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Speech by SEN at forum on "Fostering Sustainable Consumption for Consumer Betterment in Asia" (English only)

     Following is the speech by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, at a forum organised by the Consumer Council on "Fostering Sustainable Consumption for Consumer Betterment in Asia" this morning (February 29):

Professor Wong, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Thank you for giving me an opportunity to say a few words at the start of this forum. The subject of sustainable consumption is a very daunting one. Your new report, "Sustainable Consumption for a Better Future", provides an extensive discussion about the difficulties, so I don't need to repeat them. I will be using "6Ps" today to talk about this subject.

     I would like to start with "Partnership" as the first "P". In your report, you called for "partnership with stakeholders". I agree wholeheartedly. I am glad the Consumer Council, as the leading consumer protection body in Hong Kong, is taking up sustainable consumption as one of your key subjects. I am sure the Consumer Council and the Environment Bureau can be good partners.

     The second "P" is "Public Awareness". It is heartening from your survey that people see the connection between clean energy, climate change, pollution control, wildlife protection, etc. Public awareness is important to the promotion of any environmental initiatives. I am now more confident that we have a reasonable base upon which to promote sustainable consumption in Hong Kong.

     The third "P" is "Public Education". I want to say that the results of the Consumer Council's public opinion survey are not only timely for our work but also very interesting. I am of course happy to learn that a large majority of people see saving energy, reducing waste and recycling as a part of sustainable consumption. It is through public education that my friend Big Waster, j尭, is so popular around town these few years. He is the icon for our Food Wise Hong Kong campaign, which has been quite successful in raising awareness for the public and food services providers. He has also got a Facebook fan page which I appeal to you all to give a "Like".

     The fourth "P" is "Public Engagement". As many of you already know, we suggested to the Council for Sustainable Development to take on the subject of sustainable use of biological resources, and it has agreed to do so. This means there will be an extensive public engagement process this year. The process will be bottom-up and stakeholder-led. It will involve different stakeholders, and the public, to map out recommended strategies towards more sustainable consumption. The Consumer Council is already involved. There will be focus groups and public sessions, which we welcome all of you to join.

     The fifth "P" is "Procurement", and, to be more exact, "Green Procurement". I think you are aware that the Government has pledged not to serve shark fin, blue-finned tuna and black moss in official banquets as a responsible consumer. Indeed, the Government is a large consumer. In 2000, the Government amended its procurement guidelines to require bureaux and departments to take environmental considerations into account when procuring goods and services. The green procurement guidelines were updated and expanded last year. There is now a list of about 150 items with extensive information. You are all welcome to use this list.

     The last "P" is "Product Labelling". In your report, you called for more products to be labelled. Electrical appliances are a very important category of consumer products. The Mandatory Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme, first launched in 2009, has been expanded several times and we are about to add more products still. Once this round of legislation is passed, the scheme will cover products accounting for 70 per cent of electricity consumption in the residential sector. There is also the Voluntary Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme, covering other types of common household appliances and office equipment.

     Of course, there is a lot more that we can all do. I would like to think the path of sustainable consumption is a path of no return. I thank the Consumer Council for bringing together a distinguished panel of speakers today to share experience and thoughts on how to move forward on this path. Transforming consumption is a challenge that requires all actors to take responsibility.

     I wish you all a fruitful and inspiring day. Thank you.

Ends/Monday, February 29, 2016
Issued at HKT 11:20


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