We believe sustainability is good for those around us and therefore good for our business. The Link REIT’s Sustainability Framework, consists of seven core elements, namely staff, corporate governance, environment, asset/brand, tenant, community andeconomy. The framework guides our progress towards sustainability.
We actively encourage and support our staff to achieve professional development to reach their full potential. We created The Link Executive Diploma Programme in Shopping Mall Management, with the Institute of Advanced Executive Education of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University to help staff gain a better understanding of other departments and functions, and allow them to network with colleagues who work in other areas of the business. E-learning together with traditional classroom training are also provided to both our direct and contracted staff as part of our talent management strategy. In 2013/14, the total number of training hours was 19,441 hours, together with an investment of HK$37 million in workforce training the development. We continue to set aside a budget for staff to apply for sponsorships to enroll in training seminars and courses. Education sponsorship totaled approximately HK$1.5 million in 2013/14.
The Link Together Initiatives” was established in January 2013 by The Link REIT (The Link) as our flagship charity and community engagement programme to support the well being of the elderly, education, training and development of children and youth and social inclusion. It was set up with the objective of advancing sustainable development in the communities that we serve and furthering our vision of serving and improving the lives of the people around us. Every year, The Link contributes an amount up to 0.25% of its net property income of the previous financial year to The Initiatives to support eligible charitable organisations in launching relevant service projects that benefit the communities near The Link’s properties. Each awarded organisation will be granted a maximum budget of 30% of the total granted funds. In 2014/15, we donated nearly HK$7.5 million to support nine community projects selected from nearly 150 eligible applications to serve communities in need.
We believe a greener environment is better for our tenants, shoppers and the community. To minimize our environmental footprint, we have taken various actions to reduce our CO2 emissions. In 2013/14, our strategic management of energy consumption resulted in a 7.8% year-on-year reduction in energy consumption. We have invested over HK$7.5 million to carry out regular maintenance and greening improvement and planted over 95,000 plants across the portfolio. As part of our biodiversity measures, we are committed to planting native plant species wherever possible. Construction of green roofs and green walls are planned in 2014/15 for several locations under the scheme “Green The Link”. Green rooves and green walls aim not only to provide our shoppers with more comfortable environments, but also to reduce our carbon footrprint by reducing the need for air-conditioning. As a community centre, we partner with NGOs and government to launch awareness campaigns and roadshows at our shopping centres to educate the community on current important environmental issues.