Email this article
Speech by Secretary for the Environment at Green Purchasing Charter Launching Ceremony (English only)

    Following is the speech by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, at Hong Kong Green Purchasing Charter (HKGPC) Launching Ceremony today (October 4):

Priscilla, Linda, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

     It is a real pleasure to be here today at the Launching Ceremony of the Hong Kong Green Purchasing Charter, with so many business leaders and like-minded advocates.  I must thank the Green Council for its excellent efforts in bringing together so many organisations and corporations to join this meaningful act.  

     Environmental protection or building a better environment is more than a gimmick.  The green purchasing charter is a very good example that in helping to promote a better environment, actions speak louder than words.  So we are here to embark on a very important movement which will help our environment.  It requires action and green purchasing movement is about a conscious decision involving a lot of actions and decisions.  Certainly companies joining the green purchasing charter will involve a change in company policy in procurement.  It involves a lot of conscious decisions to make a choice and it also involves attaching a value to your company culture.  So I believe that this charter marks a very important occasion.  Credit must go to all participating organisations for their support.  Your involvement is indispensable to the success of the Charter.

     Why is green purchasing so important?  The answer lies in the serious and imminent waste problem in Hong Kong.  We now dump more than six million tonnes of waste in our landfills every year.  The pressures on our landfills are mounting.  If we allow this waste dumping to continue, our three landfills will all be filled in less than 10 years!  In the comprehensive set of waste management strategies we have put up in our "Policy Framework for the Management of Municipal Solid Waste", green purchasing is one of the key initiatives.  We all know that the 3Rs of "reduce", "re-use" and "recycle" are important for managing our waste.  However, waste "recycling" is not going to be sustainable, if we have no market outlets for our recycled products.  A green purchasing policy is therefore essential to facilitate the development of a "circular economy", through which market demands will drive the wheel.  The Chief Executive in his previous Policy Address also appealed to the business and industrial sectors to do their share to protect the environment by adopting green purchasing in their operations.  

     In the international arena, there is an increasing concern over our procurement in making our environment a better one. Development of the Hong Kong Green Purchasing Charter is a timely response to fostering green culture in the business sector.  The Government is in full support of this.  The Environment and Conservation Fund has allocated funding in the Public Education Programme under the "Policy Framework for the management of Municipal Solid Waste" to support various activities for implementation of this Charter.

     Of course, the Government must lead by example when we appeal to others to act. Back in 2000, the HKSAR Government had already made provisions in its regulations to require the incorporation of green considerations where practicable in government procurements. To facilitate its implementation, we have developed a set of green specifications for a number of commonly purchased products by government bureaus and departments.  Every year, we spend substantially on the purchase of these green products such as recycled paper, printer, non-toxic cleaning materials, clean fuels and environmentally friendly cars.  

     Green purchasing is more than drawing up a list of products.  It also involves a lot of business opportunities.  With more and more corporations joining the Charter, the aggregate purchasing power and network effect will be enormous.  As we know, a few years ago, there were only a few supplies of environmentally-friendly cars in the market and the price was high.  But now, the price for environmentally-friendly cars has gone down to almost a comparable level of traditional saloon cars and more models are now available.  The same logic could also apply to other green products.  We consumers have the power to make a choice on what we want and what will be good for our children and future generations.  So, you have made the right choice here today in joining the Green Purchasing Charter, by using your power to demand what you want and help shape a brighter world with better environment for our future generations.

     I would like to thank you all once again for your efforts.  I trust that they have laid a solid foundation for further development.  I would like to wish the Hong Kong Green Purchasing Charter every success, and participating organisations all the best.  

     Thank you!

Ends/Thursday, October 4, 2007
Issued at HKT 19:12


Print this page