Hong Kong, 10 February 2015 - Following the announcement of the Chief Executive’s 2015 Policy Address, Business Environment Council Limited 商界環保協會有限公司 (“BEC”) organised two policy discussion forums under BEC Policy Dialogue Series for government officials to elaborate and discuss with the business sector the environmental related policies announced in the 2015 Policy Address, with particular reference to the suggestions raised in the Policy Address submission made by BEC.
In the first forum held on 22 January 2015, Ms Christine Loh, JP, Under Secretary for the Environment of the Hong Kong SAR Government, responded to BEC’s policy recommendations in various policy areas, including waste-to-resources initiatives, energy policy, climate change, as well as economic, social and governance reporting.
On the Government’s waste-to-resources plan, Ms Loh explained that it involved much time and effort to go through the necessary procedures, such as working with law draftsmen to draft the legislation on municipal solid waste charging and getting approval from the Legislative Council. BEC notes the difficulties that the Government is facing and looks forward to early implementation of various waste-to-resources initiatives.
Ms Loh updated participants on upcoming policy papers to be released by the Government. On energy policy, Ms Loh remarked that the Government was considering the views collected during the fuel fix consultation in 2014, and that the consultation results would be released together with a consultation paper on electricity market review in the first half of 2015. Ms Loh also updated that the Government would release a policy paper on climate change before COP 21. BEC looks forward to the publication of the two papers and stands ready to reflect the views of the business sector to the Government.
In the second forum held on 23 January 2015, Mr Paul Chan, MH, JP, Secretary for Development of the Hong Kong SAR Government, introduced initiatives of the Development Bureau in the 2015 Policy Address.
With sustainability as the over-arching theme, Mr Chan noted that economic development through infrastructure development and land supply would be an important pillar in achieving sustainability. BEC appreciates the Government’s effort in continuously devoting resources to infrastructure development and adopting a multi-pronged strategy to increase land supply, which will enhance Hong Kong’s competitiveness.
Mr Chan briefed participants on the Government’s plan to update the “Hong Kong 2030: Planning Vision and Strategy” published in 2007 by examining the strategy and feasible options for overall spatial planning, land and infrastructure development beyond 2030. He also elaborated on the Government’s three focus areas in this regard, including creating capacity for sustainable growth, planning for a liveable high-density city and enhancing economic competitiveness. BEC looks forward to the review results which will promote better urban planning and facilitate Hong Kong’s long-term development.
On water management, BEC welcomes the Government’s review of the Total Water Management Strategy, including various demand management and supply management measures introduced by Mr Chan.
“Hong Kong people have been undervaluing the true cost of water and have been wasteful in water consumption. BEC has urged the Government to review water tariffs which have not been adjusted since 1995,” remarked Prof John Chai, BEC Chairman. According to the Water Supplies Department, the average daily per capita water consumption in Hong Kong is 0.13 cubic meter (i.e. 130 liters).
“BEC looks forward to having closer collaboration with the Government in taking our policy recommendations forward,” noted Prof Chai. “We will continue to garner the support of the business sector in building a greener and more sustainable Hong Kong.”
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BEC Policy Dialogue Series (22 January 2015)
Group photo of Ms Christine Loh and BEC representatives
BEC Policy Dialogue Series (23 January 2015)
Group photo of Mr Paul Chan and representatives of BEC and Hong Kong Green Building Council (“HKGBC”)
First row (from left)
Second row (from left)
BEC Board representatives exchange views with Ms Christine Loh on environmental related policies.
Ir Cary Chan, BEC Board Director; Prof John Chai, BEC Chairman; Ms Christine Loh, JP, Under Secretary for the Environment; Ms Malini Thadani, BEC Board Director; and Mr TC Yee, BEC Board Director
BEC and HKGBC representatives have in-depth discussion with Mr Paul Chan on policies and initiatives of the Development Bureau.
Mr Victor Kwong, BEC Board Director; Dr Eric Su, BEC Board Director; Prof John Chai, BEC Chairman; Mr Paul Chan, MH, JP, Secretary for Development; Ir Conrad Wong, HKGBC Chairman; Mr Eric Chong, BEC Board Director; Ir Dr Raymond Yau, HKGBC Director
Business executives and sustainability professionals obtain first hand updates from government officials and exchange views on environmental related policies.
A summary of BEC’s recommendations is set out at Appendix, please click here.
For full version of BEC’s submission on 2015 Policy Address, please visit BEC website at http://bec.org.hk/files/images/Resource_Centre/Submission/CE_Policy_Address_2014_BEC_Submission.pdf.