Soap Cycling’s SDG Solutions for 2020: The Second Annual G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality Conference
Hong Kong, 20 October 2020 - As the world grapples with the dual challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, the second annual G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality Conference concluded successfully on 24 September 2020, convening experts, stakeholders, academics, and social impact leaders passionately driving sustainable development in the hospitality industry.
G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality Conference 2020
Funded by the Sustainable Development Fund of Hong Kong, hosted by Soap Cycling in partnership with Foundation for Shared Impact, and supported by the University of Hong Kong (HKU) Business School, the G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality Conference was inaugurated in 2019 to connect businesses and various stakeholders to bring about sustainable and innovative solutions to the tourism and hospitality industry, one of the largest and most important industries, yet also one of the most polluting, in Hong Kong.
With the global tourism and hospitality industry among the hardest hit during the COVID-19
pandemic, and tourist arrivals in Hong Kong seeing a 99.9% year-on-year drop, G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality Conference 2020 is even more relevant as a facilitator and an enabler for the hospitality industry to rethink and ensure sustainability and growth.
Unlike last year, this year’s Conference was moved online. The decision was made by Soap
Cycling, Asia’s first and largest soap recycling charity, and organizers at G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality
about a month prior to the Conference date, to abide by the physical distancing rules to ensure the health and safety of the panelists and participants. The participants were undeterred: 297people from Hong Kong and all over the world registered for the event to gain insight from and interact with the 27 speakers. Topics at the Conference included the problem of food waste and its relation to climate change; plastic pollution and its negative impact; waste management and treatment; and circularity in the hospitality industry.
Participants were equally enthusiastic about the workshops in the afternoon, where they were assigned into virtual breakout rooms to engage in discussions on single-use plastic strategy, decarbonization of food menu, ESG reporting and supply chain management, and sustainable hospitality practices in the light of COVID-19.
“Both the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change have brought to light the stark inequalities in countries all over the world, where underprivileged communities are disproportionately affected,” said Lucia Loposova, Program Manager of G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality, who has recently spoken at TEDxTinHauWomen Countdown on driving Hong Kong towards a more sustainable future. “The need to advance sustainable development was urgent even before the pandemic, and is now more so than ever, as COVID-19 has set back years of social and environmental progress. It certainly is heartening to see that, despite being severely hit, the hospitality industry is showing a higher awareness of its great potential in expediting the progress towards a more sustainable future.”
“People have reached out to discuss follow-up projects and collaborations almost immediately after the Conference. To witness such a sense of urgency and the ambitions to innovate for a better future is exciting,” said Justen Li, Chairman of Soap Cycling. “For the second year, we continue to see great interest from experts, various stakeholders, innovative entrepreneurs, and the public in participating in the G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality Conference. COVID-19 presents us with the opportunity to rethink unsustainable business models and supply chain, and the Conference couldn’t have happened at a better time to bring together new ideas and creations for a more sustainable, equitable future.”
G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality Hackathon & Innovation Night 2020
G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality is increasingly garnering recognition as a leader in sustainable hospitality initiatives, not least for its data-driven research on the sustainability challenges and solutions in the hospitality industry, and the wide dissemination of research findings to the public and key stakeholders; the Think Tanks it organizes to facilitate new partnerships and solutions by tapping into the collective knowledge and expertise of the attendees; and the topical webinars it organized in the run-up to the G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality Conference this year.
Extending the momentum built at the Conference will be the G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality Hackathon & Innovation Night on 20-21 November, also funded by the Sustainable Development Fund. Participants will form teams of three to five to come up with innovative solutions that help the hospitality industry tackle the challenges of waste segregation, reduction, and food waste, based on study materials to be provided by G.R.E.E.N. Hospitality. The hackathon, with attractive cash prizes, is open to university students, people in the hospitality industry, members from the community, and entrepreneurs, who will receive mentoring support from hospitality and sustainability experts, entrepreneurs and innovators, and representatives from civil society.
Author: TC Li