Subsidies offered to cut emissions
Some 200 companies will receive a subsidy of up to HK$30,000 to conduct carbon audits under a government scheme to encourage businesses to reduce carbon emissions.
The Carbon Smart programme, run by the Environment and Conservation Fund, has a budget of around HK$6 million and aims to 'create synergy between businesses and the environmental industry'. The scheme is being co-organised by the Business Environment Council, the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, and the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce.
Carbon audits break down how energy efficient a company is and ascertain the size of its carbon footprint. Once areas of concern have been identified, companies can find ways of reducing their emissions.
The fund will subsidise about 200 firms in four sectors: office-based operations, retail, catering and other industries, according to the Business Environment Council. Businesses will have to put up their own money, but the government will match contributions up to HK$30,000.
Apart from the audit scheme, the 30-month programme will also build a business carbon emission repository, produce a carbon management guide and establish a website and telephone help desk for companies to find environmental service providers, seminars and workshops.
Environment Bureau Secretary Edward Yau Tang-wah, who officiated at the launch of the programme yesterday at the Hong Kong Productivity Council in Kowloon Tong, welcomed the campaign. 'If the scheme had been introduced five years ago, I'm sure this hall wouldn't have been so full of people,' he told hundreds of industry representatives. 'I'm delighted the business community is becoming more aware of the importance of protecting the environment and the advantage this will bring to their businesses.'
The city's 300,000 commercial and industrial businesses produce half of its carbon emissions, said council chairman Clement Chen. 'If more businesses join in to reduce emissions, Hong Kong will definitely get closer to attaining its carbon intensity reduction target,' he said.
Carbon emissions from energy use are likely to rise by this much by 2050, 'locking in' more disruptive climate change, an OECD report says