• The Green Trade or Eco-industry Showcase in Hong Kong

    23 December 2013

    Eco Expo Asia broadens its reach and mandate as it heads towards becoming the regional benchmark for sustainability industries. 

    At the end of October the Eco Expo Asia trade show wrapped up its eighth edition and for an event whose original mandate was as a business-to-business platform designed to promote so-called green product and services, the Expo has leapt to the forefront for environmental and sustainable advocacy as well.

    Eco Expo Asia  1The 2013 edition included exhibitors from Germany, Canada, Japan, Russia and China among many others, promoting technologies in air quality control, energy efficiency, waste management and recycling as just a few. The beefed up Hong Kong pavilion itself featured over 30 exhibitors. Notably, government exhibitors are on the rise and that’s very much by design.

    Eco Expo Asia  3“The fair originally was created as a B2B and B2C platform for the eco-friendly industry. We then realised the importance of involving governmental participation in promoting green policy initiatives across the region, which then led us to invite the Environment Bureau of Hong Kong as a co-organiser in 2009,” explains trade fair manager Jack Wong of Messe Frankfurt in Hong Kong.

    “Recently, Eco Expo Asia has become the leading platform for bringing together manufacturers, government officials and end users across Asia. But that is not to say the show is only for the regional market. It provides products and solutions that can benefit users all over the world.”

    One of Eco Expo Asia’s platforms, in addition to requisite business cooperation, is information exchange and public education. “Our goal each year is to establish an event where industry players can gather, network and showcase the latest eco-friendly solutions, products and services available. What we hope for is to further promote this event to interested parties and invite participation from various industry professionals who are as deeply passionate about the environment as we are,” states Wong.

    Eco Expo Asia  7Many of the fair’s international participants were involved in Eco Expo’s conferences covering waste management, policy and green construction among others.

    The green building conference drew the broadest audience — students, developers, city planners — to hear addresses from Benny Chow, Aedas’s director of sustainability, Tony Ip, deputy director of sustainable design for Ronald Lu & Partners and the fair’s most focused speaker, Katarina Pelin, director of the City of Malmö’s environment department. In her address Pelin used Malmö as an example of how sustainability should be done, and was blunt in linking sustainability with economic growth and employment.

    She went on to note that buildings as well as transportation are the keys to sustainable urban development, design and living — something often lost in the discussion on sustainability in general. “Sustainability is not only about green building. It’s not only about environmental issues … The construction of new buildings and the refurbishment of old buildings should be [used as] a way of creating jobs and creating a good economy. Working with green buildings creates more jobs than traditional industries. That’s been proven.”

    Eco Expo Asia  4Malmö has set 2030 as the date for the city to be self-sufficient with renewable energy, and cites the city’s commitment to cooperation as a major element of that goal. Malmö has implemented a mandatory programme demanding construction firms meet a base level of sustainable construction.

    Pelin noted most have opted for the strictest criteria and the mutual cooperation among competing businesses has made the job easier. Compatible electrical, air, water and waste standards mean entire districts can be transformed, and economics indeed factor in the equation.

    “They do it because they think it’s a way of earning in the future and staying competitive. Sweden is a small country and we have to struggle with innovation to survive within global competition.” Without saying it, she took developers to task for continued unilateralism but admitted citizens playing a major role was crucial — particularly in refurbishments — in maintaining a strong social agenda and ensuring low-income residents are not unfairly burdened.

    As Pelin advised, achieving sustainable city status works best when all urban elements are taken as a whole. “Try and connect many subjects together. It will go much faster than if you take one building at a time … It’s not very hard to build green buildings. It’s easy … Not everything works, but if you don’t act at all nothing will happen.”

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