The Nature Conservancy has been asking Hong Kong diners to "Step Up to the Plate".

The scheme involves 24 restaurants, customers of which can support environmental conservation in the Asia-Pacific region by including a donation of HK$1 or more with their bill. The participating restaurants - which range from Amazake (Japanese) to Yorkshire Pudding (British) - can, if they wish, match the donations.

"This is the first time the Nature Conservancy has run Step Up to the Plate in Hong Kong," says Louisa Ho Cheung-lui, executive director of the Nature Conservancy's local arm. "We Hongkongers have embedded the love of food into our DNA, so the next evolution is to leverage this passion to support the maintenance of a healthier natural ecosystem. The importance of nature and its crucial role in food production is often lost by the time it reaches the consumer, so this initiative aims to amplify its message."

The proceeds will go towards the group's programmes, such as clam farming in Micronesia, rainforest protection in Indonesia and tree planting in China. To give an idea of how donations are spent: HK$5 can protect one square foot of rainforest in Indonesia, a country with the highest rate of deforestation in the world, or care for one square foot of coral reef in the Coral Triangle, the waters of which lap at the shores of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and the Solomon Islands. A donation of HK$25 is enough to fund the planting of a tree seedling in Yunnan province.

"We are living in an environment that faces unprecedented challenges and stress on nature's resources," says Ho. "The world's population is estimated to hit nine billion by 2050, and nature cannot regenerate fast enough to continue providing food, water and energy at its current rate. Nature needs the support of people in Hong Kong. Step Up to the Plate is an easy way to show your love for the environment."

Step Up to the Plate ends next Saturday. For more details, and a list of the participating restaurants, go to www.tnc.org.hk/step-up-to-the-plate.