Ideating For A Greener Future At Link’s Sustainability Lab

Intern @ Future Green | 28th June 2023 | 4min read

Lovely group photo with the Future Green team and Link REIT employees 

So fun to be returning to LINK Sustainability Lab, at one Link REIT’s  flagship malls in Lok Fu last week.  We designed and delivered our signature Food Sustainability Scoping Workshop to introduce this complex topic to LINK employees. It was insightful to host employees from different departments of the company, such as Asset Management, Sustainability, and Corporate Affairs, as it brought together a diverse group of individuals for the purpose of exchanging ideas and getting inspired.

With the open space, participants were greeted upon entering the Lab to enthusiastic chatter of children in the background, participating in the interactive games that we helped to do research for back in October 2022. As participants mingled and got themselves in place, a quick introduction round helped us settle in. Indeed, for a large developer like Link REIT, often employees don’t know of one another – this was a great opportunity to facilitate some team synergy!

The Chosen Six Topics

With Heidi kickstarting this workshop, participants were introduced to the complexity of food sustainability and the importance of holistic thinking – or what we call systems thinking. We introduced our 3 pillar framework  (that fully aligns with the UN SGDs), and it’s of no surprise that at first glance participants felt it to be incredibly daunting. With 15 focus areas embedded into this framework, it wasn’t possible  to cover all of them within our speedy 1.5 hour workshop. Instead we gave control to our audience and had them vote on 6 areas that they would like to learn more about. Each given 3 red dot stickers, they all cast their votes!

 Guests casting their votes

 The top 6 voted areas

The 6 top voted areas were revealed: Embrace Biodiversity, Support Animal Welfare, Reduce Food Loss & Waste, Uphold Fair Labour, Ensure Access to Nutritious Diets and Maintain Food Safety.  Wow! 3 out of 6 of the areas voted for fell under the ‘society’ pillar- it showed us people are wanting to learn more about supporting society and not shying away from this tricky space (as opposed to environmental challenges which typically get more interest in our experience).

Delving Into The Course

With 6 areas identified, Heidi dived into the top voted topics and for the next 25 minutes, gave a high level, basic but essential overview on each. It was great to see people so engaged and nodding along. 

Possibly, the area that saw the most interest was  ‘Ensure Access to Nutritious Diets’. Taking in the staggering statistics, such as 500 million Asians are considered overweight/obese, it’s no wonder Heidi had them hooked and focused on how we can access better food for our health. 

As all six areas were addressed, Q&As began and what a discussion it was! Keilem Ng (General Manager from the Sustainability Team) started off with a question on ‘support animal welfare’, asking ‘I’m not sure if this topic resonates as much with people in Asia as it does in the West, but what’s your opinion and experience on this Heidi?’.  A great question, Heidi’s answers focused on optimism and how education is key to breaking down barriers and to ‘pilot’ ideas and give it a go, specifically looking at IKEA’s example of ‘Better Chicken’. 

Other questions and discussions revolved around wanting more plant-based options in local restaurants, understanding how to better track supply chains, as well as seeing the rise of alternatives like ‘beyond meat’ in Hong Kong.

 Kicking off with the six top voted areas 

Let’s Begin The Workshop!

Splitting and mixing up the departments into two groups, we ran our super fun version of the Lighting Decision Jam. Our workshop highlighted the crucial role facilitation plays in driving success for teams as well as the secrets to unlocking true team synergy.

First up was the sailboat exercise. A simple tool to identify wins and challenges, it’s a nice stepping stone for defining a vision of where they want to go. With everyone concentrating hard and scribbling down their ideas on wins and challenges it became clear that both groups identified their surplus food wastage/ donation schemes as a great success. Challenges that arose from both groups looked into the culture and government policies on sustainability in Hong Kong.

Sailboat activity

By identifying the challenges, the next step was to categorise them. The best exercise for problem-framing, clustering the challenges was a helpful way to provide a clear and organised overview of prevalent issues. It’s clear that as both groups categorised their challenges, clarity started forming as the messiness of the sailboat points became much more organised and understandable. 

From here, we identified the two most voted challenges. We generated the ‘How Might We’ (HMW) questions to address the identified issues rather than just seeing them as obstacles. 


It was interesting to see two different insights from both groups: Group 1 prioritised internal business challenges (e.g. how might we leverage our existing resources?) whilst Group 2 focused on how to influence customers (e.g. how might we enable individuals to believe in their actions and willingness to change habits?).

All fun and laughter whilst categorising!

That’s a Speedy Wrap Up!

Phew! Was that a lot to digest in 1.5 hours? Perhaps, but did they enjoy it? Absolutely! Feedback was top notch! 

Having identified and pinpointed what challenges need to be explored, everyone took home exciting (and some new) ideas to tackle. Teams were pleasantly surprised to see what others had in mind in terms of ideas to action.

We thoroughly enjoyed our workshop for Link REIT employees and look forward to delivering more fun training and workshops in the future!

Do you qualify for a complimentary scoping workshop? Get in touch today: