(Hong Kong, 16 March 2023) The HKSAR Government is committed to achieving carbon neutrality before 2050. It has proposed forward-looking and targeted decarbonisation strategies in the “Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050”, and strives to encourage the whole community’s participation, with corporate involvement playing a crucial role in achieving this goal. The Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC), in collaboration with the School of Energy and Environment of the City University of Hong Kong, surveyed the corporate awareness of carbon neutrality, current carbon reduction efforts and challenges faced by the commercial & industry and building related sectors, including both large corporations/organisations, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The results showed that most corporations/organisations surveyed supported the government’s implementation of decarbonisation policies but lacked professional knowledge of carbon neutrality, with less than 20% having set specific decarbonisation goals. Additionally, obstacles such as high financial capital costs in implementing low-carbon transformation and a lack of demand made decarbonisation difficult.
The survey was conducted between October and December last year and received 122 responses, 49% of which were from large corporations/organisations, and 51% were from SMEs. Regarding the corporate awareness of carbon neutrality, 72% indicated that they were not familiar with the concept and lacked awareness of the “Hong Kong Climate Action Plan 2050” and the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Regarding carbon emissions calculations, 66% had yet to conduct carbon audits and regularly assess their greenhouse gas emissions. As for carbon reduction progress, 81% had not completely set targets for achieving carbon neutrality. Among the remaining 19% that had set targets, less than half had referenced international standards (43%) or covered greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chain (48%) when setting their targets. The above data shows significant room for improvement for corporations/organisations in terms of professional knowledge, as well as setting carbon reduction targets and plans.
The survey also summarised the factors that affect corporations/organisations in setting carbon neutrality targets and implementing carbon reduction measures. 90% believe that improving brand image, reputation and competitiveness are the main reasons for setting targets, followed by regulatory requirements (48%) and meeting customer demands (44%). The remaining corporations/organisations that have not set targets are hindered by a lack of external support (76%) and relevance to their business operations (73%), and insufficient awareness or knowledge (71%). Meanwhile, although 88% would implement carbon neutrality-related measures due to requests or encouragement from business partners, approximately 45% believe that they lack sufficient resources or governance structures to implement carbon reduction measures. The survey then identified the three major challenges they face in moving towards carbon neutrality, with over 60% indicating that “higher financial capital requirements”, “lack of price incentives to change current operating models”, and “lack of consumer and customer demand” are all obstacles to their carbon reduction efforts.
In addition, through the survey, HKPC also gained an understanding of the needs of corporations/organisations in achieving carbon neutrality, which can be mainly classified into “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 understands the needs of industries and is committed to providing the necessary support to assist corporations/organisations in formulating practical emission reduction strategies and measures, and working together to prepare for achieving carbon neutrality. Mr Yonghai DU, General Manager of the Green Living and Innovation Division of HKPC, said, “HKPC is actively developing comprehensive carbon assessment tools to help different industries understand their greenhouse gas emissions and set appropriate carbon reduction targets. At the same time, we will provide more capacity building and related consultancy services, and continue to put effort into research and development (R&D), and incentivise the application of more low-carbon technologies in different industries to promote accelerated low-carbon transformation. We will also continue to be a close partner of industries, supporting enterprises in R&D, technology, and matching appropriate funding programmes to help all sectors keep up with the trend of carbon neutrality.”
Professor Michael LEUNG, Associate Provost (Academic Affairs) & Professor of The School of Energy and Environment of the City University of Hong Kong, said, “I am pleased to have collaborated with HKPC on this survey, which has reference value and provides substantive data reflecting the real needs of industries in the current trend of carbon neutrality. This will help the government, universities, and related institutions to respond and provide support, enabling industries to be well-prepared to meet new challenges and achieve carbon neutrality.”
To help the industries stay up-to-date on the latest market trends and technologies related to carbon neutrality, HKPC will hold the “Carbon Neutrality Seminar Series - Innovation Towards ESG Excellence” next Monday. It will join forces with representatives from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Swire Pacific Limited, MTR Corporation Limited, and the Global Trade Association to share and exchange innovative ESG ideas and practices. Industry professionals are welcome to register online via the registration link and can also visit the website or call 2788 6588 for more information.
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