2023 Brochure released!

The Ongoing Evolution of Sustainable Business 2023 Trends Report

Dr Robin Kennish, Director Corporate Sustainability & Climate Change – ERM
Jose Luis Sanchez, Principal Consultant, Mergers & Acquisitions – ERM

We can expect that some of the developments in 2023 will have deep consequences globally for several years. Particularly when related to energy, food security and migration and derived from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These issues will continue to dramatically transform global geopolitical and economic dimensions. This transformation is also impacting Sustainability in different directions.

Companies, governments, and consumers will need to re-assess the role of sustainability in their strategies, decisions, and priorities. Some market participants might reduce their budget and investment into sustainability and prioritize profits, but there will be others who will accelerate their transition towards sustainability to mitigate imminent risks and capture opportunities. Regardless of different opinions, ESG is now at the center stage of the debate, and this will continue being the norm going forward.

The 2023 Trends Report: The Ongoing Evolution of Sustainable Business just released by The SustainAbility Institute by ERM identifies ten key trends shaping sustainable business and the corporate actions are likely to evolve in relation to each trend:

1. Further integration of ESG concepts into the ways companies conduct business
2. Expectations for valuing human capital continue to grow
3. Energy transition acceleration to respond to climate change
4. The nature agenda as a top priority and recognition of linkages between biodiversity and climate
5. Building sustainable & resilient supply chains as priority
6. Development of strategies to enable sustainable consumption & production
7. Technological advancements applied to sustainability
8. Increased interest in fundamental rights and DEI practices, and expansion of issuance of social-related bonds
9. Prioritization of ESG themes derived from disclosure proposals and reassessment of geopolitical risks impacts
10. Increased alignment towards stakeholder capitalism

To find out more and download the report, visit: https://lnkd.in/ejnBvUQ3

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HSBC Living Business SDGs Awards 2022

“HSBC Living Business SDGs Awards”, three Sustainable Development Goals have been selected as the annual theme, namely Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being, Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure and Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals. Negawatt has gained silver award from HSBC Living Business SDGs Awards 2022 (SDG 3 & SDG 17). Assessment will focus on SME’s particular scheme / project contributing to the SDGs. This award requires SME to obtain Certificate of Merit in HSBC Living Business ESG Award as prerequisite of entering stage of detailed assessment. The award will assess SMEs’ achievement / projects on two designated Sustainable Development Goals of the year. Judging criteria include project comprehensiveness, effectiveness, top management involvement, stakeholder engagement, project continuity, impact to the industry / community and connection to the theme of the year. 

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CREATIVE COLLISION 2023: Early Bird until 28 Feb

Shared Value Initiative Hong Kong (SVIHK), ReThink Content Partner for the two past editions, invites you to CREATIVE COLLISION, on 29 March at The Wave, Kwun Tong. The popular “non-conference” convening business, civil society, the public sector, and social innovation leaders is designed to disrupt business as usual and deliver creative solutions to societal challenges. Sign up now to participate in experiences inspired by the highly interactive sessions that made us successful at ReThink’s Change Makers stage. Early bird is available until 28 Feb with promo code: CC23EB.

For our fourth edition, we will tackle 6 key challenges of solving social and environmental issues while making profit. This year we will offer 4 concurrent tracks, with new formats, adding to our popular Impact Auction, Exec Labs, and other signature sessions. Speakers include top executives and changemakers from Nan Fung, Harvard Business School, The University of Hong Kong… plus local social innovators!

Hear from previous participants:
– “You have such a diverse range of industries and thought leaders that you can do a lot of cultivation of ideas” – David Ng, AXA
– “I love the energy of the Exec Labs. It’s such a privilege to be able to work with such a diverse group of individuals” – Sharon Chu, Accenture.
– “It’s great to see the different sectors of the community sitting around the same table and addressing the problems” – Jocelyn Phi, Moet Hennessy TR Asia-Pacific.

SVIHK, one of the five shared value hubs in the world, is a non-profit organisation funded by leading companies to drive the purpose-led business movement in Hong Kong SAR and Mainland China.

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3 Components to Accelerate Sustainable Practices in Your Company

With sustainable practices and ESG frameworks gaining importance in today’s business landscape, it can be daunting to motivate teams to get them on board. Educational resources and engagement activities can generate awareness and spark motivation toward a common positive goal and, with consistency, build long-term sustainable habits in and beyond the workplace.

Here are three components to focus on when accelerating sustainable practices in your company.

1. Work Culture
The company culture is made up of the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours present within the workplace. It forms the overarching purpose and values of the organisation. Building a sustainable work culture requires tapping into the minds and hearts of individual team members, fostering collective values and actions that contribute to a wider purpose – one that positively impacts future generations, society, and the environment.

