The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

Home / case studies / Case study: How Wharf promotes customer health and safety

Case study: How Wharf promotes customer health and safety

Founded in 1886, Wharf (Holdings) Limited (“Wharf”) has since expanded its operations and is now mainly engaged in Hong Kong development properties, including the Peak Portfolio and Kowloon East Waterfront Portfolio, the port and logistic business under Modern Terminals in Hong Kong and property development and investment properties in Mainland China, also running a fast expanding hotel portfolio under Wharf Hotels in Asia. Providing a safe, healthy and enjoyable experience for its customers at all times, is Wharf’s top priority.  Tweet This!

This case study is based on the 2017 Sustainability Report by Wharf published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Wharf frequently assesses product and services safety such as food safety and facilities hygiene, to protect consumers’ health and enhance the comfort and wellbeing of all guests and visitors. In order to promote customer health and safety Wharf took action to:

  • offer accessible and caring facilities
  • keep premises safe
  • promote food safety

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2017 Sustainability Report Wharf identified a range of material issues, such as socioeconomic compliance, customer privacy, anti-corruption, environmental compliance, non-discrimination. Among these, promoting customer health and safety stands out as a key material issue for Wharf.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Wharf engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement



·      Surveys and focus groups

·      Town hall meetings

·      Intranet and internal publications

Shareholders, investors and financial analysts ·      General meeting(s)

·      Financial Reports, announcements and circular(s)

·      Corporate communications and company websites

Customers ·      Surveys and focus groups

·      Social media platforms

·      Service centres and hotlines

Government, regulatory bodies and industry associations ·      Regulatory taskforces and committees

·      Industry operational meetings

·      Forums and conferences




·      Media briefings and luncheons

·      Executive interviews

·      Instant updates on internet

Business partners (including suppliers, contractors and sub-contractors) ·      Tendering

·      Operational meetings

·      Contract and performance review


Local community


·      Community investment programmes

·      Company visits

·      Social media platforms

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs)


·      Programme partnership meetings

·      Regular programme review and assessment

·      Forums and conferences

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Wharf engaged, through an online survey, interviews and focus group discussions, with more than 700 stakeholders, including employees, suppliers, contractors and sub-contractors, tenants, investors and financial analysts, and community partners.

What actions were taken by Wharf to promote customer health and safety?

In its 2017 Sustainability Report Wharf reports that it took the following actions for promoting customer health and safety:

  • Offering accessible and caring facilities
  • The design and features of Wharf’s premises take into consideration the different needs of its customers. Accordingly, Wharf’s shopping malls and hotels provide barrier-free facilities, such as elevators, electric stair-climbing wheelchairs, accessible toilets and designated parking slots, offering to customers safe and convenient access to the premises. Portable induction loop systems are also provided at the shopping mall concierge, to offer hearing aids for the people in need. In addition, the provision of family- and mother-friendly facilities contributes to a pleasant experience for visitors and guests. For example, there are six baby nursery rooms at Chengdu IFS, equipped with thoughtful amenities.
  • Keeping premises safe
  • Wharf carries out regular safety inspections and annual maintenance of facilities in all its premises, and also selects and monitors suppliers based on the health and safety performance of their products and services. During daily patrol at the premises, security personnel inspects facilities or items that may have possible health and safety risks, and makes sure that the conditions of escape stairs, corridors and other fire compartments comply with fire safety regulations. Wharf also provides fire safety training to all staff, equipping them with skills on escape planning, evacuation and fire extinguishing. At Chengdu IFS, Wharf’s committed staff conducted door-to-door fire safety trainings for more than 400 tenants, enhancing their awareness of fire safety. In addition, to enable all customers to fully enjoy public spaces, Wharf carefully plans and deploys crowd control measures, especially during large-scale events. Wharf’s premises are also equipped with adequate first aid equipment and automated external defibrillators and, in cases of emergency, Wharf’s qualified first aid team will arrive at the scene quickly to offer medical assistance. Additionally, Wharf seeks to provide a hygienic and healthy environment for customers while they enjoy their time at its premises, making sure that the premises achieve excellent indoor air quality through the regular monitoring and installation of fresh air systems. For example, besides adhering to an indoor smoking ban, Shanghai Wheelock Square obtained LEED Gold certification, with excellent performance in indoor air quality.
  • Promoting food safety
  • At Wharf Hotels, Wharf strictly complies with the Food Safety Law and Operating Rules for Food Safety in Catering Services in Mainland China. Wharf’s Marco Polo Hotels carry out weekly food safety inspections and monthly food safety training and assessments, for all catering staff. Wharf also conducts monthly audits on high risk food suppliers, to ensure that they always meet Wharf’s required safety standards. There were no incidents of non-compliance with regulations and voluntary codes resulting in a fine or penalty, during the reporting year.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 416-2 Incidents of non-compliance concerning the health and safety impacts of products and services


Disclosure 416-2 Incidents of non-compliance concerning the health and safety impacts of products and services corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Business theme: Compliance with laws and regulations


80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.

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1) This case study is based on published information by Wharf, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:


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