Business Sector Welcomes 2013 Policy Address Responding to its Opinions

Business Environment Council (BEC), an independent, membership-based non-profit organisation, welcomes the various policy measures announced in the Chief Executive’s 2013 Policy Address, which have included some of the environment related recommendations raised in BEC’s submissions to Government in June last year and early this year.

In its 2013 Policy Address, Government prioritises a number of key environmental issues, including air quality, waste management and green building. BEC agrees that these should be on the top priority of the agenda. The measures outlined in the Policy Address, such as the phasing out of pre-Euro and Euro I to III diesel commercial vehicles, the rationalisation of bus routes, more extensive use of electric vehicles, the switching to low-sulphur diesel by ocean-going vessels, and on-shore power supply facilities for berthing vessels, are in line with BEC’s submissions.

One of the imminent environmental issues of Hong Kong – waste, is described in the 2013 Policy Address as “a looming crisis” that needs to be tackled through a multi-pronged strategy. Waste reduction at source, waste charging system and the boosting of recovery and recycle rates are the right direction Hong Kong should move towards. BEC opines that this should move fast, with policy and financial support to significantly enhance local recycling network.

To drive Hong Kong’s towards a low carbon economy, reduction of energy consumption in the 40,000 existing buildings can bring about a significant effect. It is welcomed that the Secretary for the Environment will lead an inter-departmental steering committee to promote green building. BEC looks forward to a policy blueprint with energy and carbon reduction targets being swiftly formulated by the committee to encourage and incentivise reduction of energy consumption by buildings.

Harbour Business Forum, an initiative of BEC since 2005, has been advocating the formation of a dedicated harbourfront authority to guide the long-term development of our harbour. The announcement in the 2013 Policy Address of setting up the Harbourfront Authority, therefore, is another measure much supported by BEC members. BEC hopes that Government can speed up the consultation and legislative process so that the authority can be set up as soon as possible to press ahead a comprehensive, multi-sector holistic plan for Hong Kong’s harbourfront development.

BEC Chairman Professor John Chai said, “Throughout the years, BEC has been advocating the opinions of the business sector to the authority. It is our pleasure that Government has taken into account our recommendations. BEC is generally supportive of the approach and direction taken by Government on the topic of environment and sustainable development for Hong Kong. BEC looks forward to more open dialogue with Government in the coming days and at the meeting between our members and the Under Secretary for the Environment on 29 January 2013.”

BEC’s submissions to Government are available on BEC website:

Chinese version (中文版)