuously with our customers to help them reduce their own GHG emissions.

Resources Management

As stipulated in our Environmental Policy we make every effort to conserve natural resources in our production plants, distribution network and office operations, and also encourage our contractors, suppliers and customers to do the same.

Energy

Our buildings and other physical assets are designed to make the most efficient use of the energy we consume. Our North Point Headquarters building has attained green building standards such as BEAM Plus, while our data centres in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified.

To help our residential customers save energy, we have developed a wide range of energy-efficient appliances with eco-friendly features and add new models every year to our product range of more than 200 appliance models. All eligible water heaters and cooking appliances bear the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department’s Voluntary Energy Labelling Scheme label in Hong Kong, to assist end users in making smart buying decisions.

Water and Effluents

We make a strong effort to use the water we consume more efficiently in our operations. It is utilised as a raw material, for cooling and heating and for domestic use in our offices, customer centres and natural gas stations. The water we consume comes mainly from local municipal water suppliers; in the Chinese mainland, we also use surface water in our water supply business.

Water is discharged to municipal wastewater treatment plants or into the sea after it has been treated in accordance with local regulations. We also consume recycled water where feasible.

To conserve water, we employ new technologies and enhance production processes to reuse and recycle water. Surveys and inspections of our water pipe network are carried out to identify leakage. In our offices and customer centres, we have installed water-saving devices such as dual flush toilets and automatic faucets.

Our water supply and wastewater treatment business in the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and China Water Limited, also hosts various activities, such as tours of its water plant facilities, to educate the public on the need to protect and conserve water resources.

Waste

Our waste management approach is underpinned by the “5R” principle of Replace, Reduce, Reuse, Recover and Recycle, not only within our own operations but also those of our upstream suppliers and downstream customers.

We strive to reduce waste we generate and reuse or recycle to the fullest extent. We ensure all hazardous wastes are treated and collected in strict compliance with local regulations. We also monitor our waste generation on a regular basis by tracking both the solid and liquid waste that is produced and recycled at our facilities.

The waste generated in core gas business includes municipal solid, construction and chemical waste such as spent catalysts within our operations. Our upstream waste includes drilling fluids and cuttings, while downstream waste is minimal.

For our retail gas appliance business, the major waste generated within our operations and upstream is packaging. Our manufacturers and suppliers are constantly adopting new measures to reduce packaging and use the environmentally friendly packaging. With the cooperation of manufacturers, we have eliminated the polyfoam in our packaging for over 90% of our appliances imported from Asia. Used gas appliances from downstream customers are managed under our Used Gas Appliance Recycling Programme.

Biodiversity

Recognising that our gas processing and distribution operations can disturb the land and wildlife habitats, we make a strong effort to limit our impact on biodiversity as stated in our Environmental Policy.

In order to mitigate our impacts, we follow four principles:

Avoid Areas Rich in Biodiversity

We avoid areas rich in biodiversity in the planning stage of our projects. We will carry out a site-specific Environmental Impact assessment, in accordance with local governmental requirements, to address the impacts of development on wildlife and ecosystems.

Mitigate our Impacts through Innovation

We take preventive and corrective measures to minimise the possible impact of our works, including construction work, effluent discharge, and pipeline maintenance, on habitats and species of flora and fauna.

Use Mitigation and Offset Measures during Construction

We implement a variety of mitigation and offset measures for our construction activities, which help to reduce pollution and the loss of topsoil. We also coordinate with local government bodies to preserve the greenery around our industrial sites and stations.

Promote Biodiversity Awareness

We organise activities, such as visits to organic farms and eco tours, for employees and customers.

Key Performance Figures

CLIMATE CHANGE AND AIR QUALITY

Committed to become

carbon neutral by 2050

through energy transition and innovation with two medium-term carbon reduction targets

Carbon intensity of gas production (Hong Kong)

0.588kg CO2e/unit of town gas 23% compared with 2005 baseline

RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

Achieved BEAM Plus Existing Buildings V2.0 Final Platinum – the highest score score in Energy Use Aspect – Comprehensive Scheme category 2020/2021

Used Gas Appliance Recycling Programme:

>1,600 tonnes of metal recovered

Future Actions and Targets

CLIMATE CHANGE AND AIR QUALITY

  • Achieve 2025 carbon reduction targets and become

    carbon neutral by 2050

  • Advance our

    climate change risk assessment

  • Conduct a feasibility study on

    hydrogen separation

    from existing town gas pipeline

  • Supply

    waste heat

    from the Tai Po Gas Production Plant to a neighbouring food factory by Q4 2022

RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

  • Achieve

    15%

    energy reduction targets by 2025 for our North Point Headquarters building, with 2015 baseline

  • Achieve

    zero wastewater discharge

    for our hydro-treated vegetable oil plant and methanol production plant

  • Obtain

    ISO 50001

    Energy Management System Certification for our North Point Headquarters in 2022

  • Achieve the target of

    2%

    increase in the overall energy efficiency of gas appliances by 2030