Anyone scanning information on environmental issues will notice a ream of problems – from climate change to plastic pollution – often with little attention to solutions. Plugging this solution gap, Eco Expo Asia last week showcased a wide variety of efforts to improve the global and local environments.
Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd, and co-organised by the Environment Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government, the 16th edition of Eco Expo Asia opened last Wednesday (27 October).
The hybrid expo – with physical and online exhibitions – attracted more than 200 exhibitors. The physical show ran for four days last week and was open to the general public on Saturday. The online fair runs until this Saturday (6 November).
Amid pandemic-related travel restrictions, most exhibitors were from Hong Kong but Austria, Mainland China, France, Taiwan and Switzerland sent local representatives to join the physical event or are participating in the online show. Canada, Japan and Sweden set up group participation pavilions, putting a wide array of the latest environmental technologies and products on display.
HKSAR Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing and HKTDC Executive Director Margaret Fong officiated at the expo’s opening ceremony.
"Sustainability and carbon neutrality goals have been on the agenda of many governments for years but have been given even more impetus as countries and regions look ahead from the COVID-19 pandemic and integrate green polices into their recovery plans,” said Ms Fong.
“Under the theme ‘Promoting Green Recovery for Carbon Neutrality’, this year’s expo showcases the latest eco-friendly products, solutions, equipment and technology that will help everyone, from policymakers to manufacturers and consumers, make decisions and act in ways that are kinder and better to the environment.”
One of the expo’s highlights was the Eco Asia Conference, which drew industry leaders from around the world who shared insights on a range of topics.
On "Promoting Green Recovery for Carbon Neutrality", Guo Jing, Director-General, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the People’s Republic of China, elaborated on the mainland’s policies and latest developments towards achieving carbon neutrality.
Solid-waste policies and management in China’s Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) were discussed by GBA officials including Lu Xiulu, Director-General, Department of Ecology and Environment of Guangdong Province; Li Shuisheng, Director, Ecology Environment Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality; Tam Vai-man, Director, Environmental Protection Bureau of the Macao Special Administrative Region Government, and Fong Kin-wa, Assistant Director (Waste Reduction and Recycling), Environmental Protection Department of the HKSAR.
The session also covered plastic pollution management, “zero-waste city”, plastic, resources and food waste reduction and recycling, as well as details of the Waste Blueprint for Hong Kong 2035.
Other sessions examined such topics as “Towards Material Circularity in Hong Kong", "Advancing Net Zero" and "Green and Sustainable Finance for Eco Business". Under these themes, a representative from the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macao discussed how to move to a circular economy and stop climate change; experts from the United Kingdom and Austria shared experiences on “advancing net zero” in local buildings; and a representative from Hong Kong real estate giant Swire Properties introduced energy efficiency in existing buildings and target-setting certification.
Addressing the growing importance of green finance, the conference explored how green finance can promote the development of the environmental protection industry. Speakers included senior representatives from Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the HKSAR’s Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau, the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited and the Hong Kong Green Finance Association.
The conference also featured the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency, an environmental consultant and an environmental project holder who introduced green finance instruments and relevant certifications. They also provided practical suggestions for ESG (environmental, social, and governance) reporting and shared ways to seek funding for corporate ecological projects.
The expo featured nine thematic zones — Green Buildings & Energy Efficiency, Green Transportation, Waste Treatment & Recycling, Eco-friendly Products and Startup. A new element — Green Finance and ESG-related Services — has been added this year.
The Green Buildings & Energy Efficiency zone showcases professional systems and solutions that cut emissions from buildings and improve energy efficiency. These include Internet of Things technology and big-data analysis services for intelligent building monitoring that can improve a building’s energy-saving performance.
Electric vehicles are a fast-growing trend globally and the Green Transportation zone displays a variety of electric vehicles (EVs) and related charging equipment. Exhibits included EVs that are suitable for the express delivery of parcels and takeaway food; as well as charging equipment that optimises the power supply through a power load management system and brings greater convenience for car-park operators and users.
The Startup zone features home-grown entrepreneurs with products and technologies aimed at addressing environmental issues, including an openable and reusable straw, natural and biodegradable kitchen utensils, homeware and a smart grower.
On the public day, the Hong Kong Observatory explained the impact of climate change and the HKSAR’s Water Supplies Department hosted a session on the “Let’s Save 10L Water 2.0” Campaign. Local property developer Sino Group introduced urban farming and green hotels. A variety of green products including healthy foods, organic daily necessities and skincare products were available at the Green Mart. The Green Workshops offered tips on how to clean up oil pollution with natural materials, explained the impact of marine pollution on seabirds, and shared the skills needed to grow succulent plants.
Eco Expo Asia