Growing vulnerability to climate-related catastrophes was chief among the urgent issues addressed at the RICS Hong Kong Annual Conference 2019.
In 2018, an estimated US$200 billion was lost globally due to the effects of extreme weather patterns. The devastation caused by disasters such as Typhoon Mangkhut leaves no doubt that climate change has become one of the most defining issues of our time. The built environment sector has a key part to play in ensuring cities are prepared for the challenges ahead.
The Hong Kong Annual Conference aimed to inspire industry professionals to come up with solutions which will ensure a safer, more sustainable city for future generations. Over 350 professionals assembled at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong for the region's leading built environment summit, which was organised around the themes of resilience, sustainability, and the green revolution.
The conference featured a packed programme of more than 20 keynote speakers and panellists drawn from the worlds of academia, property, government and finance. Structured around four key themes, the day began by considering the global picture, before outlining the role the built environment sector has to play in "future-proofing" cities.
In recognition of Hong Kong's role as a global financial hub, the afternoon sessions explored the role of green finance in driving sustainability and innovation, as well as examining environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting and considering the progress made by regional neighbours, Singapore.
According to the Guest of Honour, The Honourable Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, GBM, GBS, JP, the Government of Hong Kong SAR's Chief Secretary for Administration, climate change is a global challenge demanding immediate, decisive and robust action that requires cross-sector and cross-domain collaborations. The government has launched initiatives including development of renewable energy by introducing Feed in Tariff (FiT) to provide incentives for the community to invest in real estate, promoting energy saving and Building Information Modelling (BIM) in the construction industry.
The HKSAR government accords top priority to formulating comprehensive and coordinated climate actions to meet the commitments formalised under the Paris Agreement. Hong Kong can also ride on its strength as an international financial centre and the global business hub to develop the city into a leading regional hub for green finance.
The Honourable Matthew Cheung Kin-chung
Hong Kong SAR Government Chief Secretary for Administration
Ms Clare Chiu, RICS Chief Operating Officer for Greater China, commented that Hong Kong has historically enjoyed a unique geographic position, but in the face of more severe and frequent weather conditions, this prized coastal vantage now puts the city at the frontline of the struggles ahead.
"The strategic advantages Hong Kong has developed over the preceding decades now means the city has both the ability, and the responsibility, to serve as a regional leader in the emerging green finance market," says Ms Clare Chiu. "We have the opportunity to point the way forward in sustainable practice for others to follow.
"Professionals in the built environment sector have an integral role to play in ensuring Hong Kong is best prepared for whatever the future may hold."
Couldn't make the conference? See what happened on the day.
Head of Communications and Corporate Affairs, Greater China
Jeanie leads RICS' Communication and Corporate Affairs team in Greater China, which covers mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
She is in charge of RICS' brand development, market influence and thought leadership in terms of communications, media relations, and policy engagement. She also ensures strategic alignment of activities with RICS' business objectives.
She possesses extensive experience with corporate communication for RICS in East Asia before focusing on the emerging Greater China market, which is experiencing a huge demand for talent and professional standards in the built environment.