CO2 emission strategy; Review, Renew and Restart

Mostafa Monira Firdouse, Green Finance Advisor of Friends of the Earth (HK)

Pre-COVID 19

Ten years ago, the question was whether emerging market economies should engage in climate change mitigation or wait for the high-income countries to take the lead. A common argument made at that time in these countries was “grow now and clean up later.” However, things are dramatically changed after COP21 in 2015 and continued. The climate protests that took place all over the world in 2019 were a result of heightened public awareness and growing frustration over the lack of urgency shown by governments and businesses. Shell’s defeat in Nigerian oil pollution is a huge success of that, and it shows that ESG is not a choice anymore. At the same time, Climate and sustainable financing has increased significantly over the last decade.

Post COVID 19

However, the pandemic has paved the way for a fundamental change in human behavior.

The Millennial and Generation Z groups, defined as those born between 1980 and 1995 and 1996 and 2010 respectively, together make up a significant proportion of the global population: in emerging markets alone, they account for around 46% of the population. The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019 found that both Millennials and Gen Z identified climate change as the biggest challenge currently facing society.

Also, the extreme weather is a continuous reminder. The Australian wildfires of late 2019 highlighted the impact that this weather can have on habitats.

One of the few positives to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the immediate impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Nationwide lockdowns have led to a reduction in harmful emissions drop of nearly 8% in global CO2.

However, the question now is: will we revert to historic norms after the pandemic, or will it bring about some long-lasting changes? Do we know yet?

What’s Next

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic there are now two schools of thought for the trajectory of climate action.

(i) Pandemic could lead to fundamental changes in human behaviour which may act as a tailwind for the climate change theme;

(ii) The shock to the global economy coupled with lower oil prices could result in policy measures being directed elsewhere resulting in the cost trajectories for renewables and electric vehicles becoming less favourable. 

Different analytics showed that; green recovery post Covid-19 will be sustained by three trends:

— The technological landscape has evolved rapidly in favour of clean alternatives, reducing the attractiveness of fossil fuels. Markets will continue to move towards clean technologies given their risk / return characteristics.

— Climate change negotiations have made progress in only a few years and pressure has been growing for more countries to act on climate change.

— Financial innovation to support green alternatives has been increasing rapidly and is leading to ever cheaper green technologies.

FLAGGING my urge

Wind of change is blowing; it is clear that economic empowerment and profitability does not mean everything and will not last long. Besides, technological advancement needs money, reach and continuous improvement to be beneficial. And all these economic and technology will be meaningful if there is social benefit. Vertical skills have been developed and refined, but now is the time to connect the dots and build horizontally to bring SOLIDARITY. This is the time economics, social, science, technology etc. all GURUs should work together forgetting their own personal/institutional/regional gain. Doesn’t mean that it’s not happening, but the end product in none.

Perhaps, this is the time to think about viability of ‘Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP)’.

Take a closure look on climate change and green growth strategy.

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近年出現不少人造肉產品, 不少朋友問在下, 人造肉是否健康? 是否環保? 又有基金經理問在下, 人造肉是否值得投資? 在下將在這篇文章嘗試解釋。

食素多年的朋友都知道, 香港的齋舖, 一向以來都有素肉供應。傳統素肉的制作,是以腐皮豆粉制作,但這些素肉往往經油炸精制及加入大量添加劑, 多食對身體絕對有害無益。新一代的所謂植物基肉, 如Beyond Meat 及Omnipork 等的產品, 他們的造肉方法, 首先是向上游供應商買入植物基蛋白質, 再經加工達到仿真效果。而他們的上游供應商, 是以高科技將豆類內的絲質植物蛋白質從原豆分解出來, 不單保留豆內蛋白質, 還可以較容易造出肉的口感。