2. Effective Communication
Clear and consistent internal communication helps teams maintain momentum and stay up to date with sustainability topics on a consistent basis, encouraging conversation and mindful practices in and outside of the workplace. By actively engaging in sustainable initiatives, teams understand individual and collective environmental impact and demonstrate purpose-driven values in their everyday actions.

3. Work Environment
Aligning the work environment with sustainability goals and strategies leads to the adoption and consistent execution of habits. To name a few, ethically-sourced coffee, non-dairy milk, recycling stations, and conscious office supplies are examples of best practices in the workplace. Ultimately, a sustainable work environment materialises the company’s purpose and the values of the individuals within it.

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Intertek Green R&D Assurance Solution Enables Clients To Bring Sustainable Products To Market While Safeguarding Quality, Safety, And Performance

Intertek Green R&D Assurance Solution is an innovative integrated solution that ensures the sustainability, quality and safety attributes of a product are optimised all the way through its lifecycle.

The demand for eco-friendly products has increased significantly as consumers want to ensure that the goods they are purchasing have been created with minimal impact on the environment. Companies are innovating to deliver new high-quality products and services as consumer expectations rapidly evolve but designing a product with sustainability in mind can be complex as it requires a thorough understanding of all the trade-offs being made during the design phase.

Green R&D is a bespoke solution designed to provide brands with a holistic view of product development in order to better understand the trade-offs between environmental impact, quality, safety and performance that occur throughout the value chain. With over 20 years’ experience in essential safety prevention and risk-based quality assessment, and our comprehensive regulatory, testing, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and sustainability expertise, Intertek is uniquely positioned to help the clients navigate these challenges through science-based assurance in both local and global markets. Intertek helps companies mitigate risk and protect their brands by delivering comprehensive assurance solutions that balance quality, safety, and performance, aspects that are often overlooked in sustainable product development.

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Hong Kong’s bad old practices on plastic waste continue despite new policies

A grocery store cashier in Causeway Bay hands a customer a plastic bag on December 31 last year. Hongkongers have started paying HK$1 for each plastic bag at supermarkets, the first increase in the plastic bag levy in 13 years. Photo: Jelly Tse

Many people, including me, hoped that some of the undesirable practices of the former administration would improve under the leadership of Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu. Six months in, clearly this has not happened.

For instance, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has published annual figures on municipal solid waste since 1991. However, publication is getting even slower than before: the 2021 report was not published until December 2022. Such a huge delay in making vital information available to legislators and the Advisory Council on the Environment – the official environmental watchdog – makes it virtually impossible for them to give timely advice.

The department, supported by many professionals, should be well aware of changes regarding disposal trends for various types of solid waste based on the pandemic-affected social and economic scenarios. Even ordinary people can see the huge increase in disposal of single-use meal boxes and plastic bags as ordering takeaway became the “new normal” to avoid Covid-19.

The 2021 report did not reveal much improvement in the city’s waste management. On the contrary, it confirms that the Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022, launched 10 years ago, has failed to achieve several key targets including the daily per capita municipal solid waste disposal rate. The target set for 2022 is 0.8kg, but the latest rate has climbed to 1.53kg, meaning Hongkongers are disposing of waste at almost double the target rate.

The three types of waste that are closely associated with our daily activities – food waste, plastic bottles and plastic bags – each recorded increases in 2021 compared with 2020. This was the case even as the government-funded community green stations and stores collected more recyclables in the same period.

The Legislative Council and the Ombudsman need to look seriously into the matter. Much time, effort and resources have been devoted over the past 10 years to slashing waste disposal to meet the blueprint target. Yet, the outcome scores a fail.

The EPD has recently made several changes on waste management. First, the plastic shopping bag levy rose from 50 cents per bag to HK$1 (13 US cents), together with the removal of some of the unnecessary exemptions from the last day of 2022. Second, the EPD began removing the three-colour recycling bins placed in urban areas last year without providing any other effective facilities to keep the public practising recycling.

The plastic bag levy increase is a delayed action. The initial phase of the bag levy was launched in July 2009, and quickly showed a significant decrease in bag distribution by the mandated retailers. However, it was not long before there was a rebound in bag usage, which the authorities allowed to go on for more than 10 years before reviewing the effectiveness of the policy.

I visited Hong Kong’s two largest supermarket chains in January to see how they and their customers were behaving. I was glad to see one woman take several apples to the counter and tell the cashier, “I have my own bag”. In fact, she could have got a bag for free for the unwrapped apples but chose to demonstrate environmentally responsible behaviour.

