Sustainability in Hong Kong: Nurturing a Greener Future

Discover the Sustainability Preferences and Habits of Hong Kong Residents.
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Hong Kong, a bustling metropolis known for its impressive skyline and vibrant culture, is increasingly embracing sustainability as a vital aspect of its future. Our Consumer Report Hong Kong 2023, conducted based on a survey of over 1,000 residents, provides insights into the evolving mindset of the city. Astonishingly, the survey reveals that an astounding 93% of surveyed Hong Kong residents have expressed deep concerns about sustainability and the environment’s future. Furthermore, a significant 50.8% of respondents conveyed being highly concerned about this pressing issue.

Assessing Hong Kongers' Concern Toward Sustainability in Hong Kong

With its dense population and urban environment, the city faces unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to building a sustainable future. In this blog article, we will explore various aspects of sustainability in Hong Kong and highlight the efforts being made to promote eco-consciousness and create a greener city.

Waste Management & Sustainability in Hong Kong

Sustainability in Hong Kong: Ship Carrying Waste in Hong Kong

Hong Kong grapples with a significant waste management problem, with a staggering 4.17 million tonnes of solid waste being deposited in landfills each year. This challenge is compounded by the city’s limited space, as one of the most densely populated urban areas globally, making it incredibly difficult to establish new landfill sites. The combination of limited land availability and the city’s high consumption levels exacerbates the issue.

In response to this waste crisis, the Hong Kong government has recently released the Waste Blueprint 2035, a comprehensive plan that outlines specific measures to significantly increase recycling and materials recovery, reduce waste going into landfills, and ultimately achieve a zero-landfill target. Effectively addressing this challenge requires the collaboration of the government, businesses, and the public, who must all embrace sustainable practices and make investments in waste infrastructure and innovative technologies. By doing so, Hong Kong can pave the way for a more environmentally responsible and waste-conscious future.

The focus on waste management and sustainability in Hong Kong is also reflected in the actions of its residents. According to our market research in Hong Kong, approximately 17.9% of respondents reported actively avoiding food waste in the past month, while 9.3% stated that they have been segregating their trash. These findings underscore the significance of waste management to residents and their growing commitment to sustainability in Hong Kong.

Sustainability-Driven Actions Done by Hong Kongers in the Past Month

Green Building and Urban Planning in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is increasingly prioritizing green building and urban planning to foster sustainability and combat carbon emissions. The property sector alone contributes to 60% of the total carbon emissions in the city. With 85% of buildings in Hong Kong being over a decade old, extensive retrofitting is required to achieve the government’s target of carbon neutrality by 2050.

A promising opportunity for sustainable transformation lies in utilizing Hong Kong’s untapped rooftop space. By adopting nature-based decarbonization practices and exploring the use of natural insulation, these rooftops can be converted into green areas for both insulation purposes and rooftop farming. With approximately 6 million square meters of viable rooftop space available, this innovative approach to rooftop usage holds immense potential for maximizing resource utilization and enhancing sustainability in Hong Kong.

Two people attending to plants atop a building in Hong Kong

Moreover, the government has implemented initiatives such as the Building Environmental Assessment Method (BEAM Plus), which promotes sustainable design and construction practices. Guidelines like the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG) emphasize sustainable development principles and the preservation of green spaces. Additionally, designated Eco-Areas and public engagement ensure inclusive decision-making. These efforts aim to promote sustainability in Hong Kong and reduce environmental impact, enhance livability, and create a resilient and sustainable built environment in the city.

Sustainable Transportation in Hong Kong

Hong Kong faces the unique challenge of managing one of the world’s densest and busiest road networks, accommodating over 787,000 licensed vehicles across approximately 2,130 kilometres of roads. However, private car ownership and motorization rates in the city remain relatively low due to the high costs associated with imported vehicles, insurance, road tolls, and parking fees. In 2020, the average number of registered private cars per 1,000 inhabitants was a mere 76.7, reflecting the influence of cost factors on car ownership, a similar situation observed in Singapore. Read more on Why Car Ownership in Singapore is an Extravagance.