在下認識的素食朋友大致分為兩類, 就是環保人和佛教徒, 一般來說, 這兩類人都不是”齋心唔齋口”的類別, 對肉的味道與質感沒有太大追求, 但每人都會追求健康。若純以健康角度來說, 這類人造肉與傳統素肉相比, 確有很大的突破, 一方面這類製成品含有比例頗高的蛋白質和氨基酸, 另一方面在工業化的分解過程基本沒有添加, 所以純以健康角度來說, 能提供不錯的身體所需營養, 可以說是一個不錯的選擇, 但要注意的, 是如果大家有去過麥當奴嘗試Omnipork 的產品, 就會知道他們的產品口味很重, 含鈉量當然非常高, 對身體當然有壞影響, 一般素食朋友, 不會喜歡吃午餐肉, 這類肉吃起來比質素高的午餐肉還差很遠, 很難吸引素食者。不過在下認為, 他們的”難食”與上游的植物基蛋白質供應商無關, 是他們自己的加工方法仍離不開重口味的午餐肉思維。Green Common 若不改變高鈉問題, 在下也很難會成為他們的客人。

植物基肉是否更環保? 與植物相比,它加了兩重加工過程, 但與真肉相比, 它們確能大量減少使用資源, 包括能源, 食水等, 所以是否更環保, 就視乎閣下與植物相比還是與動物相比, 當中還要考慮這類產品所能提供的蛋白質與氨基酸, 是一般素食難以達到的。

另一種近年開始受關注的人造肉, 是培植肉, 意思是生產商抽取動物幹細胞, 再進行人工培育。到現在為止, 全球只有新加坡政府批出了牌照給一家培植肉公司, 生產雞肉。現時這所餐廳供應的雞肉, 是植物基雞肉與培植雞肉各一半的混合。是否好味, 由於疫情關係, 在下沒有機會到新加坡試試, 希望將來有機會。

培植肉的技術發展現時仍在初階, 要簡單地造成細胞分裂成長並不困難, 但要培育出肌肉組織, 血管, 脂肪等, 實在非常困難, 如要培育出不同動物部位的肌肉味道質感, 更可能永遠辦不到, 我們需要知道, 動物的肌肉是與身體各個內臟、包括肝、肺、腎、腦等各個部位有不同互動而產生, 在未來數十年, 很難有機會看到一塊真的培植靚牛扒。 所以我們很難在這階段分析這些肉是否比天然肉健康, 或是否環保, 畜牧業雖然排出大量溫室效應極高的甲烷, 但甲烷停留在大氣中的時間, 遠比工業化排出的二氧化碳為短, 所以在技術成熟前, 要下定論是否更環保, 仍十分困難。但明顯地, 培植肉可以完全改變傳統肉食的極端殘酷生產過程, 應會符合宗教的要求。

人類面對氣候問題, 人口問題。 人類人口高峰相信約到2065年才出現, 高峰時會達到一百億人, 所以面對食物可能因氣候而減產, 但人口增加的威脅, 生產人造蛋白質及氨基酸以維持生命確是刻不容緩, 不管你喜不喜歡現時那些討厭的生產商生產的討厭植物午餐肉, 我們仍一定要面對這問題。大家都很清楚, 如果所有民族都如白人一樣喜歡吃牛扒, 人類可生存下去的時間絕對不會很長。

近一兩年, 在下碰見過一兩個特別的植物基肉項目, 他們的技術與以上所說的純將蛋白質從豆內分解有很大分別, 他們是以特殊發酵技術培植微海藻, 以豆渣等副產品作為養份供應, 令微海藻高速製造植物基或半海產蛋白質, 由於是海產品, 它們的氨基酸與各種營養含量更高, 又因為只用食物渣滓, 它們的厡材料要求很低, 所以理論上, 這種技術生產的蛋白質, 所需的能源, 食水, 原料等, 不單止遠比肉類低, 也遠比一般植物低, 比吃疏菜更環保, 還不需要擔心各種農藥化肥土壤污染等問題 (當然下游生產商生產成甚麼樣的製成品, 又是另一回事), 可惜到現在為止, 在下仍未見到有技術成熟的供應者。各基金經理們, 如果碰到這類項目而又技術成熟, 相信會是未來最有前途的投資之一, 大家努力了。

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We are Hiring! Join Our Team!

