Developing Hong Kong as a Sustainability Hub through Innovation
We were pleased to host the Ecosystem Summit 2021 as part of the StartmeupHK Festival on May 28. The pandemic has brought significant changes to the world we live in. While we are adapting to the new order, bolstering the health of our startup ecosystem is equally important so that we can emerge stronger from innovations.
Together with (from left to right) Ellie Tang (Head of Sustainability at New World Development Company Limited), Dr. William Yu (Founder and Chief Executive Officer from World Green Organization) and Tracy Wong Harris (Vice President & Deputy Secretary General at Hong Kong Green Finance Association), we discussed how to promote Hong Kong as a sustainability hub. We are delighted to share our takeaways below.
SUSTAINABILITY AND ESG (ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL, AND GOVERNANCE) ARE BUSINESS IMPERATIVES
Climate change brings major threats to mankind and solving environmental issues has become one of our top priorities. The way businesses operate will significantly impact how climate risk is managed. As a result, there has been a growing demand for innovations to make products and investments that are carbon neutral or even negative.
Tracy Wong Harris, Head of Sustainable Finance for Greater China and North Asia at Standard Chartered Bank and Vice President & Deputy Secretary General at Hong Kong Green Finance Association, mentioned that Hong Kong has made a lot of progress in the past few years in sustainability development, with the establishment of HKGFA in 2018 which brings together the government, regulators and the industry to develop green finance and sustainable investment. Last year, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange launched the Sustainable & Green Exchange (STAGE), a platform that enables easy tracking of sustainable investments and products in Hong Kong.
ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE THROUGH INNOVATIONS AND PARTNERSHIPS
Ellie Tang, Head of Sustainability at New World Development Company Limited, believes that ESG as a mindset is an innovation by itself. Traditional corporates tend to overlook ESG in their operations. With green financing and reporting in place, corporates are now incentivized to integrate ESG principles into their business planning and performance tracking.
Dr. William Yu, Founder and Chief Executive Officer from World Green Organization, stressed the importance of getting private sectors involved in green financing. “We need an ecosystem to bring all stakeholders together”, he said.
Another good way to accelerate sustainability is through innovations, such as looking into decarbonization technologies, as well as data and analytical tools to help us understand and measure our performances, said Ellie. Tracy also mentioned the need to bring people with different expertise together, such as connecting climate scientists with financial experts to evaluate impact and economic losses in the case of climate change.
Corporates and stakeholders should encourage partnerships to help tackle environmental issues. For example, New World Development has partnered with NAMI (Nano and Advanced Materials Institute) at Science Park, to look into ways to decarbonize cement as a key construction material.
CONTRIBUTING TO SUSTAINABILITY
The sustainability industry is not as exclusive and technical as the general public perceives it to be. Waste reduction through daily consumption alone can yield a great impact to the environment. Any businesses or corporates can start its green journey by simply tracking and testing their environmental impacts and any individuals can start by changing their consumption behavior today.
We are very thankful to all of the speakers and participants who shared their thoughts. As one of the ecosystem builders, The Mills Fabrica is proud to join forces with our peers to promote Hong Kong as an innovation hub. Once again, big thank you to our partners for this year’s event as well as everyone who has continued to support us.