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Sustainability within the Institute

The Institute recognizes the impact of climate change to businesses and the role that accountants can play in enhancing awareness, transparency and performance on sustainability. To demonstrate the Institute’s dedication to climate and sustainability, we have joined 13 other accounting bodies, all members of Accounting for Sustainability (“A4S”), in publicly committing to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions within our own organizations, as well as provide an enabling environment for our membership to do the same. Below is an update on the progress of our carbon reduction efforts and pathway to net-zero.


Our carbon footprint

In 2021, we appointed a Sustainability Lead and formed an internal Sustainability Taskforce comprising cross-function representatives to measure our carbon footprint and develop our net zero pathway going forward. The major sources of our carbon footprint are as follows:



The use of purchased electricity at our Hong Kong office and training facilities at Wu Chung House to support our operations and members’ services.

                                  Paper used for the printing of our publications, training and exam materials, as well as internal printing at our offices.

                                  Air-flights taken by the Institute’s representatives and staff for necessary business purpose to Mainland China and overseas.

                                  Daily travels of employees to and from our office using various means of transportation. 



To facilitate a better understanding of our carbon emission trends, as well as effective comparison and assessment, we have calculated our carbon footprints across three financial years (from July to the next June of the following year), from 2019/20 to 2021/22. The results are summarized as below:



Remarks: due to the nature of the Institute’s operations, no material scope 1 emissions were generated.


Please refer to the Notes below for the methodology of our carbon emissions calculation.


Our achievements to-date

Our carbon emissions have decreased by 32% in FY2022/21 as compared with FY2019/20, with significant reductions noted across all our emission sources. These were mainly due to our continued decarbonization efforts and also partially owing to reduced levels of activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlights of our recent environmental initiatives are as follows:


  • To reduce overall energy consumption, the Institute has replaced close to 1,300 pieces of T8 fluorescent lightings to LED tubes in the office areas over the recent two financial years. A lighting zone control system was also installed in office areas to minimize the use of energy.
  • To support the Energy Saving Charter on Indoor Temperature, the Institute has set and maintained an average indoor temperature at 24°C or higher in our office during the summers. All copy machines and computers of the Institute have been defaulted to energy saving mode when they are not in use.
  • The Institute has implemented a number of policies to reduce paper use such as digitalizing paper-based internal operations and member services, the implementation of duplex printing and follow-you-print function to reduce paper use, as well as procurement of PEFC-certified and lighter weight paper.
  • The Institute actively promotes recycling and reuse of resources, and established a Green Corner and recycling stations to collect used paper, stationeries, glass and plastic bottles, aluminum cans as well as used batteries. We have received the Wastewi$e Certificate issued by the Environmental Campaign Committee that recognizes our recycling efforts.
  • We raise the environmental awareness of our staff through regular communications and engagement. Green posters and reminders are put up in common office areas while green tips have been made available on our internal staff portal. Net-zero training and environmental programmes have also been organized to provide knowledge on the latest development and best practices in relation to net-zero.


Our way forward


This requires additional efforts in identifying new carbon reduction measures. We believe that by having a clear tone at the top and enhancing our staff members’ environmental awareness, we can achieve our goal in the years ahead.


Some of our upcoming decarbonization initiatives are as follows:


Office space optimization

To enhance our operational and resource efficiency, we have begun to review the usage of the office space and commenced the remodeling projects to increase the utilization and reduce the energy use of each office floor. Contractors were asked to implement environmental design and measures where possible, and relevant environmental, health and safety requirements were also clearly set out. About 20% of annual energy consumption could be saved upon the completion of the project.


We are in the progress of further digitalizing our operations and publications, which include our A Plus magazine and the Qualification Programme. This will allow us to save about 35 tonnes of papers and keep our paper use at a minimum.

Reduction of business travels

We aim to further reduce our business air travel even after the travel restrictions are lifted as compared with the pre-COVID-19 levels in FY2019/20, by utilizing technology as much as possible and practicable. We believe this will bring a positive impact to our efficiency as well as environmental performance.


The Institute will continue to monitor our carbon emission performance and develop more initiatives that will help achieve our reduction target going forward. For our initiatives relating to sustainability education, standard setting and advocacy, please refer to our Annual Report




Notes: Methodology of carbon emissions calculation


Carbon emissions were calculated according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol published by the World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development, with emission factors sourced from:

  Sustainability Report of HK Electric Investments Limited 2019, 2020 & 2021
  Sustainable Finance Report of MTR Corporation Limited 2019, 2020 & 2021
  International Civil Aviation Organization Carbon Emissions Calculator
  “Greenhouse Gas Reporting: Conversion Factors” issued by the UK Government 2019, 2020 & 2021

The data sources and assumptions used for our emission sources are as follows:


Electricity use

Electricity use included the electricity consumption of our Hong Kong office at Wu Chung House that were controlled and paid directly by the Institute, and consumption data was obtained from the electricity bills issued by HK Electric. Electricity consumption of other building facilities that were centrally managed by the building management office were not included due to the data being unavailable.


Paper consumption

Paper consumption data were captured internally through the printing systems and procurement records. The paper consumed by pieces were converted to weight based on the size and grams per square meter of various types of paper for calculating carbon emissions. 


Business air travel
Business air travel data was obtained through the internal travel management system with details such as number of passengers, destination and flight class of each trip. 


Employee commuting

Employee commuting data was collected through an employee commute survey conducted in July 2022, and emissions were calculated on the basis of distance travelled and mode of transportation taken by our employees on working days. The results from the survey were also used to estimate the FY2019/20 & FY2020/21 emissions from employee commuting. 


This is the inaugural year for the Institute to measure its carbon footprint and we will continue to review the methodology and make necessary enhancements over time.