Integrating Recycling, Reduction and Educational Efforts for a Triple-win Hong Kong - BOC Group Life Assurance Co., Ltd. (‘BOC Life’) and St. James’ Settlement today announced the launch of a CSR programme – ‘Brave the Storm Together, Guard Our Green Future’ (‘Green Future’). This new initiative is a blend of green social enterprise and customised educational yet interactive programme, aiming to integrate the practice of waste recycling and reduction into business operations, daily life and education, to raise public awareness of pressing environmental issues and calls on people to each make a small habit change in order to drive decarbonisation in Hong Kong, and turn Hong Kong a greener city.
According to the Environmental Protection Department*, the quantity of solid waste disposed of at landfills totalled 5.71 million tonnes in 2019, representing a daily average of 15,637 tonnes. These figures are alarming, particularly against a backdrop of limited landfill capacity. Currently Hong Kong has three strategic landfills, including the West New Territories (WENT) Landfill, South-East New Territories (SENT) Landfill and North-East New Territories (NENT) Landfill. Among them, WENT will reach saturation by 2026. Despite the Government’s announcement of the Waste Blueprint for Hong Kong earlier this year, which set out the vision of ‘Waste Reduction ‧ Resources Circulation ‧ Zero Landfill’, waste-to-energy will take time to be fully adopted.
The two-year ‘Green Future’ programme hopes to respond to the critical landfill problem arising from the increase in waste loads. It is hoped that this business-social enterprise partnership can contribute to Hong Kong’s recycling and carbon reduction, thereby extending the life of landfills by relieving the loads.
BOC Life will donate HK$1,000 from each policy successfully issued under its ‘Forever Wellbeing Whole Life Plan’. Donations will go to St. James’ Settlement to support this initiative, including a tailor-made ‘Little Green Shopkeeper Programme’ run by its social enterprise, Green Ladies & Green Little. School children who become Little Green Shopkeepers can learn the concept of recycle, reuse and reduce through an interactive and fun-filled educational process. They can also get an understanding of the existing landfill situations, and learn how to effectively recycle and reuse old clothing items. By acquiring eco-friendly habits at an early age, these children will become an eco-friendly force in society. The donation also supports re-employment for middle-aged women advocated by Green Ladies & Green Little.
Mr Wilson Tang, Chief Executive of BOC Life said, “At BOC Life, environment, social and governance (ESG) is at the core of how we operate and develop our business. It is embedded in our corporate values and culture. Despite years of deliberation, waste reduction remains a critical problem that calls for urgent resolution. I am confident that every business and individual can take a step to ‘Guard Our Green Future’. We are delighted to be partnering with St. James’ Settlement. The ‘Little Green Shopkeeper Programme’ will help educate children to use resources effectively, while promoting eco-friendly habits and re-employment for women. This initiative will thus bring both environmental and social benefits.”
Ms Josephine Lee, Chief Executive Officer of St. James’ Settlement added, “Over the years, Green Ladies has been striving to promote the employment of middle-aged women and transmission of eco-friendly concepts to treasure and reuse resources. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to BOC Life for their efforts in promoting environmental protection, waste reduction and green education. Their support to the ‘Little Green Shopkeeper’ programme enables school children to learn about eco-friendly concepts through interactive and interesting role play sessions, thereby helping them cultivate a green culture in life at a young age.”
The ‘Little Green Shopkeeper Programme’ includes virtual reality experience and shop keeping training for school children. In each 2-hour session, parents can also participate in role playing, while enjoying eco learning time with their children. The junior managers will be able to acquire knowledge on reusing old things, and be awarded certificates and souvenirs afterwards.
Green Ladies & Green Little is the first eco-social enterprise operated by consignment model in Hong Kong. Established in 2008, the social enterprise has been promoting eco-friendly habits and employment for middle-aged women. Through collection of high-quality fashion and accessories, it promotes second-hand clothing for sustainable use of resources.