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Hong Kong: Reducing Emissions with Tech

Image credit: Hong Kong Productivity Council

The HKSAR Government is dedicated to accomplishing carbon neutrality by 2050 through its proposed progressive and tailored decarbonisation tactics outlined in the “Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050”. To achieve this objective, the government is working to encourage active community involvement, with a pivotal emphasis on corporate engagement.

The Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC), in conjunction with the City University of Hong Kong’s School of Energy and Environment, conducted a survey to assess corporate awareness of carbon neutrality, current carbon reduction efforts, and challenges faced by the commercial and building-related sectors. The survey included both large corporations/organisations and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The findings indicate that while the majority of the corporations/organisations support the government’s decarbonisation policies, they lack professional knowledge of carbon neutrality, with less than 20% having established specific decarbonisation objectives. Furthermore, the high financial costs of low-carbon transformation and a lack of demand have made decarbonisation efforts challenging.

Conducted from October to December 2022, the survey received 122 responses, with 49% originating from large corporations/organisations and 51% from SMEs. Findings reveal that 72% of respondents lacked awareness of carbon neutrality and the “Hong Kong Climate Action Plan 2050” and Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Additionally, 66% had not conducted carbon audits or regularly evaluated greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, 81% had yet to establish carbon neutrality targets, and among the remaining 19%, less than half referenced international standards (43%) or addressed greenhouse gas emissions within their supply chains (48%). The data highlights an urgent need for corporations/organisations to enhance their professional knowledge and establish effective carbon reduction targets and plans.

The survey also examined factors affecting corporations/organisations in establishing carbon neutrality targets and implementing carbon reduction initiatives. The findings indicate that 90% of respondents consider enhancing brand image, reputation, and competitiveness as the main reasons for setting targets, followed by regulatory requirements (48%) and meeting customer demands (44%).

The remaining corporations/organisations that have yet to set targets cited a lack of external support (76%), relevance to business operations (73%), and insufficient awareness or knowledge (71%) as impediments. While 88% would implement carbon neutrality-related measures due to encouragement from business partners, roughly 45% consider a lack of resources or governance structures a hindrance.

The survey identified the top three challenges hindering carbon reduction efforts, with over 60% indicating “higher financial capital requirements,” “lack of price incentives to change current operating models,” and “lack of consumer and customer demand” as major obstacles towards achieving carbon neutrality.

Moreover, the survey provided insights into the requirements of corporations/organisations in attaining carbon neutrality, which can be classified into two categories: “financial/funding support” (78%) and “technical support.” The latter includes carbon neutrality assessment tools (62%), training (54%), consultancy services (52%), and green technologies (49%).

HKPC is aware of the requirements of industries and is dedicated to providing essential support to aid corporations/organisations in devising pragmatic emission reduction plans and initiatives and collaborating to prepare for attaining carbon neutrality.

The GM of HKPC’s Green Living and Innovation Division expressed that HKPC is actively creating comprehensive carbon evaluation tools to assist various industries in comprehending their greenhouse gas emissions and setting suitable carbon reduction targets.

Additionally, the organisation will provide additional capacity building and related advisory services while putting effort into R&D, incentivizing the application of low-carbon technologies across diverse sectors to expedite low-carbon transformation. Moreover, HKPC will maintain its close partnership with industries and support them in R&D, technology, and identifying appropriate funding programs to help all sectors stay abreast of the carbon neutrality trend.

According to the Associate Provost (Academic Affairs) & Professor of The School of Energy and Environment of the City University of Hong Kong, the collaboration with HKPC on the survey has yielded valuable reference data that reflects the actual needs of industries in the current trend towards carbon neutrality. This data will be beneficial to the government, universities, and related institutions in providing appropriate support to help industries prepare for new challenges and achieve carbon neutrality.

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