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Press Release


Government and industry experts convene at the Eco Asia Conference to explore development and business opportunities
Representatives from Japan, Canada, Sweden and the Chinese mainland shed light on environmental policies


29 October 2013 – Co-organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd., the 8th Eco Expo Asia is underway at the AsiaWorld-Expo. Among the events at the four-day expo (28-31 October) is the Eco Asia Conference, a gathering of environmental policy makers and industry leaders from around the world to discuss matters relating to environmental policy, sustainable energy & energy efficiency, green building and waste management & recycling, etc.; at the same time explore business opportunities. The first day of the expo focused on environmental policy. Keynote addresses were delivered by Christine Loh Kung-wai, Under Secretary for the Environment, HKSAR Government, and Hiroshi Ogawa, Governor of Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan.


Fukuoka, Japan set to become hydrogen-powered
Fukuoka’s green initiatives are revered around the world. As its governor Ogawa explained, the city launched its environmental protection programme in 2006, inviting government officials and corporations to come together and explore strategies for tackling pollution. They organised a conference on global green development, where over a hundred environmental administrators from the Chinese mainland, Thailand and Vietnam, etc. attended to discuss matters relating to green management and education. The Fukuoka government also supported transnational green cooperation projects, such as a semi-aerobic landfill project undertaken with Hanoi, Vietnam.


Looking to the future, Ogawa said the prefectural government is actively involved in the development of hydrogen as a new source of energy, such as promoting the adoption of hydrogen-powered cars, to achieve the ultimate goal of zero carbon emissions and turn Fukuoka into a hydrogen-powered city. Through organising strategic conferences, the government aims to bring industry practitioners, the government and the academics together to promote environment protection across Japan, and strengthen the testing of hydrogen-powered products and enrich the environmental studies conducted by research centres.


Kitakyushu, Japan looks forward to working with the Chinese mainland on water quality improvement
Aside from Fukuoka, Kitakyushu also boasts a remarkable performance in environmental protection. The city is in partnership with many countries to develop green businesses, including other model cities identified by the OECD Green Cities Programme such as Paris and Chicago. Kazuhide Umemoto, Deputy Mayor of Kita-Kyushu City, said the city has invested 60 million Yen since 1997 to build the country’s largest eco-town, now populated by all sorts of green and recycling businesses and a workforce of 1,300.


“In Kitakyushu, many green corporations are working together to promote a low-carbon economy, with the active involvement of the local government. They also take part in exchanges with European countries to propagate the green concepts to the other parts of the world.” Umemoto added that the city has been developing low-carbon products and services since 2004, and is in cooperation with countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam, etc. The city’s advanced sewage purification system offers an example for the world. Umemto reckoned that water quality is an issue in the Chinese mainland, and looked forward to having more cooperation opportunities with the Chinese mainland on the matter, “We are more efficient in fresh water usage and have a deeper knowledge base in environmental protection, we hope we could share our experience.”


Stockholm, Sweden promotes intelligent waste reduction
Half of Stockholm is parks and green areas. Olle Zetterberg, CEO of Stockholm Business Region, said the city is adept at green research. Statistics show that the city’s CO2 emission is continually dropping, from 5.3 tonnes in 1990 to 3.4 tonnes in 2009, with a view towards 3 tonnes by 2015.


In order to reduce carbon emissions, Stockholm introduced a congestion tax in 2007. The tax resulted in a significant drop in carbon emissions, making Sweden the best performer among EU countries in carbon emission reduction. The number of drivers is also falling, three out of four in the city now choose public transportation or bicycles as the means to commute. Another successful example is the city’s application of intelligent fibre optics, which connect energy sources with the users and adjust energy usage according to demand, saving on unnecessary wastage. Stockholm is looking to having more citizen participation, and will be researching and developing more intelligent waste reduction systems to achieve zero-fossil fuel emissions by 2050.


Canada strongly supports carbon emission reduction
“Canada is host to many of the world’s top green corporations, many of which award-winning. The industry is involved in numerous green applications, including advanced light detection systems, energy storage, biofuels, transportation systems and waste management.” Denis Connor, Global Practice Lead, Renewable Energy at the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, said the local government strongly supports carbon reuse initiatives, with the intention of fostering the green industries’ future development.


High demand for green development in the Chinese mainland
The rapid economic development in the Chinese mainland calls for comprehensive green policies. Representatives from different provinces and municipalities from the Chinese mainland said the government is working with green corporations to develop communities following the “Twelve Five-year Plan’s” Energy Saving and Environmental Protection Industry Development Plan. Cities such as Hunan and Fujian are planning to adopt more advanced green technologies. Huizhou, for example, is actively building waste incineration plants and rural sewage treatment facilities. It is also providing incentives, such as giving out a RMB1,800 operating subsidy for each tonne of COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) reduced by town-level sewage treatment plants.


ASEAN: Chinese mainland filled with green business opportunities
Peng Bin, Division Head of China-ASEAN Environmental Cooperation Center, said the Chinese mainland government is in partnership with other ASEAN countries on multiple green initiatives, such as organising trainings and activities through the China-ASEAN Green Envoys Programme, to increase the public’s awareness on environmental protection. The countries are also collaborating on the development of green industries and technologies and co-organising bio-diversity and eco-themed conferences.


Peng added that green industries in the Chinese mainland grossed some RMB2 trillion in 2010, and is set to reach RMB2.2 trillion by 2015. This is in line with the “Twelve Five-year Plan’s” intention to inject RMB3.4 trillion to answer to different kinds of environmental needs between 2011 and 2015, and is indicative of the vast green business opportunities that this presents.


The Eco Asia Conference will be running for three days starting 28 October. Conference topics include “Waste Management and Recycling”, “Sustainable Energy and Energy Efficiency” and “Green Building”.


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Photo download: http://filesharing.tdc.org.hk/hktdc/download.php?fid=_phph8irtv

Under Secretary for the Environment Christine Loh Kung-wai, of the Environment Bureau of the HKSAR Government, delivered a keynote address at the Eco Asia Conference.

Hiroshi Ogawa, Governor of Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan, said the prefectural government is actively developing hydrogen as a new energy source, with a goal towards zero carbon emission.

Olle Zetterberg, CEO of Stockholm Business Region, said the government introduced a congestion tax in 2007, effectively cutting carbon emission. At present, three out of four in the city choose public transportation or bicycles as the means to commute.

The Eco Asia Conference invited many government officials from the Chinese mainland to introduce the nation's latest environmental policies and business opportunities.


Background information on HKTDC
A statutory body established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and service providers. With more than 40 global offices, including 12 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and throughout Asia. The HKTDC also organises trade fairs and business missions to connect companies with opportunities in Hong Kong and on the mainland, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and online. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com.
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