Business Environment Council (BEC), an independent, membership-based non-profit organisation, proposes measures to green Hong Kong’s economy for Government’s consideration in the 2013 Policy Address. The submission, serving as an addendum to BEC’s paper submitted in June 2012 to the then incoming Chief Executive, expresses the concerns and suggestions of BEC’s members on key environmental and sustainability issues, in particular air quality, waste management and energy.
Poor air quality continues to undermine the competitiveness of Hong Kong as a regional hub for business and imperils the health of the local population. BEC recommends 13 key policy priorities for tackling poor air quality. Amongst these priorities, BEC proposes the phased elimination of pre Euro IV diesel commercial vehicles from public roadways by 2014, improved efficiencies and lower emissions from franchised buses, provision of shore side power for vessels that berth at Hong Kong ports, and the requirement for vessels to use ultra-low-sulphur diesel by 2015. In addition, BEC suggests the implementation of congestion charges for roadways and widespread pedestrianisation of roads in districts such as Central and Wan Chai.
Waste management is threatening to become a crisis for Hong Kong. Amongst BEC’s 6 key policy priorities on waste management, BEC recommends the implementation of a waste charging system for households and businesses by 2014, expanded education campaigns for schools and businesses to drive behavioural change, and significant enhancement of the waste recycling network in Hong Kong. In addition, BEC recommends a decentralised waste management approach – as commonly practised in municipalities such as Tokyo and Berlin – to minimise the distance required for haulage of waste and to encourage the community to reduce wastage and increase recycling.
Low-carbon energy is Hong Kong’s most powerful lever to concurrently reduce carbon emissions, clean the air, and jump-start the transition to a low-carbon economy. BEC recommends that Government formalises a carbon target to drive the future of Hong Kong’s fuel mix. In addition, demand-side management should be prioritised through a variety of means, including tightening requirements for building energy efficiency and energy efficient appliances, providing more far-reaching incentives to steer new developments to adopt green building certifications and directly supporting pilot projects that can demonstrate the value of retrofitting existing commercial buildings to higher levels of energy efficiency.
The full submission made by BEC on the 2013 Policy Address is available for viewing on BEC website: http://bec.org.hk/resource-centre/public-policy-submissions.
Over the last two decades, BEC has taken a leading role in advocating the business case for environmental excellence in Hong Kong. BEC will continue to seek partnerships with Government in finding appropriate solutions to the various environmental issues the Hong Kong community faces.