Green opportunities in Hong Kong

Do you have a solution that could help the territory on its low-carbon transformation?

 

In late November 2020, Hong Kong became yet another jurisdiction to state its ambition and pledge to become net zero. In her annual Policy Address, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced “that the HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) will strive to achieve carbon neutrality before 2050.”.

 

While it could NOT be hailed as the most bullish of timelines, it IS a great step forwards and follows in the path of the President of Mainland China Xi Jinping’s recent speech to the United Nations when he made it clear that China would endeavour to achieve carbon-neutrality before 2060.

 

While specifics will become clear over the next while, the Policy Address already provides a sense of the direction of travel and priorities for Hong Kong’s intended low-carbon transformation. Here are a few headline themes: (figures in brackets are the related paragraphs in the Policy Address):

• Reinvent construction, including through digitalisation and innovation, as part of the ongoing investment in infrastructure (57, 59)

• Various plans to develop/redevelop different districts for mixed community spaces serving conservation, nature, entertainment etc (111, 113)

• A new multi-modal environmentally friendly linkage system for Kowloon East, comprising bus/minibus routes, travellators, tracks for pedestrians and cyclists, water-taxis (116, 119)

• Smart mobility through applying technology to improve road efficiency (118).

• Promoting a green recovery through initiatives like installing more electric vehicle charging-enabling infrastructure and expanding the recycling network (124)

• The Government has indicated plans to examine various means to reduce carbon emissions, including zero-carbon energy and decarbonisation technology; enhancing the energy efficient of both new and existing buildings; promoting zero-carbon vehicles and green transportation, and building large scale waste-to-energy facilities (127).

• Supporting all of the above will be more stringent energy efficient standards, green finance will be developed to facilitate the investment required and there will be a push to enhance public education and publicity.

 

 

All of this, plus there is an indication that there will be lots more coming – a Green Tech Fund, new long-term strategy blueprint for waste, electric vehicles, updating the Clean Air Plan (124) – so there’s lots to do in the territory and inspiration/ideas will certainly be sought from offshore, for proven technologies, use cases, and more.

 

Looking beyond Hong Kong, the territory plus some of the southern provinces of Mainland China plus the other Special Administrative Region, Macau, comprise the land mass that is the Greater Bay Area. The so-called GBA comprising 90 million people is being developed as an integrated region, that already has impressive economic firepower of some USD24,000 GDP per capita. So, whether considering Hong Kong on its own or as an international entry point and intermediary to this larger region, the business opportunities for cleantech and green solutions in and through Hong Kong has arguably never been more attractive.

 

While the Policy Address isn’t a shopping list of what the territory needs to source, it does give a strong indication of what the Government is seeking to do, but it’s unlikely the current provision of goods and services in Hong Kong will have all the answers.

 

If you operate in any of these areas and have offerings that could help Hong Kong achieve these goals, you would be well advised to explore them now.

 

Should you wish to learn any more details about the market in Hong Kong, please do get in touch with Fiona of Red Links. Red Links is a Hong Kong-based consultancy, helping build responsible businesses, through services in strategy, engagement and sustainability.

 

Notes:
– the full text and summaries of the address are available:
https://www.policyaddress.gov.hk/2020/eng/index.html
– these plans are subject to approval but can be taken as a strong indication of what is likely to
happen