Section 1 | Section 2 | Section 3 | Section 4

Section 3

Preparing a Quality EPR

Main Content

Section 3 Preparing a Quality EPR

What should I observe when preparing the EPR?

EPD's A Benchmark for Environmental Performance Reports (hereby referred to as the EPR Benchmark) provides useful guidance on what a well-prepared EPR should include and communicate. This Section is especially designed for experienced reporters to address the elements as set out in the EPR Benchmark and to improve the quality of their EPRs. Adopting a consistent structure with the EPR Benchmark, this Section presents you with practical considerations for addressing each element raised by the EPR Benchmark. When reading this Section, you are highly encouraged to refer back to the actual A Benchmark for Environmental Performance Reports document for its original text and interpretations. You can also use the Self-Scoring Template, a spreadsheet developed based on the EPR Benchmark and available through this Cyber Helpdesk, to evaluate your EPR.

Click here to A Benchmark for Environmental Performance Reports to download its pdf version
Click here to download the Self-Scoring Template Excel file format

 I. Communication

 To address this element, you are essentially asking these questions:

How effective is the report?
Does the reported information help the reader form a picture of the organization and understand its environmental issues, intentions, initiatives and performance?

1. Context
Hint: Set the scene by including appropriate background information

Consider: Nature, scope and scale of operations and activities (key programme areas, budget ceiling, staff numbers, offices / facilities / projects / sites / equipment); boundary of influence (policy areas, interaction with other parties including suppliers and contractors, target audiences, service receivers, business partners, local communities; Mainland communities; overseas communities); roles and responsibilities; structure; relevant policies (quality, environmental, social, health and safety policies); etc.

2. Basic Principles of Reporting
Hint: Explain your reporting approach and what matters in your report

Consider: Inclusions and exclusions (topic-wise, organizational-wise); intentions and purposes; target audience and their concerns; controversial issues; treatment of information and data; etc.

3. Report Structure
Hint: Adopt a logical, easy-to-follow structure (i.e. with a logical "red thread"* coherently linking all report sections)

Consider: Using sections, headings and sub-headings effectively; ensuring linkages between sections; including a clear table of contents; etc.

*see more in A Benchmark for Environmental Performance Reports
4. Readability
Hint: Ensure that it is a pleasure to read the report

Consider: Avoiding jargon or technical terms; including necessary definitions, references, and explanatory notes; stimulating interest with pictures, case highlights, linkages to everyday life, summary charts, figures, data graphs and trends; etc.

5. Accessibility and Quick Reading
Hint: Know who your audiences are, enable them to find your report and quickly find the information they need in your report, as well as provide a channel for them to effectively request for and receive additional information and send feedback. Include an executive summary as needed.

Consider: Target audience distribution list; internet posting; paper copies in libraries; distribution of electronic version through email; using tags/quick finders, colour coding, symbols, dividers, report map in the report; executive summary, etc.

 II. Relevance

 To address this element, you are essentially asking these questions:

Does the report make sense?
Does it cover the right issues for the right audience given the nature, scale and scope of your Department/Bureau?

6. Stakeholders and Report Target Audience
Hint: Identify them and their concerns, and address their concerns

Consider: Various community groups; service receivers and providers; business partners, suppliers and contractors; staff members; unions and associations; professional institutes and educational institutions; the private sector; other government departments and bureaux; etc.

7. Significant Aspects
Hint: Identify and prioritize the aspects that have the potential to impact on the environment and support your judgement by relevant facts

Consider: List of or selected key/significant aspects; their potential impacts or issues; direct and indirect impacts; life cycle illustrations; etc.

 III. Commitment and Management

 To address this element, you are essentially asking these questions:
Do you feel confident that the top management and staff are committed to environmental performance improvement?
Is environmental management adequate and effective?

8. Vision and Strategy
Hint: State clearly the departmental/bureau vision and strategy towards environmental performance improvement, or towards sustainable development. Note that the vision and strategy has to cover the most pressing environmental challenges, directly relevant to your operations, that need to be solved.

Consider: Goals, policies, mission statements, visions, management approach and strategies; etc.

9. Management Commitment
Hint: Show management commitment to and involvement in the environmental management and reporting processes. In particular, management commitment in relation to the adoption and implementation of principles, values and policies is useful.

Consider: Including a message by one or more top/directorate management personnel; notes on management's approach and views regarding specific issues; excerpts of management level interviews; pictures of management personnel in action in committee meetings, green events, tree-planting activities, consultation; etc.

10. Responsibilities and Organizational Structure
Hint: Identify the responsibilities and accountabilities of staff for all reporting issues

Consider: Internal responsibilities and structure (Green Manager, Executives, Committee and working level); interface with the private sector, other government departments and bureaux; etc.

