JOURNEY NET-ZERO OUR Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21
Contents 1. Introduction 2 2028 sustainability Goals 2 2. Materiality 7 Stakeholder Engagement 7 Materiality Matrix 8 3. Environment, Social and Governance 13 Energy 13 Energy Consumption Overview in 2020/21 13 Energy is From Renewable Sources 15 Energy Reduction Measures 16 Water 17 Water Consumption Overview in 2020/21 17 Water Use Is Environmentally Responsible and Socially Equitable 19 Natural Resources 20 Natural Resources are Managed to Respect theWelfare of Ecosystems, People, and Animals 20 Physical Presence 21 Operations do not Encroach on Ecosystems or Communities 21 Pollution 22 Greenhouse Gases Emissions Overview in 2020/21 22 Operational Emissions do not Harm People or the Environment 25 Waste 25 Waste Generation Overview in 2020/21 25 Operational Waste Is Eliminated 27 People 28 Community and Employee Health is Safeguarded 28 Employees are Paid at Least a LivingWage 30 Employees are Subject to Fair EmploymentTerms 30 Employees are not Subject to Discrimination 31 Employee Concerns are Actively Solicited, Impartially Judged, andTransparently Addressed 31 Drivers 32 Procurement Safeguards the Pursuit of Future-Fitness 32 Business is Conducted Ethically 33 Financial Assets Safeguard the Pursuit of Future-Fitness 34 4. Sustainability Initiatives 35 Education 35 Network 36 Research and Demonstration 37 5. ESG Frameworks 38 Alignment with Future Fit Business Benchmark 38 Alignment with SDG 41 Alignment with GRI 44
Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21 5 Introduction Materiality Environment, Social and Governance Sustainability initiatives ESG frameworks Introduction 2028 Sustainability Goals 1 HKUST def ines sustainabi l i ty as “creat ing the conditions for people to thrive, over time, and within planetary boundaries.” With emphasis on the word “creating,” HKUST acknowledges that positive change is an ongoing process, and that our responsibility as a global leader in the higher education sector is to demonstrate our sustainability commitments in teaching, operations, research, and community engagement. These commitments are public and transparent; the first sustainability master plan – the HKUST 2020 Sustainability Challenge – was initiated in 2014/15 to establish targets and performance goals in these four core areas. The Challenge came to a close in 2020 and was successful in meeting an aggressive target in waste (50% reduction to the landfill) and reached a 7.9% reduction in energy (aiming for an overall reduction target of 10%). While the energy target fell a little short, it was enough to completely offset the energy consumption of four new campus buildings and an increase of campus population of over 10%. In education, HKUST implemented new curriculum, a Sustainability Minor degree program, a Sustainability Education Community of Practice, and a course evaluation scheme that analyzes all coursework and tracks student engagement throughout their four years. The analysis shows that more than 95% of recent graduates took at least one sustainability course, and 68% took two or more. In research and demonstration, the Challenge oversaw the creation of the Sustainable Smart Campus as a Living Lab (SSC), a new initiative that builds on the ingenuity of our campus community to develop innovative ideas for testing and implementation on our campus. The initiative now has over 30 projects supported, includes seed funding for emergent ideas, and facilitates annual student competitions and hands-on project work. For community building, HKUST has a variety of programs for engaging our members, including a Green Team, the Sustainability Education Community of Practice, community gardening, and service learning opportunities. Bui lding on this success, the new HKUST 2028 Sustainability Challenge launched in 2021 will expand the 4 focus areas as shown below. The Challenge was adopted by University Counci l in 2021 and incorporated into the University’s 2028 Strategic Plan.
Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21 6 7 Our Net-Zero Journey Introduction Materiality Environment, Social and Governance Sustainability initiatives ESG frameworks Table 1 (HKUST’s Focus area and its corresponding objectives) Table 2 (HKUST’s goals with its corresponding used strategies) Under Progress and Performance, 5 specific goals are set with comprehensive strategies. A Sustainable Operations Executive Committee chaired by the Vice President for Administration and Business and composed of faculty, administrative staff and student representatives oversees the implementation of the new sustainability master plan and report progress to the campus community. Progress and performance To pursue clear and measurable performance targets for efficiency, resource reductions, and campus improvements Category Energy and GHG Water Waste to the Landfill Landscape and Biodiversity Community Well-being Focus area Objective Sustainability education To create the conditions for all students to graduate with sustainability skills and competencies that will prepare them for career challenges Goal Using the baseline year of 2014, exceed the Hong Kong government energy target by reaching a 15% reduction by 2028. Meet or exceed Science-Based Targets trajectory for reducing overall GHG emissions. Make substantial progress towards UN Sustainable Development Goal #6 CleanWater and Sanitation by limiting potable water consumption to less than 500,000 cubic meters by 2028 By 2028 reduce waste to the landfill by 75% compared to the 2014 baseline year Utilize the campus landscape as an active resource for research, sustainability experimentation, and community engagement. Establish a framework for measuring the well-being of the campus community, and include specific measures for continuous