(16 September, 2021 – Hong Kong) The European Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong together with the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macao today organised “EU and Hong Kong: The Green Way.” The Green Forum presented a unique opportunity that allowed government officials, business executives and industry experts in the sustainability landscape to exchange ideas and explore common ground in combating our shared challenge of climate change.
Both the European Union (EU) and Hong Kong have set ambitious targets towards reaching climate neutrality, through policies such as the European Green Deal, or Hong Kong’s pledge to increase its use of renewable energy. These initiatives are crucial in aiding their competitiveness and triggering progressive transformations in their economies.
“The climate emergency and environmental challenges are the biggest threats to our modern society,” said Ambassador Thomas Gnocchi, Head of Office at the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macao. “I have had very good meetings with the Hong Kong government and industry. Today’s meetings and recommendations show a great interest of our respective industries in working together on challenges of green finance, transport and cities.”
“The event today has marked the beginning of a potentially fruitful strand of cooperation in taking forward our respective efforts on climate change. The EU stands ready to engage in further dialogue with the Hong Kong authorities on this and other topics, including in the context of our Structured Dialogue,” said Mr. Gnocchi. “The industry we consulted also expected that Hong Kong will support a strong sustainability agenda in the upcoming WTO Ministerial Meeting.”
During today’s Green Forum, panel speakers discussed three areas where the EU and Hong Kong can make a stronger impact on combatting climate change together. This included a debate on green finance where crucial work is occurring at the multilateral level, the ways through which our society can make our transport greener and how we can build smart, green cities.
The European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macao also identified the implications of the European Green Deal for business and how businesses can contribute to the climate change agenda.
“The fight against climate change and having to deal with largely correlating extreme weather events, is one of the biggest challenges of our times. Cooperation across industry sectors and a close alignment with government are necessary to meet the ambitious goals set for Hong Kong. Business chambers must play a key role in providing the platforms to bring all stakeholders together,” said Frederik Gollob, Chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.
Towards the end of the event, a list of recommendations coming from the event that were handed to the Honourable Mr. Bernard Charnwut Chan, the Convenor of the Non-official Members of the Executive Council, and Mr. Clemente Contestabile, the Consul General of Italy in Hong Kong.
Both have agreed to take the recommendations forward in their respective roles, including Clemente for Italy’s Presidency of the G20 and co-chairing of COP26. The meeting will be a decisive moment for the global community if global warming is to be kept below 1.5°C, as highlighted by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her State of the Union speech delivered yesterday.
Also attending the event today included officials from the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, namely the Honourable Mrs. Carrie Lam, Chief Executive; Mr. Christopher Hui, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury; and Mr. Kam-sing Wong, Secretary for the Environment. They were joined by around 100 guests from the business and diplomatic community on site as well as guests watching online.