Too Little Too Late

TungchungbinsBy Elsa Pau
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

The drums have been banging against the use of plastic bags. Agreed, it’s the wisest of things to do, given the poor infrastructure we have for recycling and waste management, and we should at least make an attempt to cease waste creation.

Prevention is always better than correction, but I’m afraid that too little is being done, and ultimately it’s a little bit of action that’s too late. When wandering around a supermarket one can become really confused seeing the amount of plastics that were used on fancy packaging, which can neither be recycled nor be reused. What message, then, is the government sending?

The picture below was taken in the morning at a collection area where I live. These 4 bins had to service recyclable waste for 8 buildings of 63 floors with 8 units on each floor, or better referred to as 4,032 families. While I didn’t had a chance to check on the bins again after this photo, I am sure the situation will have worsened and people would have given up. High profile government commercials encourage citizens to be considerate and place their waste into respective recycle bins for paper, plastics, metals and glass, but infrastructure is lacking for collection, processing and outputting.

Again, what message does this send when recycling infrastructure is so poor it dissuades individuals from taking their own important action?

It doesn’t end there either, waste reduction is definitely an effort to be shared by private and listed companies and the HKEx is at the best position to take a lead on driving preventions, but have they grasped it?

While the whole world has been screaming environmental protection for decades, Hong Kong has, sadly, fallen behind neighboring countries like Taiwan and Japan, and we lag behind on implementing ESG disclosure for listed companies to ‘comply or explain’ (more on this in the next issue of BENCHMARK).

BENCHMARK continues its advocacy journey on socially responsible investment for gatekeepers and investment officers at family offices and institutions. We continue to hold faith in seeing asset owners and managers, who are managing trillions of dollars, upholding the principles of responsible investments and voluntarily partaking in driving these changes.

If you believe in making a difference while you still can, join us in our upcoming Sustainable Family Office Forum on September 24, 2015. BM