HK government, developers are urged to promote sustainable forest products

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 March, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 March, 2003, 12:00am

The Hong Kong government and leading developers in the special administrative region should start a revolution in sourcing tropical timber products from sustainable forests, an advisory body member has urged.

Otto Poon Lok-to of the Sustainable Development Council said an opportunity to promote environmentally friendly forest products was missed when the economy was thriving.

'Now the big developers should be more pro-active and the government should take the lead as well,' he said.

Mr Poon also said he supported legislation which promoted sustainable production and consumption, to boost public awareness.

The economic downturn has put many businesses off investing in sustainable production, while the mounting budget deficit has made the government more reluctant to promote it.

The Sustainable Development Council, chaired by Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, will have its first meeting next week.

Only a limited number of wood and paper products in Hong Kong have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or similar agencies.

But some socially responsible companies have already taken the lead in promoting the sourcing, production and consumption of sustainable materials.

Ricoh Office Solutions, a leading office products supplier, said it had been sourcing copying papers from forests certified by the council. 'We took the initiative years ago as we believe it is going to be an international trend,' said Daniel Chung Wai-hung, a senior manager of the company.

Auguste Wong Wing-cheung, managing director of Auma International, which sources products from more than 100 mainland factories for clients in Europe, said his company expected to set a timetable for using only certified products.

'We will explain to our suppliers in detail about the developments in the market and what's going on in the forests,' Mr Wong said.

'We will also talk with our clients in Europe about the demand for certified products.'