Earth Chat

Don’t miss the green transition opportunity

The Financial Secretary has recently announced the 2024-25 Budget. Friends of the Earth (HK) is pleased to hear about the plans to extend the Green and Sustainable Finance Grant Scheme and expand its scope to cover transition finance; and the pilot scheme on Building-Integrated Photovoltaics to apply photovoltaic technologies on building facade. Sustainable development is key to building and promoting liveability in Hong Kong, but the government’s current strategy is lacking and not complemented with sufficient resources.

Friends of the Earth (HK) urges the government to implement the following actions to transform Hong Kong into an environmentally conscious, climate resilient, and liveable city:

  1. Support municipal solid waste charging: Hong Kong must enhance public education and community outreach to build rapport and prevent further delays. Additionally, the city has to build up critical infrastructure and adopt a "dedicated-fund-for-dedicated use” approach to support waste reduction, upgrade the recycling industry, and promote a circular economy.
  2. Strengthen climate adaptation: Extreme weather events and their impacts are worsening under climate change. Hong Kong must conduct climate vulnerability assessments, reinforce infrastructure, implement nature-based solutions, and raise awareness to enhance climate resilience.
  3. Build up renewable energy: The bulk of the city’s electricity still comes from fossil fuels, and accounts for the largest source of local greenhouse gas emission. Hong Kong must support the local and regional development of renewable energy to decarbonise its power sector.
  4. Enable a green and sustainable transition: Addressing environmental issues require an informed and knowledgeable community. Hong Kong must invest into education for sustainable development to drive a green and low-carbon lifestyle transition.
  5. Enhance returns through ESG and green finance: The role of ESG factors in enhancing investment returns is currently undervalued. Hong Kong should build regulatory support and introduce standardisation for ESG practices to boost investor confidence. Additionally, Hong Kong should increase the issuance of green bonds and support SMEs in their green transition.
  6. Transition to a regional carbon trading hub: To support the transition to a digital and low-carbon economy, Hong Kong should proactive broaden the Core Climate platform to cover more sectors and entities, while fostering collaborations with relevant stakeholders to enhance public awareness.
  7. Establish local green classification framework: To facilitate green financial flows between China and the rest of the world, Hong Kong should develop a green taxonomy that aligns with international standards while catering to the unique needs of its financial ecosystem.

It is imperative for Hong Kong to implement action programs that effectively monitor our advancements towards the goal of attaining a carbon-neutral society. By actively engaging the public and ensuring transparency in our endeavors, the city can cultivate a sense of collective responsibility towards a sustainable future. Through collaborative efforts, we can strive together to construct a more environmentally conscious and climate resilient city.

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