At another supermarket in the same district, I witnessed a man surreptitiously unwrapping pre-wrapped pears. Perhaps he knew he could not get a free plastic bag when buying pre-wrapped fruit. My colleagues have also witnessed similar incidents at other supermarkets.

The two stores I visited had removed the small, clear plastic bags that were placed near fruit and vegetables in the past for use by customers for free. They have put up notices regarding the new plastic bag levy, but they are rather small and might not catch the attention of shoppers.

Supermarkets and other retailers should enhance their in-store monitoring to prevent customers from engaging in tricks to evade paying the bag levy. The authorities should also take this moment to enhance promotion of the aims of the bag levy through radio and television programmes and social media platforms.Retailers should not treat the income generated from the bag levy as additional profit but instead channel that income to worthy causes by donating it to charities providing social or environmental services. Let’s hope this will become another “new normal”.

An SCMP article contributed by Mr Edwin Lau,

Founder & Executive Director of The Green Earth

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4 tips for designing for accessibility and inclusion

Most designers agree that accessibility is a crucial factor in creating user-friendly UX design and UI design. Yet, it’s often the first item to deprioritise due to limited resources and time, as it’s often more reasonable to focus on the majority of your product’s target users. But, by doing that, we may be excluding the world’s largest minority group, the one billion people globally who experience a disability, and missing out on the inherent, universal benefits of making your digital products and services accessible and impactful.

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SGS Net-zero Target Approved by the Science Based Target initiative

Science-based targets provide a clearly defined pathway for companies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, helping prevent the worst impacts of climate change and future-proof business growth.

Aligned with the 1.5ºC objective from the Paris Agreement, we have committed to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the value chain by 2050. To achieve this objective, we have approved near and long-term science-based emissions reduction targets with the SBTi:

Near-term targets:
We commit to reduce absolute scope 1 and scope 2 GHG emissions 46.2% by 2030 from a 2019 base year. We also commit to reduce absolute scope 3 GHG emissions 28% by 2030 from a 2019 base year.

Long-term target:
We commit to reduce absolute scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG emissions 90% by 2050 from a 2019 base year.

Our direct emissions reductions will be prioritized and all residual emissions will be neutralized in line with SBTi criteria before reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

Frankie Ng, SGS CEO, said: “This means another great milestone for SGS and further proof of our commitment to make a positive and long-lasting impact in society, and limit global temperature rise to 1.5ºC. We are proud to join the net-zero journey and confident that our sustainability strategy will help us reach our targets.”

Our Sustainability Ambitions 2030 set the roadmap to reducing our emissions, including initiatives such us the reduction of energy consumption in our top energy intensive owned buildings, our vehicle policy and the use of renewable energy, among others.

Explore our Science Based Target Setting Advisory Service now.

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Sustainable IT 101: Optimising your website for energy efficiency

Websites consume electricity – and a lot of it. 416.2 TWh per year, to be exact. To put this in context, that amounts to roughly 2% of global CO2 emissions, or roughly the same as the entire aviation industry.

PALO IT has created its own tool to calculate the carbon footprint of various types of digital products in order to assist businesses in their sustainability journey. We are pioneers in the field of reducing website energy consumption. It is critical to walk the walk, and we are now in a position to make improvements.

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What Hong Kong can do differently as power bills rise

An illuminated skyline of Hong Kong. As the cost of energy continues to rise, one practical step to take is to conserve energy. Photo: Yik Yeung-man

Hong Kong people and businesses will have to dig deeper from next month to pay higher electricity tariffs. Taking into account the rise in fuel clause charges, customers will effectively be paying CLP Power and HK Electric 19.8 per cent and 45.6 per cent more respectively by the coming January, compared with the start of the year.

These are the highest increases I can recall in 60 years. Well-off people would not feel much financial pain, but for low-income households, it is a different story. They may have to cut spending on other essential items to cope.

Natural gas is a relatively cleaner fuel to use for power generation and while it is known to be more expensive than coal, the price gap is predictable in normal circumstances. However, soon after the outbreak of war in Ukraine in February, natural gas supplies became unstable and some parts of the world faced impending shortages. This made prices shoot up.

To cope with this energy supply crunch while maintaining economic recovery, some countries have reversed their energy policies by increasing the use of coal. This has led to a rebound in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists in the United States, the amount of planet-warming carbon dioxide broke a record this year. As measured at the Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory in Hawaii, the concentration of the gas reached nearly 421 parts per million (ppm) in May, an increase of 1.8 ppm over 2021. These levels have been described as comparable to the Pliocene Climatic Optimum, more than 4 million years ago, when sea levels were between 5 to 25 metres higher than today.

