Top executives from around Asia and the Pacific meeting at a United Nations forum today called for the private sector to lead the way towards greener, more sustainable business practices.
The Asia-Pacific Business Forum (APBF), held 22 and 23 November in Hong Kong, opened discussions on how businesses are decarbonising their operations and scaling up sustainability initiatives in the region. Participants are also expected to be introduced to the Asia-Pacific Green Deal for Business digital platform, and will hear and meet key decision makers, business leaders and emerging entrepreneurs committed to sustainable development across the region.
“The responsibility is now on the [business] community to not only set in place genuine and ambitious actions to meet their commitments but to multiply their efforts by bringing new businesses into the sustainability sphere,” Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), told the Forum, which is jointly organised by ESCAP and the ESCAP Sustainable Business Network (ESBN) with support from the Hong Kong Environment and Ecology Bureau.
ESBN Chair George Lam said in his welcome statement that with Asia and the Pacific being “the world’s largest and fastest-growing economic region and largest source of greenhouse gas emissions…the region is also where the private sector should and can take the leading role in closely collaborating with governments and communities towards achieving the green transformation of the region.”
“Decarbonisation and green transition involve a huge amount of investment. Estimates have indicated that Asia alone will need US$66 trillion in the coming three decades. It is clear that governments cannot fund them on their own. The private sector’s resources must be effectively mobilised,” said Hong Kong Finance Secretary Paul Chan.
“The HKSAR Government is committed to working with the business sector to realise green transformation in Hong Kong, and contribute to the regional decarbonisation progress,” he added.
Meanwhile, Tse Chin-wan, Secretary for Environment and Ecology of Hong Kong, is scheduled to speak tomorrow regarding Hong Kong’s quest for carbon neutrality before 2050.
The Forum, meeting under the theme “An Asia Pacific Green Deal for Business: Driving the Green Transformation,” is the only public-private sector regional dialogue and networking event that effectively and proactively engages businesses committed to sustainable development across the region, bringing together government officials, entrepreneurs, investors, private sector enterprises and academia from across the region. Additional participants from chambers of commerce, industry, associations and business networks are expected to raise greater awareness about ESBN and the Green Deal as well as in expanding the Network’s membership.
The annual Forum also allows participants to showcase pilot projects and innovation solutions towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and climate goals through private sector initiatives and public-private partnerships.