improvement. Status Strategy 1. Aggressively pursue energy reduction opportunities as identified 2. Expand renewable energy opportunities 3. Reduce campus-related GHG emissions from tracer gases and refrigerants 4. Expand metering and data collection to improve analytics and predictive actions 5. Expand community-based behavior campaigns to incorporate the contributions of the HKUST community 1. Aggressively pursue water reduction opportunities in student and staff residences 2. Identify and implement grey water recycling projects 3. Identify and implement rain water capture and recycling projects 4. Develop an irrigation reduction infrastructure using sensors and drip irrigation methods 1. Develop and implement an on-campus composting program for biodegradable materials 2. Institute strategies to eliminate disposables from the campus eating establishments 3. Utilize the purchasing power of the university to motivate vendors to reduce the amount of packaging materials brought to campus 4. Establish a space for repairing, trading, and loaning materials to extend their lives and avoid new purchases 1. Focus on improving soil content through eco-friendly techniques such as the use of compost, biochar, and reduction of chemical fertilizers. 2. Establish a metering system for measuring the amount of water used for irrigation and implement water efficiency measures to reduce consumption measurably. 3. Make more areas of the campus available for formal (SSC) and informal engagement and research. 4. Creation of biodiversity zones on campus that can serve as ways to create inventories of bio-activity. 1. Implement campus improvements focused on their contributions to stress reduction and community enjoyment 2. Revise HKUST sustainable catering policy to emphasize Food Made Good Index priority items 3. Develop a measurement and evaluation framework for assessing community well-being. 4. Monitor air quality, lighting, and other comfort indicators for improving campus conditions for staff and students. Living lab To transform our campus into one where the campus itself is a platform for learning, experimenting, and showcasing new ideas and approaches Building our community To create a vibrant community of faculty, staff, and students to become a trusted source of information and inspiration for the Hong Kong region Status: Not met Partially met On trend Exceeded or met
Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21 9 Introduction Materiality Environment, Social and Governance Sustainability initiatives ESG frameworks Materiality Stakeholder Engagement 2 An important measure of our sustainability performance is the impact we have on stakeholders. The University proactively engages with and collects feedbacks from stakeholders to determine how we impact them, the issues that are most important to them and how we can work together to maximize our relationship. Stakeholders are identified based on their ability to influence our sustainability performance. In 2021, we engaged with our identified stakeholders in a number of ways, detailed below.
Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21 10 11 Our Net-Zero Journey Introduction Materiality Environment, Social and Governance Sustainability initiatives ESG frameworks Table 3 (Stakeholder Analysis) Stakeholder group University Administrative Committee member Staff (teaching and nonteaching) Students How we engage - Materiality survey - Websites - Materiality survey - Materiality focus group - Websites - Events - Materiality survey - Materiality focus group - Websites - Events Frequency Quarterly On-going On-going Key issues raised - Quality teaching and education - Academic freedom and integrity - Community well-being - F.E.D.I. - Academic freedom and integrity - Reduction of waste to landfill - Community well-being - Quality teaching and education - Academic freedom and integrity - Reduction of waste to landfill\ Materiality Matrix We conducted a materiality study in 2020-21 by carrying out a survey of more than 1,200 stakeholders including UAC (University Administrative Committee) members, academic staff, administrative staff and students of HKUST. The materiality matrix on HKUST development maps 16 issues, with their importance to decisions makers (UAC members) appearing on the x-axis while their importance to staff and students on the y-axis. All the 16 issues are positioned based on aggregating the scores assigned to the level of importance by decision makers, staff and students. issues people perceived as most critical that can impact HKUST development and recruitment. Focus area On-going importance Watch list issues people perceived as important that can impact HKUST development and recruitment. issues people perceived as relatively less important that can impact HKUST development and recruitment. To be clear, we recognize that all material issues are relevant to the University, so placement on the watch list does not mean they will be ignored. Rather, this placement suggests there are additional measures needed to raise awareness of their importance. We identified that most of our material issues have remained constant, although some issues have become more prominent in the last 12 months. Quality teaching and education, academic freedom, Fairness, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (F.E.D.I.), climate change and energy consumption, Sustainable Smart Campus as a Living Lab consistently feature among our most material impacts, while community well-being, experiential and hands-on learning now become the focus of our stakeholders. In preparation for this report, we sought the views of a range of stakeholders and the internal sustainability team to establish and validate our most material topics, which are categorized into 4 aspects, Environment, Social, Governance, Education.
Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21 12 13 Our Net-Zero Journey Introduction Materiality Environment, Social and Governance Sustainability initiatives ESG frameworks Table 4 (MaterialTopics examined in Materiality Report) Graph 1 (Materiality study results) The materiality study is helpful for us to identify issues and topics that are most relevant and meaningful to HKUST in its sustainable development journey. Also, it provides us with guidance on effective allocation of resources and a chance to review the adequacy of existing stakeholder communications and engagement. Environment Climate change and energy consumption Water conservation Reduction of waste to landfill Biodiversity on campus Dining impact Social Community well-being Community outreach and engagment F.E.D.I Responsible consumption Governance Data-driven management incorporation of UN's SDGs in decision making Occupational health and safety Education Quality teaching and education Experiential and hands-on learning Academic freedom and integrity Sustainable Smart Campus as a Living Lab
Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21 14 15 Our Net-Zero Journey Introduction Materiality Environment, Social and Governance Sustainability initiatives ESG frameworks Table 5 (Material Issues and their importance to HKUST) Material issues Climate change and energy consumption Water conservation Reduction of waste to landfill Biodiversity on campus Dining impact Community well-being Community outreach and engagement F.E.D.I. Responsible consumption Data-driven management Description Practices that help to reduce greenhouse gases through energy efficiency and renewables. Practices that aim to use water efficiently and reduce unnecessary water wastage. Practices that help to reduce the amount of trash that goes to the landfill. Practices that help protect the variety of animal and plant species on our campus. Practices that help reduce environmental impacts from restaurant daily operation, sourcing, and providing balanced menu options. An effort to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all HKUST members. An effort to support program development, communications and creative work for and with the HKUST community. An effort to integrate Fairness, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion into the university. Practices that take into account socio-economic and socio-environmental criteria during the purchasing process. Practices that value management decisions that are supported by relevant and verifiable data. Relevance to SDGs Goals 7 and 13 Goal 6 Goal 12 Goal 15 Goal 3 Goal 3 Goal 17 Goal 10 Goal 12 Goal 16 Importance to development On-going importance On-going importance Watch list Watch list Watch list Focus area On-going importance Focus area Watch list On-going importance Description Practices that take into account the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals when considering how to meet the university’s needs. An effort to adhere to “best in class” occupational safety and health principles in operations, research, and campus activities. An emphasis on facilitating a teaching and learning environment that develops meaningful pedagogic experiences for students. An emphasis on a hands-on approach to learning that maximizes interactive teaching methodologies to build skills and create memorable experiences. An emphasis on protecting the freedom to teach, study and conduct research without unreasonable interference from public pressure. Practices that aim to transform our campus into a platform for learning, experimenting, and showcasing smart new ideas and approaches that produce sustainable outcomes. Material issues Incorporation of UN’s SDGs in decision making Occupational health and safety Quality teaching and education Experiential and handson learning Academic freedom and integrity Sustainable Smart Campus as a Living Lab Relevance to SDGs Goal 17 Goal 3 Goal 4 Goal 4 Goal 16 Goal 17 Importance to development On-going importance Watch list Focus area Focus area Focus area Focus area
Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21 17 Introduction Materiality Environment, Social and Governance Sustainability initiatives ESG frameworks Environment, Social and Governance Energy Energy Consumption Overview in 2020/21 3 Under Future Fit Business Benchmark reporting framework, there are 23 Breakeven Goals which are categorized into 8 focus areas: Energy, Water, Natural Resources, Physical Presence, Pollution, Waste, People and Drivers. In this section, different measures, initiatives and policies would be highlighted to show how HKUST has been working towards those Breakeven Goals. HKUST is aware that the systematic increases in the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere are the result of the burning of fossil fuels, contributing to climate change. In addition, risky fuel extraction methods (such as shale gas fracking) has led to disruption to the environment. By taking action and addressing energy consumption from non-renewable sources, HKUST aims to reduce our contribution to the demand for fossil fuels and the associated emissions. Currently in HKUST, 95% of total energy consumption comes from electricity. Following that, around 4.8% of total energy consumption comes from Town gas (Natura gas and Naphtha). It is a non-renewable source of energy which contributes to the carbon footprints. It is mainly used in cooking at canteens and domestic hot water in residence halls and staff quarters. Lastly, 0.2% of campus energy comes from liquid fuels for standby generators and diesel / unleaded petrol from transportation vehicles.
Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21 18 19 Our Net-Zero Journey Introduction Materiality Environment, Social and Governance Sustainability initiatives ESG frameworks Table 6 (Total Energy Consumption at HKUST in different years) Table 7 (Total Electricity Consumption distribution among its infrastructure) Furthermore, 72% of total electricity consumption in HKUST comes from the main academic buildings and main chiller plant in 2020/21. Canteens 53.09% Main Academic Buildings 61.49% Main Chiller Plant 8.79% Student Housing 7.69% ChengYuTung Building 6.01% LSK Chiller Piant 0.83% Staff Quarter Common Area 0.78% Staff Quarter & Commercial Outlet 8.94% Main Academic Buildings 4.12% Student Housing 27.89% Staff Quarters 14.09% Graph 3 (Electricity consumption distribution in HKUST in 2020/21) Graph 2 (Town gas consumption distribution in HKUST in 2020/21) Year 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 Year 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 Electricity (million kWh) 90 87 88 Total Electricity Consumption (million kWh) 90 87 88 Town gas (million kWh) 6.13 4.50 4.70 Main Academic Buildings (million kWh) 45 47 48 Liquid fuels / diesels (million kWh) 0.21 0.18 0.22 Main Chiller Plant (million kWh) 17 15 16
Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21 20 21 Our Net-Zero Journey Introduction Materiality Environment, Social and Governance Sustainability initiatives ESG frameworks Energy is from Renewable Sources Energy Reduction Measures Renewable Energy Measures HKUST is looking to commit to a large industrial-scale solar energy project which will install up to 8,000 solar panels at over 50 locations on campus. Solar PV Project With this initiative, HKUST can generate up to 3 million units (kWh) of electricity each year with a reduction of 1.5 million kg of carbon emission per annum over a 25-year period. It will be able to generate around $160 million by the end of *CLP Power’s Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff (FIT) Scheme in 2033. The project is now under construction, 25 systems were completed in May 2021 with an estimated completion time in May 2023. From the renewable energy generation, HKUST will receive an average of $4 million per year which will be reinvested in further campus efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction projects. The 2028 energy goal of HKUST is to exceed the Hong Kong Government energy target by reaching a 15% reduction using the baseline year of 2014. This goal is challenging considering the expansion of the campus footprint, in both population and new buildings. However, HKUST focuses on three strategies for energy reductions: T h i s s t r a t e g y f o c u s e s o n replacement of existing equipment with more efficient equipment at end of life or when an opportunity arises. Examples include campus adoption of LED l ighting, high efficiency pumps, chi l lers, and me chan i c a l equ i pmen t , and improving the design of the data center. This strategy focuses on expanding me t e r s , s e n s o r s , a nd o t h e r smart technologies to moni tor conditions and be more proactive in identifying problem spots for correct ion. Thi s st rategy al so allows for better understanding of conditions for improving efficiency based on occupancy and user needs. Th i s s t ra t egy focuses on b i g projects that have the capacity to reduce energy consumption by 1% or more of the total campus energy consumption. The solar project is considered a step change project, includes an installation b a ck - u p c o o l i n g t owe r s f o r optimizing consumption during shoulder months, and a redesign of our virtual stack fans used for laboratory ventilation. One no t e o f c l a r i t y f o r new buildings. HKUST has adopted a BEAM Plus Platinum threshold for new buildings or renovations over $25 million. While these buildings are designed for high efficiency and exceed the performance of similar buildings, we recognize that they are still net-increases to the energy – and therefore GHG emissions – footprint of the university. *CLP Power’s Renewable Energy Feed-inTariff (FiT) Scheme is a scheme launched by CLP in May 2018. With their goal of promoting the development of renewable energy (RE) in Hong Kong, CLP has conducted various initiatives such as: • Buying renewable energy from customers at attractive tariff rates • Reducing the payback period for renewable energy (RE) system installations Continuous incremental improvements Continuous commissioning Step change measures
Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21 22 23 Our Net-Zero Journey Introduction Materiality Environment, Social and Governance Sustainability initiatives ESG frameworks Water Water Consumption Overview in 2020/21 HKUST recognizes that responsible water use is important but also a complicated issue. Systems can be affected by water consumption, usage, addition, and discharge, and other impacts stemming from operation. We also recognize the importance of acting toward ensuring our use of water doesn’t undermine the system and availability of water for people and the ecosystem that depend on it, minimizing our negative footprint. In HKUST our two main water sources come from potable water and seawater. For potable water, it is clean and drinkable water from the Hong Kong Water Supplies Department which are used around the HKUST campus. On the other hand, seawater mainly comes from Clear Water Bay, and it is mainly used in toilets on campus or at student halls. InYear 2020/21, total potable water consumption reached 336,162 cubic meters, (m3), or 336 million liters, which is equivalent to 133 Olympic sized swimming pools. The water consumption per person was 17m3, which was a 12% reduction compared to last year. Canteen and commercial, and main academic buildings were where consumed the most water, represented 26% and 24% of overall potable water consumption. Water Use is Environmentally Responsible and Socially Equitable HKUST has achieved a steady reduction in water consumption each year after setting the HKUST 2020 Sustainability Goal in 2014. The reduction in 2019/20 was significant since less people were on campus due to the pandemic. However, the reduction has become less significant during year 2020/21 which may be caused by students returning to campus for study on the latter half of year 2021. Graph 4 (Potable water consumption breakdown in HKUST in 2020/21) Cubic Meter 2013/14 0k 50K 100K 150K 200K 250K 300K 350K 400K 450K 500K 2015/16 2014/15 2016/17 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 2017/18 Measure Names Carteens and Commercial ChengYuTung Building Conference Lodge LSK Campus Main Academic Buildings Number of Records Public facilities campus Staff Quarters Student Housing Graph 5 (Potable water consumption distribution in HKUST in 2020/21) Table 8 (Total Water Consumption and Reduction at HKUST) Carteens and Commercial 25.08% ChengYuTung Building 4.57% Conference Lodge 0.49% LSK Campus 6.47% Main Academic Buildings 24.34% Public facilities campus 4.57% Staff Quarters 16.19% Student Housing 17.57% Year 2014 / 15 2018 / 19 2019 / 20 2020 / 21 TotalWater Consumption (Cubic Meters) 406,158 395,899 342,669 336,162 Reduction compared to Year 2014 / 15 (Cubic Meters) 0 20,259 63,489 69,996 Reduction compared to Year 2014 / 15 (Cubic Meters) 0 20,259 63,489 69,996
Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21 24 25 Our Net-Zero Journey Introduction Materiality Environment, Social and Governance Sustainability initiatives ESG frameworks Physical Presence Natural Resources Water Consumption and trade-offs As mentioned earlier, one of the energy reduction initiatives was to install backup cooling towers to ensure redundancy in the district cooling system and to allow more flexibility in conserving energy during non-peak times of the year. While the project is expected to save energy, the cost is that it will significantly increase the consumption of water. The 2028 Challenge recognized this increase and set a target to offset this increase by 2028 through water efficiency and conservation measures. The goal is to bring water consumption down to less than 500,000m3 which is equal to pre-cooling tower levels. In our world today, the pursuit of economic growth often leads to environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources. HKUST’s initiatives strive to preserve our scarce natural resources by developing new technologies and generating policy-relevant solutions. Natural Resources are Managed to Respect the Welfare of Ecosystems, People, and Animals HKUST doesn’t manage, own, or directly extract from natural resources. However, our campus is located in a pristine setting on the banks of the Clear Water Bay and includes a rich biodiverse environment. A new sustainable landscape strategy has been introduced into landscape contractor to ensure that the natural features are protected and maintained with sustainability as a guiding principle, Additionally, nurturing sustainability-minded staff is regarded as the basis of driving operations with low environmental impacts. HKUST Sustainability Guidelines encourage offices to include sustainability practices for performance evaluations so that employees recognize that reducing environmental impacts and conserving natural resources is an element of the job function. On the other hand, staff should make smart and responsible selection of products to use natural resources efficiently. This is further strengthened by introducing HKUST’s Sustainable Purchasing Policy which indicates that all equipment and appliances purchased by every department of HKUST have to meet the EMSD Level 1 performance level. Moreover, HKUST is committed to creating a sustainable campus setting where resources are utilized responsibly and all members of the HKUST community have the capacity to thrive within a healthy environment. The specifications detailed in HKUST Sustainability Guidelines are predicated on the expectation that the Contractor respects and supports HKUST’s commitment to creating a sustainable campus. Operations do not Encroach on Ecosystems or Communities For new capital projects, HKUST’s High Performance Building Standards require digital design tools allowing simultaneous considerations of numerous site parameters including terrain levels, solar radiation, sightlines, and soil conditions to influence the design’s optimal configuration and orientation. Digital encoding of internal spaces enabled layout tests to optimize functionality and adaptability, as well as accurate calculation of natural light levels. Moreover, Building Information Modelling (BIM) is now a campus standard, ensuring that all new campus buildings will have a digital twin to further operational efficiencies. To address the existing buildings, an SSC project was launched in 2019 to create a campus-wide digital twin that will cover all buildings and grounds. The project is ongoing, and the goal is to integrate the digital twin into the various building management software programs to create a seamless interface for operations, maintenance, space allocation, and campus master planning exercises. Over the recent years, HKUST has determined in its direction that sustainability will be an area of forever impact which affects many stakeholders of HKUST while being a crucial element to safeguard ecosystems for future generations. As HKUST is in a semi-urban environment, physical presence is one of the key factors that is important for stakeholders to consider for future strategies. As such, HKUST emphasizes that the physical presence of its operations minimizes its negative impact on the surrounding ecosystems and communities.
Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21 26 27 Our Net-Zero Journey Introduction Materiality Environment, Social and Governance Sustainability initiatives ESG frameworks With 95% of campus energy consumed as electricity, the emissions profile is based on the fuels portfolio used by our electric utility (CLP) to produce electricity. In the 2020/21 academic year, HKUST emitted 33,890 metric tons of CO2 equivalent from sources of Scope 1 and 2, which was 27% lower than the previous year. Scope 1 Direct GHG emissions increased by 3% while Scope 2 Indirect GHG emissions showed a 25% reduction.The intensity of emissions per capita and per square meter of building area have decreased over seven straight academic years. The main driver for the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is from scope 2 electricity, which represents an improved fuel mix from CLP for electricity. The table below shows the amount of CO2 emitted by each various type of scope over a span of 3 years from 2018 to 2021. Graph 7 (Clearwater Bay Campus Carbon Emission ProjectionTowards 2050) Graph 8 (Scope 1&2 GHG EmissionsTrend 2010/11 to 2020/21) Table 9 (Amount of CO2 emitted by each various type of scope) Pollution Greenhouse Gases Emissions Overview in 2020/21 HKUST is committed to meeting or exceeding the GHG reductions needed to stay within the bounds of the Science-Based Targets reductions over time. Further, HKUST is committed to meeting the Hong Kong goal of becoming net-carbon zero by 2050. To this end, the university has created a new Sustainability/Net Zero Office tasked with focusing on creating and implementing a Net-Zero 2050 roadmap. The roadmap will be overseen by a Net-ZeroTask Force, including members from senior leadership positions in the university to ensure that the net-zero priorities remain university priorities. All economic activities today (whether sourcing raw materials, manufacturing and using goods, or transporting things around the world) cause some degree of pollution, including an increasing concentration of GHGs in our atmosphere. HKUST is committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring that no harmful emissions escape out of HKUST’s laboratories. Year 2018 / 19 2019 / 20 2020 / 21 Scope 1 (metric tons) 1,228 971 1,019 Scope 2 (metric tons) 46,254 43,879 32,886 Scope 3 (metric tons) 657 242 126 Emissions per GFA (metric tons per m2) 0.92 0.87 0.60 Measure Names Emissions Capita Emissions GFA MetricTons of CO2E 4.0 60K 55K 50K 45K 40K 35K 30K 25K 2010/11 50,000 2020 2022 2024 2026 2028 2030 2032 2034 2036 2038 2040 2042 2044 2046 2048 2050 Total GHG emission (tonne CO2) Scope 1+2 Scinece-based target scope 1+2 emission (tonne CO2) 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 - 1.258 3.521 4.032 3.975 3.651 3.741 3.225 3.044 2.723 2.565 2.537 1.720 1.288 1.281 1.117 0.952 0.922 0.871 0.602 1.037 1.293 1.344 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 20K 15K 10K 5K 0K 3.0 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 2.5 3.5 MetricTons of CO2E Per Capita/GFA
Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21 28 29 Our Net-Zero Journey Introduction Materiality Environment, Social and Governance Sustainability initiatives ESG frameworks Table 11 (Percentage of Recycled Categories in HKUST) Table 12 (TotalTrash vsTotal Recycling Amounts) Graph 9 (Trash vs Recycling Amounts) Waste HKUST follows Cap 311 which is Hong Kong’s Air Pollution Control Ordinance Law Act. It was modified in 1989 to include Section 7 which defines 10 air control zones for Hong Kong (Including the Port Shelter Air Control Zone where HKUST is located). Section 7 also defines air quality criteria to include Sulphur dioxide, total suspended particulates, respirable suspended particulates, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, photochemical oxidants (as determined by ozone levels) and lead. These are classified as "Harmful Emissions". In addition to compliance with external regulations, HKUST’s Health, Safety and Environmental Office (HSEO) evaluates the emissions to the air that come from laboratory exhaust (fume cupboards and specialized exhaust) to determine whether emissions are excessive or could endanger roof top operations such as maintenance work or the animal facility. Emissions that could be harmful or a nuisance to HKUST’s neighbours are addressed by giving recommendations for correction, scrubbing or changing practice. Waste Generation Overview in 2020/21 In 2020-21, HKUST’s waste generation to the landfill was 57% less than the base year. This is due to the combination of effective strategies that focuses on 4 key areas namely recycling, food waste, composting, and reductions at source (e.g., preventing waste from entering the campus in the first place.) There has been constant increase in recycling over the past few years where in 2019-20, it increased 22% compared to 2018-19 and in 2020-21, it increased 15% compared to 2019-20. Some of this is due to the increasing the number of recyclable items collected, and also to an increase in recycling infrastructure throughout the campus. The recycling program also benefits from “smart” digital solutions that allows facilities teams to measure waste and recycling amounts on a daily basis by location.The top 3 recycled categories are shown inTable 11. Operational Waste is Eliminated Waste Reduction Measures HKUST’s LG7’s Waste Center is equipped with a waste compactor and RFIDintegrated electronic scale. This allows the workers to properly record the weights of individual waste collection bins from different locations throughout campus.They can also monitor waste disposal on a site-by-site basis. Since March 2021, HKUST identifies waste of departments through a QR code system on trash bags. This allows facilities teams to collect real waste data and to identify problem areas immediately when they arise. The data collected also allows comprehensive facilitation of waste policies and related action plans. Due to the resumption of normal operations on campus, there were more people on campus. Therefore, compared to 2019/20, in 2020/21 food waste amount increased to 46% compared to 30% in 2019/20. In the 2019-20 academic year, waste to landfill dropped from 2,323 tons to 1,790 tons, while the recycling amount increased by 20%. The waste diversion rate was 33%. These figures further improved in the 2020-21 academic year where the waste to landfill dropped from 1,790 tons last year to 1,439 tons (20%) while the recycling amount increased by 15% compared to 2019-20 academic year. The waste diversion rate of 2020-21 academic year also increased up to 42%. The 2020 Challenge set a target of eliminating 50% of the baseline amount of waste to the landfill. That target was met through a combination of increased recycling, food waste collections, and operational strategies (e.g., elimination of materials at source). HKUST now collects 15 types of recyclables ranging from common paper, plastic containers, metal, wood, polyfoam, animal bedding and landscape waste. Through more aggressive recycling initiatives, HKUST looks to divert 75% of waste away from landfills to achieve the HKUST 2028 Sustainability target. . Items FoodWaste Compostable (landscape and animal bedding) Paper andWood 2019/20 30% 32% 17% 2020/21 46% 22% 15% Year 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 Total Trash (Tonnes) 2,323 1,790 1,440 Total Recycling Amount (Tonnes) 746 897 1,031 Operational Emissions do not Harm People or the Environment 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 2018/19 TotalTrash (Tonnes) Total Recycling Amount (Tonnes) 2019/20 AcademicYear Tones 2020/21
Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21 30 31 Our Net-Zero Journey Introduction Materiality Environment, Social and Governance Sustainability initiatives ESG frameworks People Community and Employee Health is Safeguarded HKUST recognizes that staff and students are the most important assets of the University. Their knowledge, expertise, engagement and research are essential factors in securing success. Thus a range of initiatives, measures and policies are implemented to promote employee and community wellbeing. HKUST is proud to be the home of talents from many different cultural and educational backgrounds, forming a solid foundation to work together as an integrated team not only to learn, explore, and understand the world better but ourselves and others. Our goal is to embrace and value differences, to learn from each other, and to foster a mindset of diversity that promotes inclusiveness, collegiality, and respect. A key element in achieving such goals will be our implementation of next-generation business processes, information technologies, and systems. This will improve the effectiveness of our administrative framework as a whole and make it more empowering, efficient, and productive. UNICEF and Department of Health of HKSAR Government is promoting breastfeeding. A HKUST’s Mothers’ Station was established for providing mothers a comfortable and convenient environment for breast milk pumping. The SEN (Special Educational Needs) Support under the Counselling and Wellness Center provides a wide range of support services and resources to ensure that all students have equality of opportunity, that they benefit equally from university life, and that a campus culture of inclusion is cultivated. Many facilities, learning aids and equipment are accessible around the campus for students with SEN to use. HKUST’s Global Graduate Tower (GGT) has purpose-designed bedrooms for students with physical disabilities. The room is equipped with heightadjustable furniture, automatic door and motion-sensing switches for light and air-conditioning. HSEO provides on occupational health and medical surveillance program that meets regulatory requirements and professional standards to ensure a safe work environment for employees by coordinating physical examinations to assure employees are suited to their work, coordinating employee access to emergency treatment and limited medical care for occupational and nonoccupational illness or injury, and