When Super Typhoon Mangkhut hit Hong Kong in September 2018, many places flooded. Tai Po Kau recorded a sea level rise of 3.4 metres as a result of storm surge. Coupled with astronomical tide, the highest sea level reached 4.71 metres, a touch lower than the record of 5.03 metres set by Typhoon Wanda in 1962.

It is a worrying scenario to imagine, that of Hong Kong facing a sea level rise of more than 5 metres on a more permanent basis. The MTR networks which most of us rely on for daily commuting might be disrupted by flooding, not to mention the impact on road traffic.

Secretary for Environment and Ecology Tse Chin-wan was criticised for how he described the electricity tariff hikes for the coming year. The criticism might have been avoided if Tse had also announced what measures the government would take to help Covid-hit businesses and low-income families cope with their increased tariff burden.

The former administration missed an opportunity in 2018 to introduce significant changes to the Scheme of Control Agreements signed with the two power companies. Instead, it merely lowered the permitted rate of return from 9.99 per cent to 8 per cent, all the while knowing that other public utilities, like transport, do not operate under a similar profit guarantee mechanism.

As fuel prices are more likely to rise than fall in the future, one practical solution is to conserve energy. There are steps anybody can take with or without extra cost involved.

For example, turning up the thermostat of your air conditioning system at home or work in summer by at least 1 degree Celsius will help save on electricity by 10 per cent. If the relative humidity of the indoor environment can be lowered by using a desiccant dehumidifier instead of air conditioning, you will find it is still comfortable at 26 degrees, thus saving even more electricity.

Energy-saving devices such as vacuum insulated glass can be fitted behind the glass facade to lower solar radiation that otherwise will warm up the room.

Landlords of commercial buildings charge tenants an air-conditioning fee on top of the management fee. The air-conditioning fee is usually based on the area of occupied space rather than the actual cool air usage. This provides no incentive for tenants to conserve energy by reducing their use of air conditioning.

If tenants are billed according to actual cool air usage, I believe many will adjust the temperature setting, which tends to be cold, instead of comfortable, in places like restaurants, cinemas and offices.

Landlords would also save huge amounts on their electricity bill by raising slightly the water temperature of the chiller. This collaborative effort would help slash carbon emissions from buildings too.

An SCMP article contributed by Mr Edwin Lau,

Founder & Executive Director of The Green Earth

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HandsOn celebrates 15 years of empowering volunteers

HandsOn Hong Kong – ReThink HK 2022 Charity Partner – marked a special milestone recently as it celebrated 15 years of empowering volunteers to discover and support under-resourced charities.

Since its launch in 2007, the HandsOn community has contributed over 285,000 volunteer hours across more than 20,000 service activities, supporting more than 680,000 people in need.

Earlier this year, HandsOn called on the community to “Rethink Plastic” – as it launched an initiative that empowers Hongkongers to correctly recycle their single-use plastic by bringing volunteers together to take action during dedicated recycling session, as well as recognizing individuals’ recycling efforts with volunteer hours.

The project, which is only made possible with the generous support of ReThink HK (beneficiary fund from ReThink HK 2022 delegates fees) will see around 60 HandsOn volunteers visit the V Cycle factory and sort and process more than 37,000 recyclables – that’s over 550kg worth of repurposed waste material.

On top of that, over 1,000 volunteers will join the ‘movement’ as HandsOn educates and empowers others to correctly recycle and re-think the impact of their everyday choices. We encourage each of our readers to join us in marking 15 years of HandsOn by signing up to pledge your commitment today.

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One-Stop Sustainable Full Packaging

Getting tired of ordering here and there for your products? Looking for a complete solution? …

Elements Branding Solutions can help you achieve your objectives with one-stop-shop, we are not just offering you a full line of packaging products with high-quality solutions but also Sustainability to achieve business goal.

Apparently, sustainability is the biggest hot topic to all the brands now and Elements’ raw materials and products meet all the international standards including recycled contents, biodegradable, compostable, FSC, etc, that help reducing the impact on the environment, so that our customers and consumers can enjoy a better quality of life.

The advantage of Elements One-Stop packaging solutions helps you making the process go from complex to simple. Just order with one reliable partner for all your needs. Whether it is supporting your e-commerce stories, or promoting your products with displays in physical stores in Apparels, Electronics, Luxuries, Cosmetics, etc…. At Elements we know what to do with it.

Contact us today, we’ll help you discover the perfect sustainable packaging.

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