Business Environment Council Hosted EnviroSeries Conference on Business Considerations in Conserving Natural Capital

Business Environment Council Limited 商界環保協會有限公司 (“BEC”) organised the EnviroSeries Conference on 21 May 2015 (Thursday) at JW Marriott Hong Kong. Entitled Embracing Natural Capital in a Densely Built Metropolis: Challenges and Solutions for Achieving Environmental Sustainability, 20 distinguished speakers were invited to share knowledge and insights on conserving natural capital and the relevance of natural capital to the business sector.

Natural capital represents the stocks of natural assets encompassing air, water, geology and all living things that provide ecosystem services.  Biodiversity, clean water, clean air and other natural assets are becoming increasingly important to policy makers and business leaders in their planning and decision making processes.

In this Conference, over 150 policy makers, industry experts, sustainability professionals and academics gathered to address challenges related to the protection of natural capital, with a view to transforming a congested city into a green and low carbon metropolis.

The Conference started with opening remarks by Prof John CHAI, BEC Chairman, followed by keynote presentation by Mr KS WONG, Secretary for the Environment, Hong Kong SAR Government.  Mr WONG highlighted the Government’s efforts in enhancing the conservation of Hong Kong’s natural capital including air, water and biodiversity.  Mr WONG also highlighted the need for a new form of partnership with a new mindset by all, including the Government, the business sector and the community, in order to achieve biodiversity enhancement and nature conservation.

Industry experts and academics shared their views on ways to balance development and conservation of natural capital.  Mr Mike KILBURN, Senior Manager, Environment, Airport Authority Hong Kong, gave examples of Hong Kong’s major development projects over the past decades and shared insights on the evolving influence of different stakeholders, such as the Government, non-governmental organisations, property developers and the general public, on the regulatory process.  Prof Nora TAM, Chair Professor, Department of Biology and Chemistry, City University of Hong Kong, stressed the importance of incorporating biodiversity into planning and operations of all sectors in order to achieve win-win scenario in biodiversity conservation and economic development.

A luncheon talk on the topic Developing the First City Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (“BSAP”) for Hong Kong was delivered by Dr Siu Fai LEUNG, Acting Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, Hong Kong SAR Government.  Dr LEUNG introduced the Government’s initiative of formulating the first BSAP for Hong Kong and highlighted the importance of biodiversity and associated business considerations.

In the afternoon session, speakers and panelists shared inspiring ideas on enhancing Hong Kong’s water resource management.  Ir Chung Leung WONG, Deputy Director of Water Supplies, Hong Kong SAR Government, pointed out the challenges in securing Hong Kong’s water supply and the need for concerted efforts to enhance water security and build resilience.  To draw on overseas experience, Mrs Rita HÄMMERLI-WESCHKE, Consul-General, Consulate General of Switzerland in Hong Kong shared with the audience Switzerland’s comprehensive water management philosophy as well as projects to mitigate water-related risks and ensure sustainability of water resources.

Staged twice a year the EnviroSeries Conference is BEC’s flagship conference that aims to provide a cross-sector forum to discuss and address key issues related to Hong Kong’s environmental sustainability.

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Photo Captions

(1) Prof John CHAI, BEC Chairman, delivered the opening remarks at BEC EnviroSeries Conference.

(2) Mr KS WONG, Secretary for the Environment of the Hong Kong SAR Government, highlighted the Government’s efforts in enhancing the conservation of Hong Kong’s natural capital.

(3) BEC thanked the corporate sponsors for their generous support for the EnviroSeries Conference.

(4) BEC EnviroSeries Conference attracted over 150 participants including policy makers, business leaders, industry experts and academics.

Please click here for Chinese version of the press release (中文版).