HKU Partnership for Corporate Sustainability Leadership Hosts Knowledge Primer 4

Reinventing the agribusiness value chain to improve business resilience

Transform the resource circulation model through collaboration to achieve zero waste operations

As we enter the post-COVID era, governments and businesses around the world are racing to recover their economies as quickly as possible, and there is no room for Hong Kong to lag behind in this race. The latest policy speech not only emphasizes competition for talent, but also focuses on developing emerging industries to encourage innovation and technological progress and maintain Hong Kong’s competitiveness.

Among all, circular economy is a popular trend across the world. It is not only a regenerative approach to production and consumption that encourages creative solutions from industries, but many suggest that it would also create economic value. Supported by the Hongkong Bank Foundation, the Partnership for Sustainability Leadership in Business (PSLB) project of the Center for Civil Society and Governance (CCSG) of the University of Hong Kong organized on November 17 the 4th Knowledge Primer (KP) on the theme ‘Collaboration for Driving Circular Economy in the Food & Beverage Industry’ to deepen the potential of promoting the circular economy in the F&B industry, which is named one of the most wasteful industries in Hong Kong with respect to the amount of food waste produced and single-use plastic food and drink containers distributed by local catering businesses every day.

The event brought together more than 120 industry leaders to explore the implementation status quo and shed light on the obstacles faced by different stakeholders. Instead of working in silos, this KP emphasized the importance of collective effort to drive systemic change and align with the government’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Topical sustainability talks facilitate cross-sector discussions and showcase academic research and business cases

As keynote speakers, Dr. Winnie Law, Deputy Director of the Center for Civil Society and Governance, and Ms. Nadine Maurellet, Managing Director of Business Diversification and Group General Counsel for The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, delivered keynote speeches on “Circularity for Business Sustainability and Resilience” and “Leveraging Strengths and Creating Shared Value with Our Partners: Lessons Learned from The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited” respectively. Dr. Winnie Law believed that the circularity of resources was not limited to waste management. The goal of the circular economy has been envisioned to decouple economic development from the consumption of finite resources. By transforming the current take-make-use-dispose model into a regenerative system, waste could be reintroduced into the production process and converted into resources, which is conducive to the restoration and prosperity of nature. Furthermore, integrating circularity into business strategies could unlock economic potentials, such as facilitating the development of eco-products and forging an innovative and diverse workforce, etc. – resilient business models.

Proactivity and collaborative efforts are the driving force to create internal systemic change

Despite the unprecedented challenges in recent years for the hospitality industry, Ms. Nadine Maurellet, Managing Director of Business Diversification and Group General Counsel for The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, shed light on how the business world is implementing their Sustainable Luxury 2030 vision. . Through the projects, they were able to reduce environmental impact while creating social value. Three keys to success have been highlighted. Sustainability issues are interconnected, it’s important to start with one key issue to address and then continue to improve the initial idea by connecting more dots to see how far the impact can be extended. Being able to build the business plan on cost, financial impact, and sustainability early on while finding resources from investors, governments, and peers can ensure the long-term sustainability of projects. Ultimately it takes action – piloting the idea with subject matter experts and partners and staying humble to deliver results are important driving forces for creating internal and systemic change.

Industry leaders tell of hurdles, all walks of life need to work together to roll out a holistic plan

The F&B industry is essentially a network of interconnections between different stakeholders. As complicated as it may seem, it also involves many possibilities for collaboration. The dialogue with industry leaders aims to break down silos by inviting representatives from across the F&B industry value chain, frontline staff and local F&B chain restaurants to management large-scale real estate and consumer service application.

During the dialogue with industry leaders, Professor Simon Wong, BBS, JP, President and CEO of LH Group, and Mr. Woody Chan, Senior Director of CSR and Sustainability of foodpanda, analyzed the barriers and weaknesses in the implementation of resources. circularity from their respective experiences. Common obstacles faced by companies include: companies lack expertise in innovating business models and developing circular strategies; and another challenge that resonated with participants was that the less resourceful small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the F&B sector often lack the time, trained workforce and financial resources to operationalize circular practices and that greater support from government and industry is needed.”

Mr. Patrick Ho, Deputy Director of Sustainable Development of Swire Properties Limited, and Ms. Anita Cheng, Member of the Executive Committee and Honorary Member of the Hong Kong Chefs Association, further expressed their views on the importance of driving change system in the industry. They believed that formulating clear and achievable circularity goals, increasing investment in R&D, integrating circularity into menu and kitchen design, adopting smart waste management solutions and strengthening vocational education (including upskilling and re-skilling of the workforce) were key to advancing the transformation of the F&B industry towards a circular economy. Participants generally agreed that collaboration across value chains and with different sectors could fuel circular innovation and create synergies through unique and innovative business models, which help accelerate the process of circular economy transformation. .

PSLB is committed to establishing a sustainable business ecosystem

Since the launch of the “Partnership for Sustainable Business Leadership” (PSLB), the project has always been dedicated to fostering collaborations between large companies and SME business partners so that they can create a strong ecosystem to foster development. sustainable. The 2022 cohort of the Sustainable Value Chains (SVC) Commitment and SME Sustainability Leadership Recognition Program under the PSLB officially kicked off in September. With the theme of “circularity and resilience” and a focus on the food and beverage industry, major property developers and F&B conglomerates such as New World Development Company Limited, Sino Group and Starbucks Asia Pacific participate in programs with the SMEs they nominate to help design and implement a circular economy program in their areas. Having organized capacity building activities, including a series of hands-on workshops and brainstorming sessions, the PSLB project team will continue to work closely with these committed companies until June 2023 to bring life to their innovative ideas of circularity.

Professor Wai-Fung Lam, Director of the Center for Civil Society and Governance (CCSG) and Professor of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong, remarked: longer-term strategies and goals. They have increasingly realized that they are part of an interconnected system and that stakeholders expect them to take proactive action in the face of emerging sustainability challenges. In this regard, companies need to go beyond adopting the conventional 4R waste management approach, collaboration is key to driving meaningful change. This is particularly clear in the case of circularity where different actors in a company’s value chain must come together to close the loop.

Comments are closed.