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Adapting To a Greener Hong Kong

Here in Hong Kong, we like things to be fast and efficient. Every day at lunchtime, for example, thousands of people pour on to the streets and return to their desks an hour later, sated and ready for the afternoon’s work. This is quite an achievement, given the extraordinary density of our business districts.

But there is a downside. Such a fast-moving society is fuelled by single-use packaging, which creates a lot of waste. This is not going to change overnight, however, we can see that a shift in attitude is taking place.

The movement against straws has been a key trend recently and demonstrates that people in Hong Kong are willing and able to adapt very quickly.

Just in the past year or so, straws have become considerably less ubiquitous as consumers reject them as a particularly unnecessary use of plastic. Many cafes and restaurants – including some of the biggest global chains – have stopped automatically giving out straws.

This shows not only how quickly attitudes can change among consumers but also how businesses can respond rapidly to the demand.

Here at the Chamber we have our own in-house Green Pledge. We have already done away with straws and actively seek to buy products with less packaging. We recycle and reuse materials, and have reduced our paper use. Our efforts have been recognized by the Carbon Reduction Certificate from the Hong Kong Green Organisation Certification, and the Energy Saving Charter Scheme.

But we want to do better.

At our roundtable luncheons, for example, we usually offered drinks in plastic bottles. Of course, we recycle these bottles, but we want to go one step further, so by the end of the first quarter next year we plan to phase them out entirely. We will also be constantly reviewing our commitments and making changes as and when appropriate to ensure we remain on track in achieving the goals that we have set for ourselves.

If you have attended some of our recent events, you may have already noticed this change. Besides coffee and tea, we have jugs of lemon water and orange juice served in reusable acrylic glasses.

 As we roll out these changes next year, we’d like to hear what our members think. We are also interested in hearing how other companies are finding greener ways to operate, so please do get in touch to share any innovative solutions you have adopted. By taking steps in the right direction together, the business community can try to limit our impact on the planet.

 

Posted on 2018/11/06