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Controlling Officer's Environmental Report

1. Introduction

1.1 This environmental report sets out the Land Registry’s environmental objective, policy and targets. It also provides details on how we manage our business activities in 2020 with the aim of minimising their environmental impact.

 

2. Business Activities

2.1 Our core business covers registration of land documents, provision of facilities for search of land registers and land records, supply of copies of land records and certification of copies of such records. After receiving paper documents lodged for registration by our customers, we open new or update computerised land registers and scan the paper documents into imaged records. We also register owners’ corporations (OC) and provide related filing and search services.

2.2 We have a workforce of about 600 staff. Most of our offices are accommodated at Queensway Government Offices (QGO), Admiralty, including the Customer Centre which provides a full range of services for land registration and land search as well as registration of OC and filing and search of OC records. We also have seven outstation offices in other government offices or private commercial buildings.

 

3. Environmental Impact of Our Operations

3.1 As our activities are mainly office-based, the major impact of our operations on the environment comes from consumption of electricity and paper. Electricity is mainly used to operate the computer systems and provide a suitable office environment for staff and customers. Paper is mainly used for printing of copies of land records and photocopying of land documents.



4. Environmental Objective and Policy

4.1 We are committed to environmental protection with the objective of minimising consumption of paper, energy, office materials and natural resources. Our environmental policy, which has been adopted since 1997, is as follows:

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Replace - We reduce daily consumption of paper, reuse used materials, recycle waste paper, encourage electronic documentation and replace non-environmentally friendly products as far as possible.

  • Efficient Use of Resources and Energy - We encourage staff to use natural resources wisely and install energy-efficient systems as far as possible.

  • Compliance - We maintain a set of green housekeeping rules to reduce adverse impact from our operations and safeguard the health and welfare of our staff. We seek to ensure compliance with such rules through a three-tier Environmental Management System.

  • Continual Improvement - We seek continual improvement to our environmental performance through regular assessments and implementation of new green measures and practices.

  • Communication - We ensure that staff are aware of their environmental responsibilities through regular communication and encourage them to participate in environmental activities and audits.

4.2 To implement our environmental policy, we have put in place a three-tier Environmental Management System. Under the system, the Registry Manager serves as the Green Manager who oversees the operation of the system and monitors our environmental performance. At the operational level, a Green Housekeeping Working Group led by the Departmental Secretary and comprising various office representatives is responsible for devising and introducing green measures, managing environmental audits and setting targets. In the frontline, Environment and Safety Executives are appointed in various Sections to check compliance, implement green initiatives, encourage adoption of best practices and raise environmental awareness. The following illustrates how our Environmental Management System operates.

The Land Registry Environmental Management System



The Land Registry
Environmental Management System

The Land Registry is committed to the continual improvement of its environmental performance. Under our Environmental Management System, the Green Housekeeping Working Group and Environment and Safety Executives assist the Green Manager in:

  • formulating environmental policy, devising green housekeeping rules and encouraging staff to adopt good environmental practices;

  • setting targets and indicators;

  • introducing and implementing green measures;

  • managing environmental audit; and

  • conducting review and making recommendations.

5. Green Measures Taken

5.1 In view of our office-based nature, we have introduced the following green measures to address the key environmental impact of our activities:

(A) Waste reduction

  • enhancing electronic services by developing computer systems to facilitate electronic processing, scanning, indexing, storage and search of land documents;

  • producing reports in soft copies as far as practicable;

  • adopting and encouraging the use of electronic channels for internal and external communication by staff, e.g. e-leave system, digital library service system, e-Staff Magazine, e-Training Unit Newsletter, e-booking system for the meeting facilities of the department and knowledge management system;

  • adhering to good environmental practices, e.g. using both sides of paper, using blank side of used paper for drafting, preparing draft in softcopy, printing multiple pages on one sheet, preview documents before printing, reducing printing and photocopying to the minimum, not using fax leading page or printing fax journal, using “save toner” function and rechargeable batteries as far as practicable;

  • acquiring reusable tableware for use by colleagues in office pantries; and

  • providing reusable cutlery sets to colleagues joining departmental functions in order to reduce plastic wastes.

(B) Conservation of resources and recycling

  • implementing energy retrofits and management control measures such as using T-5 fluorescent tubes, installing motion sensors for room lighting and water faucets, adding switch-timers to office equipment such as water dispenser and adopting sectional lighting in offices;

  • adopting open office design to reduce the use of materials, maximise the use of natural light and enhance ventilation flow;

  • encouraging staff to use staircases instead of lifts for inter-floor trips, to activate energy saving modes during office hours, and to switch off lights, office/computer equipment and electrical appliances when they are not in use and after office hours;

  • reminding staff to save water;

  • collecting recyclable waste materials such as newspapers, office paper and printer cartridges for recycling on a regular basis; and

  • providing designated bins for separation of recyclable waste at source to facilitate collection on each office floor.

(C) Air quality management

  • joining the Indoor Air Quality Certification Scheme organised by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD).

(D) Enhancing staff awareness

  • displaying environmental policy, green housekeeping rules and good environmental practices in our intranet and at prominent locations of our offices, putting across our environmental vision and encouraging compliance;

  • maintaining a dedicated folder in our intranet providing all relevant information, departmental guidelines and useful links on environmental protection for reference by staff;

  • updating staff on our environmental performance and green tips through our quarterly consumption statistics and e-Staff Magazine;

  • conducting surprise checks both during and after office hours on all offices to ensure that staff comply with the stipulated departmental guidelines; and

  • encouraging staff to participate in environmental seminars and activities, and report deficiencies to the Environment and Safety Executives.

(E) Conducting environmental audit

  • implementing an audit mechanism to check compliance with our environmental policy and rules, and identify areas for improvement.

(F) Green procurement

    • procuring environmentally friendly products such as wood-free and recycled printing paper, reusable printer cartridges, chlorofluorocarbon free refrigerators, electrical appliances with energy efficiency labels and various refillable stationery items as far as practicable;

    • incorporating green guidelines into our office cleansing contract that requires the contractor to implement a number of green practices such as using green cleansing products and saving water and energy in their operation; and

    • adopting green specifications / requirements for products and services promulgated by the EPD in quotations and tenders as far as practicable.

    (G) Green office environment

    • prohibiting smoking in the workplace;

    • improving air quality by using air purifiers in the workplace;

    • cleaning air ducts regularly with a view to maintaining good air ventilation;

    • placing equipment which causes noise disturbance in enclosed areas; and

    • decorating the offices with green plants.

     

    6. Environmental Performance

    6.1 To ensure that our operations are conducted in an environmentally responsible manner, we have enhanced our electronic services. Some of the major initiatives taken include:

    • An Integrated Registration Information System (IRIS) was introduced in February 2005 to enable our customers to conduct online searches of land records through the Internet, place orders and print/download copies of land records ordered through their own computers, if necessary.

    • The paper-based two-volume Street Index for urban properties and the New Territories Lot/Address Cross Reference Table (CRT) were converted into compact discs in 1999 and 2000 respectively to facilitate our customers to search the required data speedily and conveniently through their own computers and enable them to save printing paper in this regard. Since June 2011, we have taken a further step by uploading online versions of the Street Index and CRT for free browsing on our website or through the hyperlink to our website on the IRIS Online Services.

    • Since November 2007, we have provided an e-Memorial Form on our website for free download. It automates the procedure and enhances accuracy of preparing memorials for registration, thus helps paper saving.

    • Since 2007, IRIS batch reports of different types have been produced in soft copy and at present, soft copy reports account for 98% of the total number of IRIS reports. Some major users of our reports-on-title service have switched to receiving soft copy reports. We have also used emails to replace floppy diskettes since 2007 to deliver the Memorial Day Book and Monthly Memorial Information on Mortgage Transactions data files to all subscribers.

    • Phase 1 of the e-Channel for the e-Alert Service for Authorised Institutions (AIs) was launched on 14 January 2019 to enable subscriber AIs to submit their applications for subscription of service orders online through the e-Channel website in addition to delivering their applications to the Land Registry in person or by post/courier service. On 20 July 2020, Phase 2 of the e-Channel was rolled out to provide subscriber AIs with facility for online submission of other service applications (e.g. opening of branch account, transfer or termination of service orders). To further enhance user experience of the e-Channel, more user functions (e.g. maintenance and enquiry of account information) are available online. Most of the subscriber AIs have switched to online submission of service requests.

    6.2 Given our efforts as mentioned in paragraph 6.1 above, the usage of our electronic services has been growing significantly.

    (A) Usage of IRIS Online Services

    Usage of IRIS
     200612020
    IRIS Online Services subscribers6041,432
    Total no. of searches of land registers (in million)4.30 M5.48 M
    No. of searches of land registers through IRIS Online Services (in million)(% of total searches)3.71 M
    (86%)
    5.26 M
    (96%)
    Total no. of orders of copies of land documents (in million)0.78 M0.88 M
    No. of orders of copies of land documents through IRIS Online Services (in million)(% of total orders)0.60 M
    (77%)
    0.74 M
    (84%)

    (B) e-Memorial Form

    e-Memorial Form
     200822020
    Percentage of documents lodged for registration using e-Memorial FormOver 40%Over 73%

    (C) e-Channel for the e-Alert Service for AIs

    e-Channel for the e-Alert Service for Authorised Institutions
     20203
    Percentage of service orders submitted through e-ChannelOver 85%
    1IRIS was implemented in February 2005. As the first full year statistics were available in 2006, this year was adopted as the baseline year for comparison purposes.
    2E-Memorial Form was launched in November 2007. The first full year statistics were available in 2008.
    3Phase 1 and Phase 2 of e-Channel for the e-Alert Service for AIs were launched on 14 January 2019 and 20 July 2020 respectively.


    6.3 We have also significantly reduced the paper and electricity consumption over the past 14 years.

    Paper and Electriciry Consumption
     20062020
    Paper Consumption (reams)41,74512,953
    (↓69% as
    compared with 2006)
    Electricity Consumption (kWh)1,849,157574,528
    (↓69% as
    compared with 2006)

    6.4 In 2020, our office at One Kowloon was awarded “Excellent Class” grading and offices at QGO and six other outstation offices were awarded “Good Class” grading under the Indoor Air Quality Certification Scheme.

     

     

    7. Environmental Targets for the Year 2021

    7.1 In 2021, we will:

    • continue to reduce paper consumption through adopting existing methods and pursuing new green measures;

    • continue with the existing energy saving measures and further explore new measures;

    • continue to encourage staff to reduce waste, use recycled products and adopt good environmental practices;

    • continue to organise activities/training to promote staff's environmental awareness;

    • continue to explore practicable green housekeeping and procurement practices to reduce waste and resource consumption; and

    • continue to conduct environmental audits on offices to look for areas for further improvement.

    8. Comments and Suggestions

    8.1 Please send comments and suggestions to our Green Manager or Departmental Secretary by email at ds@landreg.gov.hk or by post to 28/F, QGO, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong. To save paper, we have produced this report in soft copy only.



    The Land Registry
    May 2021