Connecting, Nurturing, Creating for Sustainable Environment

Origin & Milestones


  • Concerned about Hong Kong's deteriorating air and water quality, former Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) Chairman Sir William Purves conceives a non-profit think-tank geared towards influencing government and business. He invites key business leaders to join HSBC to undertake research and identify appropriate actions to address environmental problems in Hong Kong.


  •  Sir William Purves' idea comes to fruition as 19 leading businesses come together to form the Private Sector Committee on the Environment (PSCE). Sir Purves becomes the founding Chair.







  •  PSCE establishes the Centre for Environmental Technology (CET) to pool resources and provide practical assistance to polluting industries on how to clean up through research, training, conferences and award programs.






  • The Governor's Award for Industry in Environmental Protection is launched (later became the Hong Kong Awards for Industries in Environmental Performance, organised by CET). 
  • CET develops industrial pollution self checking system for the manufacturing industry.
  • Global milestone: United Nations organises the Earth Summit. The articles of sustainable development are embodied in Agenda 21.


  • CET organises the Factory Fora and Visit Programme to demonstrate best practice in air and water pollution prevention, waste minimisation and cleaner production for more than 3,000 factories.
  • CET sets up a cross-sector industry environmental hotline handling over 3,000 enquiries helping companies to address environmental issues.


  • CET is an adviser to the first Eco-Labelling Life-Cycle Analysis and Green Purchasing study in Hong Kong on behalf of the Environmental Protection Department.
  • Global milestone: The World Business Council for Sustainable Development is formed.


  • Former HKSAR Government Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan, officiates the opening of our headquarters in the Jockey Club Environmental Building, a sustainable development resource centre for the Hong Kong community.
  • PCSE formally launches Building Environmental Assessment Method (BEAM), a voluntary assessment scheme to measure, improve and label the environmental sustainability of buildings.


  • CET organises the first Energy Efficient Building Award on behalf of the HKSAR Government, recognising outstanding performance in the design, installation and integration of building services systems to achieve high-energy efficiency.
  • CET publishes the International Legislation and Trends in Transport Packaging for Hong Kong’s Manufacturers. It is published in English and Chinese.
  • Global milestone: Sovereignty of Hong Kong is returned to the People's Republic of China.


  • PSCE publishes the Hong Kong Exporters on Europe's Packaging Waste Management System bilingual guide.
  • CET co-develops the sustainable tourism strategy with the Hong Kong Tourist Association.


  • PSCE rallies 20 private-sector and government leaders to sign the United Nations Environmental Programme's (UNEP) International Declaration on Cleaner Production. The ceremony is officiated by Mr Tung Chee Hwa, former Chief Executive of the HKSAR Government.
  • CET initiates the inaugural Hong Kong Eco-Products Award with support from Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, Chinese Manufacturers' Association, Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Hong Kong Industries to honour outstanding environmental products across the whole product life cycle.
  • PSCE members fund a Floating Refuse Collection Trial Project to demonstrate the benefits of improved technology and identify options for more effective marine refuse collection strategies.
  • Global Milestone: Kyoto Protocol agreement is drawn under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.


  • PSCE and CET are merged to form the Business Environment Council (BEC).
  • BEC organises the first Markets and Investor conference on financing sustainable development.
  • Global Milestone: The United Nations includes environmental sustainability in the Millennium Declaration.


  • BEC creates ISO 14001 templates and case studies for Hong Kong's small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as part of the government's Support Action Plans initiative.
  • BEC produces the Pollution Control Legislation Affecting Manufacturing Industries for the Trade and Industry Department guide for the HKSAR Government.


  • The Business and Industry Environment Conferences, initiated by BEC in 1992, is reconfigured under a series of themed events and is rebranded as the EnviroSeries.
  • BEC co-implements Project Acorn to support local organisations in improving their environmental performance with funding from Trade and Industry Department and in partnership with Hong Kong Productivity Council.
  • Global Milestone: World Summit on Sustainable Development is held.


  • BEC becomes Hong Kong's Regional Network Partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.


  • BEC's Hong Kong Business Guide to Sustainable Development is initiated and is Hong Kong's first bilingual publication and web source for all business enterprises.
  • BEC assists with the development and launch of HSBC's first Living Business Awards in recognition of socially and environmentally responsible small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Hong Kong.
  • BEC develops the guidebook on Waste Separation and Recovery in Residential Buildings for the Environmental Protection Department, HKSAR Government.