To address the transportation needs of its population, Hong Kong boasts one of the world’s best public transit systems, with public transport accounting for around 90% of daily passenger movements. However, transportation still contributes significantly to the city’s carbon emissions, responsible for an estimated 20% of total emissions. Recognizing the importance of sustainable transportation, the Hong Kong government has implemented several initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and enhance air quality.

In December 2020, the Government’s Innovation and Technology Bureau unveiled the “Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong 2.0,” an updated plan that outlines various measures to promote an environmentally sustainable urban transport system. These measures include making new towns more bicycle-friendly, upgrading ferry services with green technology applications, and initiating the electrification of public transport and commercial vehicles. The government has allocated HK$80 million for a pilot program focused on electric minibuses in 2023, with an additional HK$180 million earmarked for trial runs of single-deck electric buses. These concerted efforts aim to curb emissions and foster a greener and more eco-friendly transport system in Hong Kong.

Despite the progress made in recent years, Hong Kong still has a long way to go in terms of electric vehicle (EV) readiness. While the percentage of newly registered private cars that are electric vehicles has risen substantially over the past decade, from a mere 0.1% in 2010 to 12.4% in 2020, the overall number of private EVs remains relatively low. At the end of last year, private electric vehicles accounted for less than 3% of the total number of private cars, amounting to approximately 18,100 vehicles. Hong Kong will need to further accelerate its efforts to achieve widespread adoption of EVs and meet its sustainability goals in the transportation sector.

Encouragingly, there is widespread enthusiasm among Hong Kongers for electric vehicles, with an impressive 88% of the population believing that EVs are the future of the automotive industry. This positive sentiment provides a strong foundation for continued progress in EV adoption and the pursuit of a greener transportation landscape in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's Attitude Toward Electric Vehicles

Sustainable Consumption and Green Lifestyle in Hong Kong

Sustainable consumption and the adoption of green lifestyles are gaining momentum in Hong Kong as the city strives to create a more environmentally conscious society. The concept of sustainable consumption encompasses a range of practices aimed at minimizing the use of natural resources, reducing toxic materials, and limiting waste and pollution while improving the overall quality of life. To achieve sustainable consumption goals, collaboration between consumers, businesses, and the government is essential in making Hong Kong a sustainable and livable city.

A recent 2021 study conducted by the Consumer Council (the Council) of Hong Kong aimed to track consumers’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours regarding sustainable consumption. The study found that when it comes to their willingness to pay extra for products or services aligned with sustainable consumption principles, an overwhelming majority (87%) of respondents expressed their readiness to pay an additional 5% or more.

This finding aligns with the results of our study, where a majority (69.9%) of Hong Kongers reported their willingness to pay a higher price to cover the additional costs associated with sustainable and responsible production of goods and services. Moreover, 19.2% of respondents in that study indicated that they were very willing to pay more. However, the Council’s study revealed that over one-third of respondents perceived the availability of such products in the market as insufficient or completely lacking. This highlights the need for increased availability and accessibility of sustainable products in the market.

Hong Kong's Willingness to Pay More for Sustainable Efforts

To Wrap Up

In conclusion, the journey towards sustainability in Hong Kong is evident through its concerted efforts in waste management, green building, urban planning, sustainable transportation, and responsible consumption. With the support of its residents, government, and businesses, Hong Kong has the potential to become a global leader in sustainability, showing that a bustling metropolis can transition successfully to a greener and more sustainable future.

Interested in exploring more detailed insights? We invite you to book a demo with us today to explore Hong Kong’s sustainability journey more deeply. You’ll get special access to our full report, packed with valuable data, interactive charts, and expert analyses. Don’t miss this opportunity to be at the forefront of knowledge in this evolving landscape.

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