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Green Council’s “GreenTech Alliance” (GTA) commissioned the Hong Kong Baptist University’s School of Communication to conduct an email and/or in-person survey study of enterprises and employees in various sectors. The study gathered responses from 306 practitioners from 81 companies and led to an array of new insights into the different practices and attitudes among employers and employees regarding use of green technologies at work, why green technologies continue to be difficult to popularise in Hong Kong, and inform the formation of practical suggestions on how to improve the situation going forward.
The survey found that, in principle, 80.3% of enterprise respondents and 81.1% of employee respondents supported the company’s introduction of energy-saving and waste reduction technology programmes. But when the costs of such technologies or programmes were mentioned, only between 30%–40% of enterprises expressed clear support. About half of the companies noted that they were “50-50” – as in they were open to the idea of these technologies or programmes but found the costs to be concerning. They generally hoped that, in addition to the environmental benefits, green technologies could bring financial benefits to their business.
As for employees, about 70% of interviewees were willing to commit additional resources or change their working habits to accommodate the use of green technologies. In general, employees are more receptive to the ideas than enterprises overall.
Meanwhile, over 80% of respondents (both enterprises and employees) agreed that green technology is an effective way to reduce energy consumption and waste production, suggesting an overall positive outlook. Overall, both groups of respondents acknowledged that in addition to the environmental benefits, green technology can improve resource efficiency and reduce company operating costs over the long run. Many respondents agreed that the business sector can play a leading role in promoting green technology and contributing to Hong Kong’s energy conservation and waste reduction efforts.
Overall, while enterprises and employees are willing to support increased adoption of green technologies, the lack of relevant information and economic incentives were noted as major roadblocks to promoting green technology solutions. The study shows that most of the information provided to enterprises and employees are from the government and environmental protection organisations. However, over 60% of all respondents noted a general lack of reliable and available information.
Meanwhile, enterprises and employees are in favour of policies that provide economic incentives for the introduction and application of green technology programmes to offset the costs and risks involved. This is especially favoured by enterprises.
GTA noted that for enterprises, operating costs are consistently a top consideration. Also, the government is generally the biggest driver of new initiatives. Therefore, it suggested that the government may need to exercise policy flexibility and understand the need to deploy resources in a timely manner to facilitate the adoption of green technologies in the city.
Relevant environmental groups and professional bodies should also offer their expertise to provide a suitable rating or certification system for green technology assessment. This would empower enterprises to select the most suitable solution for their needs and budget from a wide array of sources. Meanwhile, these groups should cooperate with the government to promote long-term development of green technology.
Linda W P Ho, chief executive officer of the Green Council and Convenor of the GreenTech Alliance said: “This survey of enterprises and employees is the first formal study on the business sector’s receptiveness of green technologies. Green technology is an inevitable part of our future. If an enterprise can become an early adopter and promote these technologies, it will greatly enhance the enterprise’s competitiveness.
Whether you are an employer or employee, the fact remains – we are now all living in the age of technological innovation. Keeping up with the times will be key to staying competitive and relevant. Through this survey, the GreenTech Alliance hopes that this survey will help the government, environmental groups, professional bodies and industry professionals join hands to research and formulate the best plan possible to tackle Hong Kong’s low rate of green technology adoption, and help local companies flourish – in terms of both financial success and environmental protection.”
Photo/Green Council’s “GreenTech Alliance” (GTA)