$400,000 cyber greeting windfall

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 January, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 January, 1999, 12:00am

COMPANIES that sent Christmas greetings via the Internet rather than the post are expected to raise $400,000 for the environment.

Green group Friends of the Earth said 33 companies, 54 government departments and 39 hotels had sent e-mail cards and had pledged the money saved to caring for the environment.

Assistant director Plato Yip Kwong-to said about $300,000 had already been received.

'We have had overwhelming feedback from companies,' he said.

'They're not only saving the money to buy cards, but they also save the time and human resources to write the cards, put the stamps on and take them to the post office.' The Christmas campaign is in its fourth year, with more firms signing up every year.

'It's getting better and better - next year we hope to get an extra $100,000.' Money raised through the 1998 campaign would pay for about 50,000 mangroves and 20,000 other trees to be planted this year. Some would be spent on environmental education.

Mr Yip said green greetings were growing in popularity on the mainland.

In Beijing, where 30 million paper cards are sent every Christmas, companies had started sending festive messages via pagers.

Meanwhile, recipients of traditional Christmas cards are being asked to give them to Friends of the Earth for recycling.

Cards will be accepted at 21 Shell petrol stations throughout Hong Kong until January 12.