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Business Summit on Climate Leadership 2010: Hong Kong

09 November 2010
Business Summit on Climate Leadership 2010: Hong Kong

Over 150 international and regional business leaders attended the Business Summit on Climate Leadership, organized by The Climate Group, in Hong Kong on November 1, 2010, to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the emerging low carbon economy.

“We call on the global business community to act. We can drive a new era of economic growth,” said Peter Wong, Chief Executive Asia Pacific of HSBC, the summit’s convening partner. HSBC estimates that in the next ten years, opportunities in low carbon businesses will reach US$2.2trillion US dollars, including US$79 billion for more energy efficient lighting.

Hong Kong will play a role in the transition to a low carbon economy, guided by the city’s new climate change strategy and action plan. There is considerable scope for increasing energy efficiency of buildings, as well as using clean fuels, encouraging businesses to “go green”, and helping foster changes in the Pearl River Delta Region.

“Our challenge is to set an achievable target, and lead Hong Kong into the next decade,” commented the Secretary for the Environment of the HKSAR Government, Edward Yau.

Jinlin Yang, Deputy Director-General of the Asia-Pacific Finance and Development Centre of China’s Ministry of Finance, and Professor Junfeng Li, Deputy Director General of the Energy Research Institute of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, shared insights on the possibilities and challenges facing China as it seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Yang noted that the central government is strongly committed to finding a solution to achieving a low carbon economy, while Professor Li reiterated the challenges by saying that “we must speak less and do more.”

The role of business

Wide ranging panel discussions examined the roles businesses can play in reducing carbon emissions – and gave further insights regarding the complexities and opportunities involved in tackling climate change. “Bringing cradle-to-cradle into business will be the next big revolution in product life cycles,” said Peter Head, Chairman of Global Planning of Arup. ‘Cradle-to-cradle,’ or, assessing a product's safety to people and the environment is becoming an increasingly important factor for designers and engineers.

Other discussions at the summit centered on banks. Though technical innovations are required to tackle climate change, financial innovation is also vital. Speakers commented on how banks can play a huge role in catalyzing low carbon business practices.

“Businesses have to judge where the world is going, and more and more are now seeing a new industrial revolution,” said Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics and Special Adviser to the Group Chairman of HSBC.

In conclusion, the attendees agreed that while low carbon investments are risky, so too are high carbon investments, and developments in China indicate that the world’s economic future will favour low carbon options.

Watch the video from the event

Read about the Business Summit on Climate Leadership in 2011

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