  • BEC initiates the Harbour Business Forum with a mission to realise Hong Kong's harbour and harbourfront as a vibrant, accessible and sustainable world-class asset.
  • Hong Kong Housing Authority's Lam Tin Phases 7 and 8 is celebrated as the 100th BEAM certified green property development.
  • BEC's Business-led Initiatives on Air Pollution is launched to tackle air pollution in Hong Kong and across the region.
  • BEC co-develops and launches Hong Kong's Great Outdoors guide map, the first comprehensive bilingual eco-tourism guide map.
  • China State Construction Engineering (Hong Kong) Limited becomes BEC's 100th Council Member.
  • Global Milestone: Over 160 countries ratify Kyoto Protocol's targets.


  • BEC organises the Hong Kong Awards for Industries: Environmental Performance, which recognizes best practices in corporate environmental responsibility, for its 15th year.
  • The Harbour Business Forum organises the My Harbour Design Competition, inviting Hong Kong's people to share ideas for a new Victoria Harbour.
  • Gammon Construction Sustainability Report Verification becomes BEC's 1,000th project.
  • Global milestone: Stern Report predicts that global warming may lead to an economic disaster comparable to the Great Depression in the 1930s.


  • BEC launches its new logo and celebrates its 18th Anniversary with members and partners. The celebration is officiated by Mr Edward Yau, Secretary for the Environment, HKSAR.
  • The BEC IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) Solutions Centre becomes Hong Kong's first accredited certificate issuing body (CIB) approved by the Hong Kong Accreditation Service.
  • BEC expands to a network of more than 20,000 companies with a combined market capitalisation of HK$3 trillion and 1 million employees (as of May 2008).
  • BEC representative attends the United Nations Climate Conference 2007 in Bali as part of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development delegation.
  • Global Milestone: China's 11th Five-Year Plan was mapped out including goals for sustainable development.


  • BEC collaborates with Peking University on a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) research to understand the current CSR situation of mainland China corporations and propose policy recommendation.
  • BEC initiates Hong Kong Building Greenhouse Gas Rating Scheme to benchmark and communicate the greenhouse gas performance of buildings.
  • BEC formally launches the Climate Change Business Forum in March 2008. The Forum aims at providing a high level platform for business leaders to understand and communicate the opportunities and challenges in the increasingly carbon constrained world. The Hon Mr C Y Leung and Mr Tony Tyler are the founding chairs for the Forum.
  • BEC to jointly organise the 13th Green China Forum with Ministry of Environmental Protection's China Environmental Culture Promotion Association, and Hong Kong's InterCham, an affiliation of all 27 international chambers of commerce in Hong Kong.


  • Co-founded Hong Kong Green Building Council to engage community, industry and government to create practical solutions for Hong Kong’s unique subtropical built environment.
  • Funded by the Sustainable Development Fund, BEC brought the concept of corporate sustainability to secondary school students and promoted the “Triple Bottom Line” mindset through “Preparing Students to Embrace Corporate Sustainability, Bridging the Gap between High Schools and the Business Sector” Programme in 2009-2011.


  • BEC has been appointed as a member of the Harbourfront Commission by the Hong Kong SAR Government since 2010. The Harbourfront Commission plays an advocacy, oversight and advisory role in the envisioning, planning, urban design, marketing and branding, development, management and operation of the harbourfront areas and facilities on a continuous and ongoing basis


  • Launched the “BEC Low-carbon Home” and “BEC Low-carbon School” youth engagement programmes to promote low-carbon living and business-societal coalition to tertiary and secondary students respectively through a series of activities
  • Under BEC Low-carbon School, BEC has been organising “Dialogue with the Secretary for the Environment” at Eco Expo Asia, an annual international trade fair on environmental protection, since 2011.  The annual Dialogues provided secondary school students with the opportunities to discuss local issues on low carbon economy with the Secretary for the Environment.


  • Named a “Caring Organisation” by the Hong Kong Council of Social Services in recognition of our commitment in caring for the community, for the employees and for the environment.
  • BEC set up BEC Institute of Environmental Education (“BEC IEE”) to provide a platform for business managers and decision makers to develop their expertise in environmental-related topics and facilitate their decision-making. BEC IEE also facilitates professional development by promoting quality environmental education through various environmental education programmes.

  • Funded by the Sustainable Development Fund, BEC strived to enhance the awareness of corporate sustainability amongst the construction sector and developed practical guidelines to promote the adoption of best practices through the “Moving the Construction Sector towards Sustainable Development” Programme.

  • BEC has been co-organising a long-term community environmental programme titled "Green Delight in Estates" with the Hong Kong Housing Authority since 2012.  The programme aims to raise the environmental awareness of public rental housing residents and instill a culture of protecting and improving the environment.

