Blogs

Living large in a Hong Kong industrial apartment
September 27, 2013
With Hong Kong’s housing prices still showing no sign of abating, it seems that government officials are looking everywhere for more land to fulfill the demand for affordable housing, including farmland, golf courses, sea reclamation and maybe even protected country parks. Everywhere, that is, except for old industrial areas. At the end of 2012, Hong Kong had about 17.1 million square metres of flatted factory space, most of it built in the 1970s and 1980s. Although only 5 percent of this was officially vacant, much of this space is in fact being underutilized or used for non-industrial purposes such as back-offices, storage spaces, and artists’ studios.
Japan's cumulative PV solar installed capacity to August 2013
September 13, 2013
Solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in Japan have now reached the 10-GW  milestone for cumulative PV capacity, according to new research featured in the NPD Solarbuzz Asia Pacific PV Market Quarterly Report. Japan is only the fifth country to reach this mark, after Germany, Italy, China and the US. Both the US and China reached 10-GW of solar PV within the past few months.
Singapore's New Water vs Hong Kong's supply from the Dong Jiang
September 06, 2013
The early 1960s were a significant era for both Hong Kong and Singapore in terms of its water policy development. In June 1963, Hong Kong imposed its highest level of water rationing. The residents were supplied with water once every four days, and each time for a four-hour period. This rationing lasted a year. In April of the same year, Singapore had implemented 12-hourly water rationing by district zones, which quickly spread to the rest of the island.
India Power Grid
September 02, 2013
India's renewable energy industry is reeling from the implications of a state ruling that waives clean-energy targets and, yet again, makes the country's business environment as attractive as a beating by a howling mob. Regulators in Gujurat state have said power distribution companies don't have to follow the central government's clean-energy targets, after State utility Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam and Ahmedabad-based Torrent Power complained that sourcing seven percent of their power from renewable sources or pay for credits was too expensive.
Amy Jiao BSR Blog
August 23, 2013
In February 2012, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) issued the Green Credit Guidelines to encourage implementation of its green credit policy, which was launched in 2007. The guidelines encourage banks operating in China to deny loans to energy inefficient, polluting, or socially risky enterprises, and instead to support green industries and projects.
Vehicle emissions graphic
August 15, 2013
According to annual air quality reports from Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department (EPD), there’s been no significant improvement in roadside emissions during the past few years. Nitrogen oxides (NOx), in particular, have been on the rise since 2008. The main culprit, according to EPD research, are LPG taxis and light buses, which account for a mere 4 percent of Hong Kong’s vehicles, but contribute up to 40 percent of roadside NOx emissions due to the malfunction and improper maintenance of vehicles emission control devices such as catalytic converters.
A polite request to Burma's energy-hungry neighbors
August 15, 2013
Questions over the future of Burma's energy policy are arising yet again. Not only has Thailand's energy minister denied that bribes have been given by the state oil company PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) but China has stepped up its pressure to reignite the environmentally bankrupt Myitsone dam project. Thai energy minister Pongsak Ruktapongpisal said that PTTEP had been doing business in Myanmar for over 20 years and had paid concession fees as specified in the contract. He added they had not paid any extra sum to any person close to the government and its accounts were checked by the Office of the Auditor General.
Conentrated solar power plant
August 09, 2013
China's solar industry is exuding signs of confidence again. Troubled Suntech and China Sunergy managed to regain their listings on the New York Stock Exchange, companies are gaining lines of credit again and order books look healthy. For all the cheer, however, there is still plenty of blinkered thinking on the future of the industry in China. The country’s solar companies are feeling more confident now that Chinese trade negotiators put one over on their EU counterparts. The day after the EU/China solar trade agreement shares of Chinese solar panel makers rallied in New York while European solar shares fell.
A contrast in Hong Kong pavements
August 02, 2013
Good city planning is a matter of simple economics. The street environment is a public good because it is non-excludable. It is also non-rivalrous, in that an individual can enjoy the street environment together without compromising another person’s use. However, a typical downside of the “commons” is that they are not often looked after and cared for like private property. Public goods like streets and roads should be properly planned and managed with different users in mind. However, one of the trends in city planning over the last decades is the excessive priority given to vehicular traffic over pedestrians in road planning.
Stopping BMW in China
August 02, 2013
The crack of China's environmental whip was heard across the foreign investment community when BMW was told to pick up its environmental game. “Drinking polluted water while driving BMW sedans is certainly not the type of industrialization we are looking forward to,” China’s environment minister, Zhou Shengxian, told the People’s Daily. The environment ministry criticized an application to double capacity at a joint-venture factory, saying there had been insufficient investment in environmental protection measures.
