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Speech by Secretary for the Environment (English only)

Following is the speech by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, at World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Hong Kong Corporate Membership Programme Award Presentation Ceremony tonight (September 21):

Mr. Shaw, Mr Bohm, Dr Ballantine, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

     It is my great pleasure to be invited to the Award Presentation Ceremony of WWF Hong Kong Corporate Membership Programme and see for myself the enthusiasm of the business sector and the community in conserving the environment.  It is indeed my honour to speak here and share my views with the renowned business leaders and friends of the environment from different sectors in Hong Kong.

     Before I continue, may I first convey my deepest gratitude to WWF Hong Kong for their whole-hearted dedication to protecting our natural environment since its establishment 26 years ago.  I would also like to thank all the enterprises that have participated in this Programme for their support and commitment for a better environment.

     Over the years, the Hong Kong Government took the lead in implementing various measures to protect our biological diversity.  At present, about 40% of the land area in Hong Kong are designated as country parks or special areas, a striking figure when compares to the 11% of the Earth's land surface as protected areas.  The figure is particularly remarkable in a small place like Hong Kong, where land resources are scarce.  

     Every small steps counts in environmental protection and protection of natural asset requires the joint efforts of all.  Natural resource is an asset we should treasure with much care.  We should keep it away from rubbish, noises and any other forms of disturbance.  Plants and animals are part of the nature and they should stay where they are.  When visiting countryside, we should only leave our footsteps behind, and nothing else.  It seems easy to follow such practice, but it is also the key to maintaining a tranquil countryside after decades, or even centuries.
     It is encouraging to see that our people are getting more and more environment-conscious.  Environmental protection has evolved from a slogan to a mindset that affects people's habits and choices.  In response to the growing demand of the public for more environment-friendly business practices, many leaders in the business sector are quickly becoming aware that taking a socially and environmentally responsible approach is essential for building up good images for the companies and ensuring vibrant and sustainable business development.  I believe all of you, as business leaders and friends of the environment, hold the same vision that means of generating short-term profits should give way to new and greener practices which can reduce costs and improve efficiency, and at the same time prevent pollution and minimize the emission of greenhouse gases.  

     I am thankful for WWF Hong Kong's effort in drawing together almost one hundred corporate members to help preserve our environment.  Launched in 2000, the WWF Hong Kong Corporate Membership Programme demonstrates the synergy resulted from the partnership between non-governmental organizations and the business community.  It not only provides a good opportunity for corporations to show their commitment to protect natural resources, but also raises environmental awareness of their staff.  Corporate images will also be enhanced through this Programme.  This well-received programme is indeed a win-win game for all participants.  

     Taking this opportunity, I would like to congratulate all the companies receiving awards today. With WWF Hong Kong's proven track record of raising public awareness of nature conservation and calling for action, I trust that the Corporate Membership Programme would continue to flourish.

     Thank you!

Ends/Friday, September 21, 2007
Issued at HKT 20:30


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