providing training and general health education. In addition, HSEO has an updated safety and environmental protection manual, used to handle different types of emergency situations such as Engineering Safety and Chemical Safety. HKUST’s Counseling Centre provides all year-round counselling services and workshops to HKUST staff and students while being in a progress of curating an online-interactive platform for HKUST members to utilize and communicate with other members or professional counselling personnel. Employees are protected by the Employment Compensation Ordinance ( Cap. 282 ). This ordinance applies to situations where an employee, during the course of employment, suffers injury or damages. Protection includes no fault compensation, where an employee is entitled to compensation without needing to prove the fault of any party. HKUST is a non-smoking campus. Any person who smokes or carries a lighted tobacco product in a statutory non-smoking area will be fined up to HK$1,500. At HKUST, all the food outlets display the calories information on the purchase display boards. Moreover, there are food outlets near to all academic buildings at HKUST serving vegan and vegetarian options. HKUST has a large indoor sports hall of 1,600 square meters floor space for badminton, basketball, volleyball, and handball. Furthermore, HKUST also has Outdoor sport facilities include an artificial turf soccer pitch, a 400-meter track with 8 lanes, hard-surface mini-soccer pitch, basketball court, lawn area and tennis courts. This is further complemented by a 50-meter outdoor pool and a 25-meter indoor pool available for swimming and aquatic activities. HKUST Staff Association also organized various sporting groups for staff members to participate. Promoting fairness and accessibility Physical safety Mental well-being Support for Lost Time Smoking Nutrition Physical activity
Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21 32 33 Our Net-Zero Journey Introduction Materiality Environment, Social and Governance Sustainability initiatives ESG frameworks Employees are Paid at Least a Living Wage HKUST has made the commitment that all employees at the university will be paid at least a Living Wage – that which is defined as a wage sufficient to cover all living expenses without assistance from others. The Living Wage is not the same as the Statutory MinimumWage, which is lower and does not provide a take-home wage that is sufficient for meeting basic needs. As of Apr 2021, Oxfam along with economists at Chinese University of Hong Kong estimated the Living Wage HK$57.1 per hour. The university is now evaluating all of the contract workers at HKUST, including security, landscape, cleaning, and food services. New contracts for Security, Cleaning, and Landscape now include a provision that their contract employees must be paid a LivingWage. No Child labor HKUST abides by the Employment of Children Regulations, made under the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57), which prohibits the employment of children in industrial undertakings and regulates the employment of children in non-industrial establishments, so as not to interfere with their schooling. Employee freedom of association The HKUST Staff Association was established with 3 missions, which are promoting social, cultural, and recreational activities among staff members of the University, protecting the welfare of HKUST staff and acting as a communication link between the University and its staff members. Accommodate appropriate periods of leave from work Appointees will be entitled certain days of annual leave based on their positions in Salary Bands under the Grading and Salary Structure. Sick leave and maternity leave will be provided in compliance with the Employment Ordinance in Hong Kong and in accordance with the University's prevailing policies and regulations. Adoption of Policy on Sexual Harassment The University is committed to create and promote a working environment which provides equal opportunity and is free of discrimination and harassment. The Gender Discrimination Committee of the University has been taking the lead to raise awareness of gender discrimination and maintain an environment that is zero tolerance of sexual harassment. Control mechanism of Sexual Harassment Members of the HKUST community who feel infringed by members of the University are strongly encouraged to speak up and report incidents of sexual harassments through the University’s established procedures, where the incidents would be investigated, guided or given advice by designated officers, Gender Equity Officer or Gender Discrimination Committee. The incidents of sexual harassments could be resolved through Informal Resolution and Mediation. A series of hearing procedures would be initiated if the incidents could not be resolved. On the education side, workshops and seminars on sexual harassment and anti-discriminations issues are offered to staff members and students by the Human Resources Office and the Dean of Students’ Office respectively. Employees are Subject to Fair Employment Terms Employees are Not Subject to Discrimination
Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21 34 35 Our Net-Zero Journey Introduction Materiality Environment, Social and Governance Sustainability initiatives ESG frameworks Drivers Procurement Safeguards the Pursuit of Future-Fitness Anticipate the negative impacts that its procured goods and services could be contributing to HKUST’s waste reduction goal focuses on recycling at the end of each product life. However, sometimes unregulated recycling efforts can lead to additional environmental damage, as evidenced by the investigations into electronic burn piles in developing countries. Therefore it is imperative to know that recycled materials are dealt with in an environmentally responsible way throughout the process. For electronics, HKUST partners with ALBA to collect old electrical appliances since they are regulated by the government and have an exceptional and transparent record for materials recovery. Food waste is sent to O-Park, a government-supervised facility, where food waste is turned into energy through anaerobic digestion and composting technologies to recycle separated food waste into biogas and compost. In fact, most appliances and equipment purchased for the university are evaluated based on their energy efficiency through the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) of the Hong Kong Government. On the other hand, for personal IT equipment, TCO Certified is an international third-party sustainability certification which is used by HKUST to evaluate the negative impacts from purchasing IT equipment. Procurement guidelines HKUST encourages purchases of appliances with Energy Label Grade One, and water appliances that achieve “Water Sense” conservation levels as mentioned in