Austerity ahead for the green sector
July 25, 2013
As China’s State Council announces a ban on any new government offices or buildings, a slowdown in China's growth continues to worry economists. Amid attempts by China's cabinet to beat the importance of frugality into its party apparatchiks and the central bank announcing 'banking reforms', ten major banks have committed themselves to supporting the green sector. It is optimistic news for the sector as the government tries to get a grip on spiraling levels of debt.
GRI reporting future
July 24, 2013
At its May conference in Amsterdam, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) released the fourth generation of its sustainability reporting guidelines, the G4, to an audience of more than 1,600 corporate sustainability practitioners, NGOs, and the media. The update was eagerly awaited, given that the G3 guidelines were first introduced seven years ago (an eternity in the fast-moving world of sustainability) and given that several other reporting frameworks, principles, standards, and mandates have emerged since 2006 that have changed the reporting landscape.
Farm adjacent to a new town in Hong Kong's New Territories
July 19, 2013
Local farming communities has been up in arms in Hong Kong this month over the government’s latest plans to develop a new town in the north eastern end of the territory, not far from its border with Shenzhen. After three public consultations and years of planning, Paul Chan, the HKSAR Secretary for Development, announced what he describes as the ultimate plan for new towns in Kwu Tong North and Fanling North. In summary, the three proposed areas for development have been cut down to two, now with a strong focus on providing for residential housing and much less on industry and jobs.
Kevin Rudd looks at Australia's carbon market once again
July 17, 2013
Kevin Rudd, Australia's re-emergent Prime Minister, is gearing up for elections by announcing a plan – that can only be implemented after the election – to transition from the country’s current carbon tax to a cap and trade system in 2014 instead of 2015. His facts and figures were dominated by promising average households an annual saving of AUD380 (USD350) on gas and electricity bills. In a magical piece of political jiggery-pokery he said the nation's 370 biggest greenhouse gas emitters would still pay for the carbon footprint but by switching from the tax to a European-style emissions trading scheme, they would pay less
CCBF - The New Normal: A Hong Kong Business Primer on Climate Change Adaptation
July 11, 2013
Climate change predictions – espoused by scientists for decades – are coming to life, and in some cases are more extreme than expected. In May 2013, the world passed a carbon threshold, when the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere exceeded 400 parts per million. Such levels haven’t been seen for 3–to-5 million years, when the global environment was much hotter and much less hospitable to human life.   Indeed, temperature increases, and related extreme weather events, are taking hold.
China city air pollution
July 08, 2013
In late February 2012, the State Council of the People’s Republic of China announced a plan to revise the national ambient air quality standards, which will be implemented across the entire country on 1 January 2016. Key regions such as the Pearl River Delta and the Yangtze River Delta will implement the new standards well before 2016. One of the highlights of the announcement was the inclusion, for the first time, of standards for PM2.5 (that is, particulates with diameter of 2.5 microns or less). This is a breakthrough in air quality management in China, as tighter standards will improve the living environment and better protect public health.
Environmental protest in Kunming, China
July 02, 2013
In recent years, growing public awareness of environmental violations by companies and a fear of potential environmental impacts from large projects in China have led to an increasing number of protests across a range of industries, such as manufacturing, chemicals, waste incineration, and transportation. As they have increased in scale, these protests have resulted in projects being cancelled, postponed, or relocated, with significant financial consequences for companies and their investors.
Sarawak forest
June 28, 2013
When it comes to brass-necked gall, you've got to hand it to the clique that runs Sarawak. Regular readers of CleanBiz.Asia should be more than passingly familiar with the shameful shenanigans of Abdul Taib Mahmud, the Malaysia state’s Chief Minister since 1981. He is also Sarawak’s Financial Minister and Minister of Resource Planning and Environment. (And did someone say President-for-Life? He did, after all, directly succeed his uncle as Sarawak’s Chief Minister.)
Pig
June 20, 2013
Recently it was reported that some beef balls sold in Hong Kong contained no cattle DNA, but were in fact made of pork. With significant public outcries to address the irregularities, the HKSAR Government responded with plans to follow up on the false labeling claims. Nevertheless, the incident reveals that little is known about the origin and production of food that is available in Hong Kong.
Plasma torches
June 19, 2013
The Hong Kong Government has ruled out the use of plasma gasification technology – citing scalability and reliability issues – as part of the solution to the city’s mounting solid waste management problem. With its three current landfills due to reach capacity this decade, the administration has been pushing high-temperature incineration for some time but its funding request for an integrated waste management facility (IWMF) was rejected by the Legislative Council last year and the project’s environmental impact assessment is currently under judicial review.