11. Improvement Actions
Hint: Describe the contents, progress and results of improvement actions/programmes that were undertaken in the current and previous reporting years

Consider: Improvement plans/programmes; specific environmental initiatives; target plans; objectives and targets; presentation of improvement actions in a clear, easy-to-read table format; etc.

12. Management System and Integration into Business Processes
Hint: Describe key procedures and management tools and how environmental considerations are incorporated into decision- making and daily operations

Consider: EMS; audit; target plans; management review; committee meeting; environmental review; environmental consideration checklist; etc.

13. Supply Chain and Value Chain
Hint: Describe co-operation with customers and how relationships with clients, suppliers and contractors are strengthened. For example, how they are managed, assessed and engaged in dialogue with you, what environmental expectations/specifications clients require of you and those that you require of your suppliers and contractors

Consider: Supplier/contractor assessment; communication and correspondence; training; contract requirements and specifications; etc.

 IV. Performance

 To address this element, you are essentially asking these questions:

Does the report clearly show and assess performance levels in relevant areas?
Will the reader have a clear understanding of the reporting organization's performance in each relevant area?

14. Metrics and Indicators
Hint: Report relevant environmental data and indicators where possible and demonstrates logic in the choice of indicators

Consider: Absolute indicators; normalized indicators; environmental condition performance indicators; management performance indicators; operational performance indicators; etc.

15. Trends
Hint: Report historical trends and provide year-on-year comparison where possible to identify long term trends and predict potential future directions

Consider: Short-term and long-term trends (e.g. 3-year trends; 5-year trends; etc.); Sectoral trends

16. Targets
Hint: State your targets for improvement, including specific actions, applicable timelines and quantified performance levels to be attained

Consider: Specific actions under the broader scope of an objective; short-term targets; long-term targets; department-wide targets; divisional targets; etc.

17. Interpretation and Benchmarks
Hint: Assess and explain specific levels of performance and progress, and compare performance with similar local and/or overseas organizations where possible

Consider: Assessment scale (good/pass/bad); data from external sources for benchmarking; against overall performance and specific indicators; etc.

 V. Credibility

 To address this element, you are essentially asking these questions:
Can the reported information be trusted?
Is the report convincing?
Is the report's coverage balanced, content fair and unbiased?

18. Balance of Issues
Hint: Cover a balanced spectrum of relevant and significant issues, including controversial ones

Consider: A balanced selection of decision-making, operational and housekeeping issues; a full coverage of the most significant issues and sufficient coverage of other issues of relevance to your operations or of a controversial nature (both positive and negative); etc.

19. Engagement with Stakeholders
Hint: Demonstrate communication with stakeholders and consideration of their concerns

Consider: Describing the stakeholder consultation process used (e.g. survey, written communications, focused group meetings, stakeholder workshops, community advisory panels, web discussion/feedback process); stakeholders identified in the process; stakeholder concerns openly and separately discussed; feedback on a previous report and how it has been addressed; etc.

20. Assurance Services
Hint: Include a verification statement in the report

Consider: Independent verification; third party opinion; etc.

Click below for related FAQ(s) from the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Q5 - How should I meaningfully report environmental performance? Is describing the specific environmental initiatives and programmes that are undertaken in the reporting year enough?
Q6 - What indicators would be suitable for my department/bureau to use to measure and report environmental performance?
Q8 - How should I set objectives and targets in light of the pressure that those set objectives and targets will need to be achieved and will be more difficult to achieve year after year?
Q11 - How do I balance my department/bureau's need to produce a short report (i.e. constraints on report length) while meeting the requirements of the ETWB Circular Memorandum No. 1/2007, the EPD Guidebook and the Benchmark Tool?
Q16 - Should my department/bureau's report be independently verified and if so by whom?
Q19 - "Sustainability" has been increasingly mentioned on the environmental scene in recent years. What could I do in this respect beyond environmental reporting?
Click below for related tip(s) from the 10 Tips for Successful EPRs:
Tip #2 - Remember the importance of report coherence.
Tip #3 - Coherence between consecutive yearly reports is also important!
Tip #4 - Work closely with the Green Manager and/or Green Executives.
Tip #6 - Review existing environmental data and information to facilitate data collection and reporting.
Tip #7 - When measurement is not feasible, apply common sense and educated estimation to obtain performance level information.
Tip #8 - Learn from EPRs produced by comparable organizations, either local or overseas.
Tip #9 - Improve the quality of your EPR by benchmarking, and assure its credibility by independent verification.
Tip #10 - Register with international reporting organizations to receive their free monthly updates on sustainability and environmental reporting and relevant issues.

| Important Notices | Privacy Policy |
Level Double-A conformance, W3C WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0Web Accessibility Recognition Scheme