Industry leaders gather together to share insights on scaling up circularity through business model reinvention and innovative technologies. The industry urges government to keep pace and bolster joint efforts from large corporations and SMEs to drive disruptive changes in business ecosystems.

HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – 5 July 2023 – The circular economy is an uprising trend across the globe, not only is it a regenerative approach to production and consumption, but it also encourages creativity and cross-sector collaboration that, in the long run, would create new jobs and make business operations more sustainable and competitive. However, this transformation requires systemic changes from enterprises and the active participation of stakeholders across different value chains.

HKU Partnership for Sustainability Leadership in Business Hosts Knowledge Primer 5 cum Sustainable Value Chains Commitment and SMEs Sustainability Leadership Recognition Awards Ceremony
Group photo of the awardees of Sustainable Value Chains (SVC) Commitment and SMEs Sustainability Leadership Recognition Scheme Cohort 2022 and guests, from left to right are the representatives from: Starbucks Coffee Asia Pacific Limited; Elkay Interior Systems Hong Kong Ltd.; Ms. Bonnie Yip, Senior Corporate Sustainability Manager, Asia Pacific of The Hongkong Bank Foundation; Sino Estates Management Ltd.; Café de Coral; LH Group; Oliver’s Super Sandwiches; A1 Bakery CO., (HK) LTD; Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment (Holdings) Limited; Professor Wai-Fung Lam, Director of the Centre for Civil Society and Governance (CCSG), and Professor of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong; Gaia Group, and Revolv Ltd.

The Centre for Civil Society and Governance (“CCSG”) of The University of Hong Kong (“HKU”) organized the fifth Knowledge Primer (KP5) yesterday, themed “Scaling Circularity Through Transformative Technologies and Business Model Innovation”, to take a closer look into the driving forces needed by businesses, industries, and the Government to develop a scalable circular model in Hong Kong. The KP5 is part of the Centre’s 4-year Partnership for Sustainability Leadership in Business (“PSLB”) project supported by The Hongkong Bank Foundation. Today’s event attracted 200 participants, both online and offline.

Distinguished Speakers Offered Insights on Creating Disruptive Change in the Business Sector

As one of three keynote speakers, Professor Llewelyn Hughes, Professor of Public Policy from Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, delivered the essentials on “Global Value Chains Transformation and its Implications for Businesses in the Transition Towards Circular Economy“. He mentioned, “The restructuring of global value chains is reshaping the international production, trade, and investment landscape. It is important that companies and governments start to re-assess risks and opportunities with a view to creating a circular economy that supports climate resilience and global sustainability.”

Ms. Teresa Yang, Vice Chairman of Esquel Group, gave the second keynote speech, “Accelerating Circularity Through Transformative Technologies and Business Model Innovations“. She remarked, “Our dedication to sustainability is not motivated by regulatory compliance. Rather, it is embedded in our corporate vision and represents our unwavering commitment to responsible business practices. We believe that by investing in new technology, the long-term benefits of circularity will be rewarding not just for us as a company, but also for the customers and wider society.”

Mr. Kim Siu, the Director of Business Innovation and Planning at Watsons Water, shared the company’s circularity initiative in the keynote speech “Integrating Circularity into Long-term Business Strategies”. He said, “We have learnt that to create a scalable circularity initiative, we cannot leave out the buy-in from top management and participation of customers. It won’t be a successful engagement if we do not put ourselves in their shoes and think of a plan that fulfil their needs.”

Open Floor Moderated Session Reflected on the Factors that Might Contribute to Advancing Circular Economy Transformation in Hong Kong

During the Open Floor Moderated Session hosted by Professor Wai-Fung Lam, Director of the Centre for Civil Society and Governance, HKU, the panelists discussed various aspects of progressing circular economy transformation in Hong Kong under the topic of “Building a Vibrant Ecosystem for Circular Economy”. They took a deep dive into the key trends that influence the circularity transition, ranging from the reconfiguration of global value chains to the rise of sustainability-conscious consumers. They explored the opportunities the circular economy could bring to local businesses, sharing interesting business cases that demonstrated the roles of start-ups and technology in building ecosystems.

The moderator, Professor Wai-Fung Lam, concluded the discussion, “We are extremely grateful for the sharing today by all our panelists, your experiences are inspirational for our audiences to go beyond understanding circularity as a concept and see the potential for scaling resource regeneration and new business opportunities through value chain collaboration. This form of evidence-based knowledge transfer is exactly what our project is aiming for. We believe more can be achieved if we let the stakeholders take the steering wheel and together build the ecosystem needed for all-rounded win-win solutions.”

Celebrate the Achievements of the SVC Commitment and SMEs Sustainability Leadership Recognition Scheme 2022 Cohort with a Prize Presentation Ceremony

The Open Floor Moderated Session was followed by the SVC Commitment and SMEs Sustainability Leadership Recognition Schemes (The Scheme) award ceremony to recognize the achievement and contribution of the participating companies in Cohort 2022. A total of nine SVC signatory companies and six SMEs participated.

The Scheme strives to foster closer collaboration between large corporations and SMEs to resolve sustainability challenges together as well as help SMEs improve their capabilities in business sustainability. This year’s theme is “Circularity and Resilience”, focusing on the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry. Two capstone projects led by Sino Estates Management Limited and Starbucks Coffee Asia Pacific Limited respectively, with the focus on (i) upcycling plastic waste into sustainable concrete to seal the resource loop; and (ii) adoption of sustainable materials for furniture and green store development were successfully concluded and awarded with Gold recognition. Additionally, the “A Practical Guidebook to a Circular Economy: Collaborating with Value Chain Partners for a Resilient Business” compiled by CCSG will be launched later in 2023 to provide the F&B industry with learning materials in the hope of accelerating the circularity transformation in Hong Kong.

Start-ups Showcase Featured 10 Aspiring Exhibitors to Demonstrate Creative Ways of Resources Circulation

In conjunction with the event, a Start-ups Showcase was hosted, featuring 10 aspiring local and overseas start-ups, namely: CLS Environmental Technologies Ltd, Gaau1-up, IsoFoodtrace, Ixon, MUUSE, Safe&Sound, Spare-it, Sustainable Office Solutions, V Cycle, and Worksheet. Each exhibitor brought along creative solutions that reimagine the future of product production, waste management, and business models with a regenerative approach. The event was successfully concluded with networking opportunities between start-ups and participants, and an exchange of experiences to foster future partnerships.

Hashtag: #HKU #CCSG #PSLB #ESG

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Partnership for Sustainability Leadership in Business

The “Partnership for Sustainability Leadership in Business” (PSLB) is a four-year (2020~2023) project initiated by the Centre for Civil Society and Governance, HKU, and supported by The Hongkong Bank Foundation. The Project is led by Professor Wai-Fung Lam, together with a group of sustainability experts. It is aimed at fostering sustainability leadership and collaboration in the business sector of Hong Kong through knowledge transfer, capacity building, and network development; in particular, the Project strives to foster strong partnerships between big corporations and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in pursuit of sustainability. The Project aspires to build a collaborative ecosystem which will enhance the capacity and role of SMEs in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area in attaining sustainable development. More details:

Centre for Civil Society and Governance of The University of Hong Kong

Established in December 2002, the Centre for Civil Society and Governance (the Centre) strives to enhance our knowledge of civil society and its contribution towards good governance, and to facilitate the attainment of a sustainable society through forging community-based, innovative solutions to inform policy deliberation and collective actions. The work of the Centre is organized around three Labs—the Policy for Sustainability Lab (PSL), the Social Entrepreneurship and Civic Action Lab (SECAL), and the Nonprofits and Philanthropy Lab (NPPL); each of them representing a research focus and an area of excellence of the Centre. More details:


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