Towards a greener future

by Isabella Lee

C M Yeung
production director
Leo Paper Group (Hong Kong) Limited
Photo: Nolly Leung

Environmentally conscious manufacturer steps up measures to protect the earth

By utilising environmentally sound technology and materials, today's printing industry is becoming more eco-friendly.

Headquartered in Hong Kong, Leo Paper Group is one of the largest paper products manufacturers in the world. The group has long recognised the importance of promoting environmental efforts within the organisation and been supporting conservation practices.

"We stress the importance of environmental conservation to our entire team through a variety of in-house activities and training to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal," says C M Yeung, production director, Leo Paper Group (Hong Kong) Limited.

The group, which has a global workforce of more than 26,000 employees, has also joined forces with conservation organisations such as Friends of the Earth and the WWF to enhance employees' environmental awareness through seminars, workshops and community involvement.

Concrete action

Leo Paper aims to achieve zero wastage during production by eliminating unnecessary components throughout the process, from pre-press to press and post-press services, design, packaging and delivery.

The group adheres to a five-R principle of replace, reduce, reuse, reform and recycle during every stage of the manufacturing and supply chain processes.

"In order to become a carbon-neutral corporation, we have established a consistent carbon offset scheme to control greenhouse gas levels," Mr Yeung says. "We have found ways to improve our production lines and the air quality in our environment through systematic, scientific investigations into our carbon emissions."

Working towards this goal, the group has reserved 6,500 acres of land in mainland China on which it plans to plant more than 700,000 trees. The group's tree-planting efforts date back to 2004, when Leo Paper participated in a three-year corporate woodland conservation project run by Friends of the Earth. The group has also worked with the local municipal government to implement green measures at its factory in Heshan and in the surrounding communities.

Preserving energy is a crucial aspect of protecting the earth and Leo Paper has set up its own energy saving taskforce which comprises representatives from various departments who will manage individual energy saving projects ranging from installing energy saving equipment into large machines to applying reflective film on windowpanes.

"Although our sustainability initiatives come with a price tag, we don't hold back on these investments," Mr Yeung notes. "We are responsible for nurturing a better environment. Adopting sustainable practices will be more cost-effective in the long run."

The group has initiatives in place across the board to maximise energy output. For instance, the installation of a heat pumping system that converts heat generated from the central air-conditioning system to the hot water supply has helped save about 40,000 gallons of fuel annually. The simple replacement of T8 florescent lighting with the more efficient T5 version has also lowered electricity consumption by 15 to 25 per cent.

The way forward

Leo Paper Group also promotes the use of environmentally friendly materials, such as the Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper for printing. The group also uses other green materials to make and package its products.

"As a total service provider, our team offers all our customers the best and greenest solutions, catering for their individual needs. For example, we have the skills to provide light packaging by using new technology and lighter materials," Mr Yeung notes.

One of four green enterprises who participated in a pilot project launched by the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department in 2006, the group is keen to share best practices for cleaner production in the Pearl River Delta manufacturing industry. "It is everyone's duty to protect the world that we live in and its natural resources. As a responsible corporate citizen, we believe in monitoring and controlling our activities that can have an impact on the environment, and in proactively responding to these issues," adds Mr Yeung.

Besides these, Leo Paper has taken various measures to ensure that it achieves the desired level of environmental protection performance. The group was ISO14001-accredited as far back as 2001 and has the Hong Kong Green Mark certification from the Hong Kong Q-Mark Council.

"In 2007, our group won the Hang Seng Pearl River Delta Environmental Grand Award, which has reinforced our drive to build on our 'green harmony' principles," Mr Yeung notes.


Taken from Career Times 14 November 2008, p. B2
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