the HKUST Sustainability Office Guidelines. Moreover, to encourage sustainable use of materials, HKUST advice departments to buy in bulk to reduce packaging costs and choose environmentally friendly office supplies. HKUST Purchasing Office (PURO) aims to provide professional and high-quality services to assist users in acquiring goods and services required whilst ensuring compliance with the University’s Purchasing and Tendering Regulations and Procedures (PTRP). They ensure public funds are properly spent and obtain goods and services at the best value for money through complying with regulations. HKUST always conduct regular performance check on University’s Suppliers to check whether they have continued poor delivery performance or have not complied with the required delivery schedule. HKUST also adopted few principles to highlight approach towards purchasing decisions that can result in positive and desired outcomes. Grievance Procedures Grievance procedures are developed with the aim at providing for means by which relevant employment-related grievances can be reviewed in an impartial, orderly and timely manner. Staff Grievance in employee handbook provides clear guidance on grievances and disciplinary practices. Whistleblowing Policy Whistleblowing mechanism is in place to enable all stakeholders of the University to raise concerns with the appropriate University authorities against any malpractice within the University. The University adhere Whistle-blowing Policy to ensure University members can raise concerns confidentially and do not tolerate any retaliation against whistle-blowers. Employee Concerns are Actively Solicited, Impartially Judged, and Transparently Addressed
Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21 36 37 Our Net-Zero Journey Introduction Materiality Environment, Social and Governance Sustainability initiatives ESG frameworks Business is Conducted Ethically Adopt a public commitment to ethical conduct Health crisis, fractures, and disagreements have challenged Hong Kong over the past few years. However, even with such challenges, HKUST had strived to uphold our apolitical principle and focus on our core values including academic freedom, diversity, inclusiveness, and mutual respect all of which form the basis of our academic environment. Indeed, since HKUST’s founding days, we have been steadfast in our support of such openness and this position continues. As part of HKUST’s 2021 to 2028 Strategic plan, HKUST plans to continue upholding our core principles and values, by exercising individual and institutional integrity. To face all these issues and needs, HKUST will provide more human and financial resources. Establish internal controls to ensure it lives up to that commitment HKUST is committed to maintaining high ethical standards and integrity in operations. Conduct risk is the risk of improper actions, behaviors or practices that are illegal, unethical or contrary to our core values that could result in harm to the University and our stakeholders, or negatively impact our reputation. In order to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and integrity, the Employee Handbook details the requirements of professional conduct such as acceptance and use of donations, and avoiding conflict of interest in procurement duties where all staff are required to comply. Seminars or trainings on Personal Data Privacy are organized on a periodic basis to provide staff members the necessary information and techniques to handle personal data. Financial Assets Safeguard the Pursuit of Future-Fitness Policies that address investments in the individual hotspot areas of Future-Fitness. HKUST adopted an ESG statement for our investment portfolio which include ESG factors into considerations in the decision-making process. With the Sustainability and Net-Zero carbon commitment, HKUST’s Sustainable Investment Policy will be reviewed and enhanced in the coming years to help achieving the long term goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.The statement is: In line with the vision to be a leading university with significant international impact and strong local commitment, the University will incorporate—to a greater degree —environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations into the investment decision-making process. The University recognises that the adherence to sound investment management practices should include the consideration of ESG factors. Currently, several of the University’s fund managers are already signatories of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and have been taking relevant ESG factors into account as part of their investment decision-making process. The University is committed to the gradual and prudent incorporation of ESG considerations into the investment decision-making process, in a manner that will lead to the prioritisation of investments which are aligned with the University’s ESG views and the expected risk-return profile and ability to remain appropriately diversified across asset classes.
Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020-21 39 Introduction Materiality Environment, Social and Governance Sustainability initiatives ESG frameworks Sustainability Initiatives Education 4 The strategic vision for HKUST is to become a regional leader in sustainability education with a global outreach. One of the key objectives of the HKUST 2028 Sustainability challenge is to provide the conditions for all students to graduate with sustainability skills and competencies that will prepare them for career challenges. A University study, updated over 2020-21, showed that 68% of recent graduates have now completed two or more sustainability-focused courses and 95% taken at least one course. One exemplary course is “Introduction to Sustainability”, which provides a foundational basis for sustainability learning. Flipped classrooms, blended learning and activity-based teaching methods were used to boost students’ interest and awareness of issues locally and globally and enhance their ability to address them. The teaching team from Division of Environment and Sustainability, comprising Prof. Arthur LAU (Course Coordinator), Prof. Laurence DELINA, Prof. Zhongming LU, Prof. Xiaoming SHI, Prof. Benjamin STEUER and Dr. Meike SAUERWEIN, were recognized campus-wide for their contribution as the joint recipients of the HKUST Common CoreTeaching Excellence Award 2020. Over the year, a sustainability literacy survey was developed for assessing students’ understanding of sustainability. The survey is designed to covers a wide range of sustainability topics, while it serves as an educational tools and sparks student’s interest in different areas, it also aims to help identify any gaps. Responses received in the first survey will form the baseline for progress in a longitudinal study.ebookshelf.ust.hk