As the world steadily moves into a period of post-pandemic recovery, Swire Properties remains focused on the delivery of our Sustainable Development (“SD”) 2030 Strategy. I am pleased that we made significant progress this year towards our vision of becoming the global industry leader in sustainability by 2030.
Our SD efforts have continued to break new ground. The Company ranked second in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index 2023, and first globally in the Environmental Dimension amongst over 350 companies that were assessed in the Index’s Real Estate Management & Development industry category. We also maintained our Global Sector Leader position in the Mixed Use Developments category of the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (“GRESB”) for the seventh year in a row, and were ranked first on the Hang Seng Corporate Sustainability Index for the sixth consecutive year.
Our accomplishments reflect the effectiveness of our SD 2030 Strategy and strengthen our commitment to contribute towards a thriving and resilient future.
Decarbonising our buildings and operations
Attaining net-zero emissions by 2050 remains our highest SD priority, and we are well on our way to achieving this goal. We continued to make solid progress towards our 1.5°C-aligned science-based targets in 2023, achieving an absolute reduction of 29% for our Scope 1 and 2 emissions compared to our 2019 baseline. Innovation will be critical as we navigate our transition to a net-zero future. Our ambitious trial of the Photovoltaics, Energy Storage, Direct Current and Flexible Power System (“PEDF”) project at Taikoo Li Sanlitun has attracted significant recognition as the only commercial PEDF application to receive a “Top 10 Building PEDF Best Practices” award in the Chinese Mainland. This achievement has generated interest from Hong Kong government officials, validating our efforts and serving as a testament to our best-in-class decarbonisation solutions.
We are very pleased that 17 of our buildings, the highest number among all Hong Kong developers, have been recognised for their energy performance in the Hong Kong Green Building Council's inaugural Zero-Carbon-Ready Building Certification Scheme. This sends a strong message of our commitment to supporting Hong Kong’s built environment in its transition towards carbon neutrality.
Engaging our stakeholders
These achievements would not have been possible without the support of all our stakeholders and we are grateful for their valuable contributions. We will continue to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with our tenants and suppliers to drive greater efficiency and build resilience across our value chain.
The Green Performance Pledge (“GPP”), our SD performance-based landlord-tenant partnership, continued to gain momentum this year. By the end of December, 90 office tenants had signed up, representing a significant 41% of the occupied lettable floor area of our wholly-owned Hong Kong and Chinese Mainland office portfolio. We also launched the GPP Academy in 2023, creating new learning opportunities for our office tenants to help them to drive improvements in overall energy, water and waste reduction performance. Our Green Kitchen Initiative also achieved a significant milestone by surpassing the 100th outlet mark. By the end of 2023, 107 F&B tenants across our Hong Kong and Chinese Mainland portfolios had committed to the initiative.
Our suppliers play a crucial role in driving sustainable practices and contributing to our shared environmental goals. This year, Swire Properties embarked on an exciting journey, becoming the first real estate company in Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland to partner with EcoVadis on a supply chain ESG assessment platform. The pilot programme has received a positive response from participating suppliers.
Focusing on people and communities
We are happy to see the cities in which we operate regain their vitality and vibrancy. With the lifting of pandemic restrictions, Swire Properties was excited to be able to continue to spearhead a number of social initiatives for our communities this year, including our annual White Christmas Street Fair. The eleventh edition of this signature community celebration was designed and executed by 10 university students from the Swire Properties’ Placemaking Academy, and for this first time, we also welcomed several secondary students to this creative and dynamic team. Our dedicated Community Ambassador teams continued to lead many events across our portfolios in Hong Kong, the Chinese Mainland and Miami, empowering young people, caring for the vulnerable and building vibrant and sustainable communities around the world.
Employees are key drivers of our SD 2030 Strategy and their wellbeing is vital to our continued success. In 2023, we launched our new Workplace Wellbeing Framework encompassing key focus areas – built environment, ways of working, and organisational environment and frameworks. The framework aims to create healthier and more productive workplaces where our employees can thrive and reach their full potential.
We also recognise the importance of preserving local biodiversity and mitigating our impact on nature. Swire Properties is one of 40 members of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (“TNFD”), steering the creation of an overall framework for business to account for their nature-related risks and opportunities. We have committed to be a TNFD Early Adopter and began publishing our nature-related impacts, dependencies, risks, and opportunities in this year’s Sustainability Report.
Growing our green financing
This year, we continued to strengthen the integration of SD into every facet of our business, seeking opportunities to fund our transition to net-zero through innovative green financing methods. We became the first Hong Kong corporate to issue RMB-denominated public green bonds, or “green dim sum bonds”, raising RMB3.2 billion to fund the Company’s eligible existing or new green projects. More than 60% of our bond and loan facilities now come from green financing.
This year, we began piloting the use of internal carbon pricing to determine the potential impact of carbon emissions from our investments, quantify carbon risks to our business operations and allow better reallocation of capital towards low-carbon investment and activities.
For our future
I was encouraged by the positive outcomes from the COP28 climate change conference, with nations coming together and agreeing to transition away from fossil fuels. The journey will not be easy, but it is essential for the future.
We finished on a strong note last year and are committed to carry this momentum into 2024. I invite you to join us in our “Sustainability We All Count” engagement campaign – For Our Future, as we raise our hands and work towards a shared vision of a sustainable future.
Chief Executive
Tim Blackburn