Hong Kong hosts leaders in the low carbon economy

2 November 2010

HONG KONG, Monday 1 November 2010: Over 150 business leaders from around the world gathered in Hong Kong today to further the emergence of a low carbon economy in the Asia Pacific region and beyond. The Business Summit on Climate Leadership 2010 provided a platform for the private sector to make business sense of climate change and identify opportunities to create green business growth.

The one-day Summit, with HSBC as the Convening Partner, was organized by The Climate Group, an international NGO that works with government and business leaders globally to advance climate change solutions and accelerate a clean industrial revolution. The Summit featured some of the world’s most visionary leaders in sustainable business at the forefront of the emerging low carbon economy.

International thought leaders including 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; Peter Head, Chairman of Global Planning, Arup; and Girija Pande, Chairman, Asia Pacific, Tata Consultancy Services, headlined low carbon discussions with regional speakers Jinlin Yang, Deputy Director-General, Asia-Pacific Finance and Development Center, Ministry of Finance of the PRC; Prof Junfeng Li, Deputy Director General/Professor, Energy Research Institute of NDRC; Edward Yau and Dr Kitty Poon, Secretary and Under Secretary for the Environment of the HKSAR Government; and Peter Greenwood, Group Executive Director – Strategy, CLP.

The Summit also took place at a unique point in time, one month ahead of the UN’s climate talks in Cancun, Mexico (COP16). “Collective failure to reach agreement on a new global climate deal in Copenhagen last year does not mean action has stopped or that the scientific rationale for action has changed: governments continue to implement new climate policies. Similarly, companies continue to develop low carbon technologies and services because it makes good business sense to do so. Effective private-public partnerships will unlock a clean industrial revolution that will be good for the economy, good for jobs and good for the environment,” said Dr Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group.

The recent global economic crisis has presented a unique opportunity to reinvent the fundamental structures and mechanisms of the global economy. Furthermore, businesses are seeking to demonstrate to their stakeholders reductions in the environmental impact of their business and improvements to their financial bottom line.

The Climate Group is in its third year of holding their annual flagship event in Hong Kong, since it first established its local operations in 2008. “China is seen as being a winner in the race towards a low carbon economy. Meanwhile, Hong Kong has a pivotal role to play in the development of the green economy in the Asia Pacific region due to its position as a regional business hub, its strengths in financing, innovation, education, infrastructure and comprehensive protection of intellectual property”, said Changhua Wu, Greater China Director of The Climate Group.

Peter Wong, Chief Executive of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, told the Summit as the keynote speaker in the opening session: “The challenge today is for all of us to change our ‘business-as-usual’ approach. Businesses must learn to be more creative and more efficient in meeting the global challenges of climate change", Mr Wong said. “It is time to review our business models, the way we conduct business, and exceed the expectations consumers and shareholders have of business,” he added.

Teresa Au, HSBC Head of Corporate Sustainability Asia Pacific Region, who took part in a Summit session as a panelist, said: “HSBC’s fourth Climate Confidence Monitor, published last week, reveals that climate change is a top concern in people’s agenda as well as a priority for preferred government spending. The strong call for greater business investment means businesses should consider and fully integrate these consumer and market demands into the heart of their business operations, technology development, products and fabric of the company culture. Continuous drive for innovation and robust cross-sector collaboration are key to turning these challenges into business opportunities, bringing forth socio-economic benefits for the global economy and communities.”

Another panelist at the Summit, Girija Pande, Chairman, Asia Pacific, Tata Consultancy Services Asia Pacific Pte Ltd added, “It is in our interest to create a successful low carbon world which allows us to continue to fuel our growth on renewable sources so that there is no end to our growth. If we continue in the current patterns we will destabilize our economies, disrupt our already fragile agriculture yields and threaten the health of our populations. The only way for our countries to survive and maintain our competitive advantage in the marketplace is to grow smarter and greener.”

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