Our team is looking for Green Finance Business Executive to promote green finance development in Hong Kong.

Green Finance Business Executive

To lead FoE (HK)’s Green Finance initiatives and support, FoE (HK)’s green finance advocacy, and to execute FoE (HK)’s roadmap to promote green finance development in Hong Kong.

Your Main Tasks

  • Organise green finance events and activities including but not limited to roundtables, webinars, press conferences
  • Identify channels for marketing of FoE (HK)’s green finance initiatives
  • Establish good relationship with other local or overseas network partners / international allies and provide administrative and secretarial support for meetings
  • Explore the advocacy opportunities of the key economies in the region assist Green Finance Engagement Manager (GFEM) in maintenance and promotion of Certified ESG Analyst (CESGA) program
  • Assist GFEM and Business Development team in soliciting corporate partnership track and monitor ESG investing/sustainability trend, key advocacy moments, related policies and its impacts, and identify gaps and needs of the sector for strategic planning
  • Handle ad hoc activities as required

Your Experience & Skills

  • Excellent command of spoken and written English, Chinese and Mandarin
  • Bachelor degree or above, major in Business or Marketing preferred
  • Minimum 2 years of working experience
  • Experience / Knowledge in finance preferred
  • Experience with event management is an advantage
  • Be a collaborative team player, open to new ideas, willingness to take on challenges, self-disciplined, motivated, and willing to learn
  • Ability to establish credibility and relationships with diverse individuals and groups
  • Proficient in MS Office including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Chinese Processing

Apply Now:

More Hong Kong Government green bonds to inspire new issuers?

Alexandra Tracy, Green Finance Advisor of Friends of the Earth (HK)

The biggest green finance news out of Hong Kong so far this year is the release of a second tranche of sovereign green bonds, part of the government’s multi year programme to issue up to HK$100 billion. The proceeds are credited to the Capital Works Reserve Fund and allocated to support projects in areas such as clean transportation, green buildings and air quality improvement.

This time, the government launched green bonds worth US$2.5 billion in total, including US$500 million with a tenor of thirty years. This is the first 30 year green bond to be issued by an Asian government.

As with the first tranche in 2019, there was a strong response from the market. According to media reports, within hours of the books opening, the bonds had attracted more than US$15 billion in investor pledges. How much of this interest was generated by the strong government credit and long dated paper, as opposed to the “green” features of the bonds is not clear. However, Asian institutions do seem to be showing increasing appetite for green financial products, and they were allocated the largest percentage of all the bonds issued.

Hong Kong’s policy makers have always made the point that they hope that the government’s green bond programme – one of the largest to be announced in the world – will stimulate further issuances from companies and financial institutions in Hong Kong, but also more widely in the region. Indeed, there are nine rapidly growing cities in the Greater Bay Area that could look to the success of Hong Kong’s programme for inspiration in their own fund raising plans !

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Upcoming Events on Green Finance / 今期綠色金融活動一覽

It’s half way through February already but we still have many fantastic green finance events in store for you. Interested to join green finance events and learn more about green finance? Browse the links below to check out the upcoming events on Green Finance.


[1] South Asia Impact Capital Festival

[2] The Future Trends of Impact Investing in Asia

[3] CDP Financial Services Questionnaire Climate Change & Forests Pilot Launch Event 2020

[4] Towards Scientific ESG Reporting for Infrastructure Investment

[5] IMAS-Bloomberg Investment Conference 2021: The Future of Capital

[6] Corporate Governance in Asia Webinar Series – Corporate Governance in China: What Investors Need to Know

[7] COP26 Investor Action Climate Webinar Series – Webinar 4: Setting the ambition, What does net-zero mean for investors?

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