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- Environmental Report

Social Welfare Department 

Environmental Report 2015


This report sets out the green measures taken by the department in 2015.

Policy and Objectives

2.       As a government department and a member of the community, we are committed to supporting Government’s policies on environmental protection and sustainable development. To this end, our objectives are to promote a green culture among staff of the department and our working partners and to do our best in adopting green management and practices in our workplace.

Green Measures Adopted in 2015

3.       During the year, the department has made continuous efforts in cultivating and fostering a personal responsibility among staff members for the care of the environment. While most of our operation units are office-based, we have endeavoured to adopt good office practices aiming at reducing the use of, reusing as well as recycling valuable resources such as paper and energy.

4.       As part of our commitment to sustainability, we have uploaded a wealth of Green Tips onto our intranet to raise staff awareness on and encourage office participation in waste minimisation, waste recovery and energy conservation. To further ascertain the extent of compliance, the department has conducted its annual e-survey on green housekeeping measures and the survey findings for the year are summarised below.

I. Reduce
Control of paper consumption

Since paper is the major resource consumed in our offices, continuous efforts have been made to reduce consumption of photocopying paper through wider use of electronic communication.

Despite the establishment of new teams and implementation of new initiatives in 2015 resulting in a greater demand for paper, the department managed to control paper consumption to 74 678 reams, a slight decrease as compared to 2014.  Similar to the rate recorded in 2014, 92% of paper consumed in 2015 was recycled paper. 


Use of electronic platform

All offices have been equipped with email facility. It has become a standard practice to circulate reference documents by email instead of hardcopies.

To further reduce the department’s carbon footprint, we have opted for the electronic version of key government publications such as the Policy Address and the Budget to allow for paperless distribution within the department.

Our offices have been reminded to reduce the production of printed publications and encouraged to upload publications onto the department’s homepage for public access.

Documents for internal circulation are uploaded onto the departmental intranet portal for viewing by staff. Staff members are advised to collect and submit returns in electronic format through the portal.

Our offices have also adopted the green practice of drafting documents in soft copies.

Double-sided printing

We have reduced our office stationery needs by printing on both sides of paper. Newly procured photocopiers and printers are equipped with double-sided printing function.

Phase out thermal fax

Thermal fax machines have been phased out to reduce the need of making a second copy of fax for filing. All offices are provided with plain paper fax machines.

Minimise the use of envelopes

Our offices have stopped using envelopes for despatching unclassified documents.  Staff members are advised to reuse the envelopes as far as practicable.


Reduce consumables

Staff members are encouraged to use their own cups and drinking glasses instead of disposable paper cups. Refillable ball pens and clutch pencils are widely used in our offices to minimise waste.

The department has also encouraged staff members to use electronic greeting cards in replacement of printed cards on festive occassions.

Electricity conservation

Guidelines on saving electricity through economic use of lighting, air-conditioning, photocopiers and computer equipment have been issued to all offices.

Our offices have maintained air-conditioning temperature set point at 25.5˚C in summer months to lower energy demands. It is our practice to carry out routine checks to ensure computers and office equipment are switched off during lunch breaks and after office hours. In addition, we have accelerated the adoption of energy-efficient and low-carbon technologies in our offices, such as motion sensor lighting and electric vehicles, to reduce energy consumption in our daily operation.

Electricity consumption level is being closely monitored at all times.


Water demand management

Timed taps and dual-flush flushing cisterns have been installed in some of our toilets in order to reduce water usage and more importantly, reduce sewage generation.

II. Reuse and Recycle
Reuse envelopes and file jackets

It is a standard practice in our offices to reuse envelopes and file jackets that are in good condition.


Use recycled paper

Recycled paper is used in most of our offices.


Use single-sided paper for drafts

Single-sided paper is used for drafts and printing internal documents.


Set up green trays next to photocopiers and LAN printers

Green trays are set up next to photocopiers and LAN printers to facilitate printing with paper that has been used on one side.


Recycle waste paper

Waste paper is collected for recycling as our regular practice.  The department has made a satisfactory progress on the collection of waste paper in 2015. A total of 599 kg of waste paper has been collected, which is more than a double of the figure recorded in 2014  This is indicative of an increase of staff awareness over the concept to recycle waste paper.


Recycle toners

It is our standard practice to return used toners of laser printers to suppliers for recycling.


Provision of recycle bins

Recycle bins are provided in offices for collecting waste paper, cans, bottles and unwanted CDs.


III. Other green initiatives
Continuous monitoring

Periodic surveys are carried out to gauge the extent of adoption of green measures by individual offices and to monitor their improvement over time. Reminders are sent from time to time to alert staff members to keep an eye on the implementation of green measures in their offices.


Departmental guidelines

Guidelines on green office practices are in place for reference by all offices.


Green procurement

It is a mandatory requirement for our cleansing contractors to use biodegradable garbage bags. The use of correction fluid and batteries with mercury, which may cause hazards to environment, are discouraged in our offices.


IV. Promotion of green message/practice to Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs)
Use of homepage

Circulars and documents relevant to NGOs are promulgated through the department's homepage.


Electronic communication

The department has promoted the use of electronic communication with NGOs.


Regular returns and submissions

NGOs have formed the practice of filing returns in electronic format.



5.     We welcome any comments or suggestions on this report. Please send them to 

Social Welfare Department

April 2016