  • BEC Leadership Networking Series was kick-started in September 2012 with the aim of providing a platform for sustainability leaders and practitioners to share their insights on environment and sustainability issues in an open and relaxing atmosphere.


  • BEC set up four advisory groups to promote best practices among members and the wider business community on four key environmental topics, namely ESG (Environment, Social and Governance), waste management, energy and climate change.

  • Secretary for the Environment Mr. K S Wong was the keynote speaker of BEC Anniversary Dinner 2013 and shared the government’s plan on reducing solid waste under “Hong Kong Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013 – 2022”.  The annual flagship event attracted over 300 guests including government officials, corporate leaders and industry experts.

  • BEC Green Office Team was formed to establish environmental objectives and targets for BEC’s internal operations as well as to engage staff of different levels to participate in environmental practices within the office.


  • BEC Policy Dialogue Series was launched in January 2014 to provide unique opportunities for BEC members to have discussion with senior government officials on major environmental affairs pertinent to Hong Kong, understand more thoroughly the policy direction of the Government, and express viewpoints and opinions.
  • BEC published “BEC Handbook: Understanding Materiality for Environmental, Social and Governance Reporting”.  The Handbook identifies reporting elements that are global best practices among leaders in ESG disclosure across different industry sectors and is intended to help listed companies understand which elements of the HKEx ESG Reporting Guide to report based on what is “material” to their business and hence be better equipped to respond to the HKEx ESG Reporting Guide.

  • BEC Headquarters achieved the Platinum rating of Provisional Assessment under the BEAM Plus Existing Buildings (version 1.2).  It is the first commercial building in Hong Kong which has achieved the highest level of recognition under the BEAM Plus assessment for existing buildings.

  • BEC’s advisory services relating to building, energy, environmental management, corporate sustainability and BEC Institute of Environmental Education have been certified to ISO 9001:2008.

  • BEC and our facility manager operate an environmental management system in BEC Headquarters.  The daily operations of the BEC Headquarters have been certified to ISO 14001:2004.

  • BEC organised its first overseas visit.  Delegates visited various waste-to-energy facilities in Singapore.  They also visited “WasteMet Asia Expo”, a major environmental exhibition which BEC was one of the supporting organisations.

  • BEC has been commissioned by the Environmental Protection Department to coordinate the implementation of the territory-wide Glass Bottle Recycling Programme for Housing Estates in Hong Kong since 2014.  BEC has helped set up more glass bottle collection points in housing estates in various districts and provided the associated collection services.

  • BEC Staff Club was formed to promote a culture of health and sport within workplace.

  • BEC participated in "SHKP Vertical Run for Charity – Race to Hong Kong ICC". It was a rewarding experience for BEC colleagues who contributed their time and energy to help raise funds for the Community Chest of Hong Kong.


  • BEC Transport and Logistics Advisory Group was formed to promote environmental sustainability in transportation and logistics amongst the BEC membership and broader business community in Hong Kong.
  • BEC was awarded Wastewi$e Label – Class of EXCELLENCE by Environmental Campaign Committee – Hong Kong Awards for Environment Excellence.

  • BEC developed the Climate Resilience Roadmap for Business, in recognition of the importance of Hong Kong’s business sector in understanding and preparing for the impacts of climate change. The Roadmap made recommendations for business as well as recommendations for Government that support action by business. It drew out the actions needed by different sectors, integral to Hong Kong’s economy; namely construction, energy, finance, manufacturing, property and transport.


  • BEC participated in the Environment Bureau’s Charter on External Lighting which aims to help minimise light nuisance and energy wastage problems that may be caused by external lighting installations in Hong Kong.
  • BEC joined the Paris Pledge for Action after the adoption of Paris Agreement on 12 December 2015 at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and aimed to reduce our own carbon footprint while encouraging members and Hong Kong business community to support these commitments. 

  • BEC published its first Sustainability Report which covered the financial year from 1 October 2014 to 30 September 2015 and detailed BEC’s vision and mission, strategic direction, activities and accomplishments, as well as its social, environmental and governance performance.

  • Named a “Good MPF Employer Award 2015-16” by Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority in recognition of BEC’s effort in enhancing its employees’ retirement protection. 


"I am pleased that the territory's large companies have decided to come together and find practical, and businesslike, ways of cleaning up the environment."

Lord Wilson of Tillyorn, Governor, Hong Kong (1987-1992)


"As a founding member, we are proud of our long association with BEC. Since 1989, the BEC has been committed to promoting sustainable development practices in Hong Kong and has made a significant contribution amongst Hong Kong businesses."

Mr Jonathan Addis, Chief Operating Officer, The Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation









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