The Hong Kong Consumer Council published its first report on sustainable consumption a couple of weeks ago. The highlight are results from the first survey of Hong Kong consumers knowledge, attitudes and behaviours to sustainability. Also a chapter on firm’s listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange pitiful corporate social responsibility reports. The stock exchange is toughening up the rules so should see an improvement. The metabolic rate of policy making in Hong Kong is much slower than in the UK and we managed to get the two members of the cabinet to speak at the report’s launch. Organising an event in HK is very different to UK – with as much attention given to the group photos as the contents of the talk.
Organising conferences about sustainable consumption is much easier than making it happen. TRAFFIC arranged a three-day workshop to help activists in SE Asian countries stop illegal or unsustainable trade in rare wildlife – ivory, tiger parts but also less photogenic plants and animals like agarwood and the truly ugly humphead wrasse. Hong Kongers make a lot of money out of trading in illegal substances – a sad legacy of Britain’s imperial past!
Mainland China’s pushing the idea of “Ecological Civilisation”. Hard to tell whether it’s a coherent alternative to current neo-liberal capitalism with some market based environmental policy or just a soundbite. But certainly true that they’re quickly replacing old polluting factories with less polluting ones, poor air quality in Chinese cities is a high priority and there’s a substantial market in green finance opening up.