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13 Nov

New World Development’s 1.5°C Summit 2023 gathers over 1,000 industry players to tackle extreme weather through tech

Organised by Eureka Nova, New World Development's open innovation platform, the third edition of “The 1.5°C Summit – The Defining Decade for Impact with Tech” concluded today with a clear consensus that disruptive technology is key in this defining decade to driving cities like Hong Kong to mitigate climate change and build a more sustainable future. The Summit hosted 43 industry experts, entrepreneurs, policymakers, business leaders and NGO representatives across 6 panel discussions and 6 keynotes, showcased 36 booths of startup innovations in climate tech, and attracted over 1000 online and offline registrations from Hong Kong and abroad.

The 1.5°C Summit is one of the events of Hong Kong's annual StartmeupHK Festival, the startup showpiece organized by Invest Hong Kong. This one-day hybrid 1.5°C Summit kicked off the Festival as the focal point for critical discussions on climate change and sustainability. Forging Hong Kong's pathway to carbon neutrality by 2050, the 1.5°C Summit revolved around the critical actions towards drastic emissions reduction within this defining decade, through net-zero innovation, energy-saving technologies in green buildings, greener transport solutions and reimagining waste reduction. The 1.5°C Summit takes inspiration from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations as it repeatedly underlines that, taking action now towards the global warming limit of 1.5°C would reduce the odds of initiating the most dangerous and irreversible effects of climate change.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Under Secretary for Environment and Ecology, Miss Diane Wong, said, “Extreme weather is becoming ‘the new normal’ around the world. In July this year, our world has experienced the hottest month recorded in its history. Apart from rising temperatures, extreme weather events such as super typhoons and rainstorms are also becoming more frequent, posing a real threat to everybody. In Hong Kong, we have also experienced super typhoon and record-breaking rainstorm this year. All these extreme weather events are urging us to step up our effort in combating climate change. Hong Kong has set a clear target to reduce our carbon emissions by half before 2035, and achieve carbon neutrality before 2050. This is an extremely challenging ambition and the importance of green technology and green finance are of great importance in our carbon neutrality journey. Today’s Summit provides an excellent platform for technological knowledge exchange.”

Mr Ben Wong, General Manager – Technology Innovation of New World Development,  said, “Leveraging the Summit panel discussions, to provide a platform that inspires innovation and critical thinking to foster actionable strategies for all sectors of society. This will bring together stakeholders such as businesses and startups, uniting efforts to drive genuine industry impact and growth, collectively devising practical implementation plans. In the future, New World Group will continue to accelerate impact-driven innovation, startup incubation and commercialisation success through Eureka Nova within the New World Ecosystem and partners. We will also work in tandem with other corporate partners and stakeholders to empower technology in addressing climate change and create synergy for the sustainability ecosystem.”

At the opening ceremony, the panel discussion “Hong Kong's Journey towards Climate Resilience” drew inspiration from Mr Lam Chiu-ying, former Director of the Observatory and Chairman of the Hong Kong Countryside Foundation, Prof Wong Kam-sing, former Secretary for the Environment and Chairman of Wu Zhiqiao Charitable Foundation, and Mr. Michael Long, Group Head of Sustainability of New World Development who shared their views on how Hong Kong can cope with extreme weather and adapt to climate and environmental issues, and delve into the city's roadmap to a greener and more sustainable future.

Mr Michael Long, Group Head of Sustainability of New World Development, said in the panel discussion, “As the urgency of climate issues becomes increasingly apparent, it is crucial that we all take a moment to reflect on the pressing challenges we face and explore ways to minimise the adverse impact of climate change on our communities and future generations. I am delighted to witness the gathering of like-minded industry peers, sustainability professionals, and start-ups at the Summit as we cultivate a meaningful conversation around sustainability, foster collaborations and co-create impactful solutions. New World Group will remain steadfast in our commitment to advocate sustainability leadership, delivering on our promise to build a more sustainable future.”

The summit brought together various experts to participate in panel discussions and keynotes. Dr. Bill Ho, CTO and Co-Founder of Hong Kong lithium-ion battery technology company GRST shared his insights on clean energy. GRST is the first Hong Kong company which be awarded the coveted “Earthshot Prize” in the "Clean Our Air" category.

The 1.5°C Summit, convening physically at K11 ATELIER King's Road with live streaming, forges a concerted effort in the community to create a sustainable future and augments New World Group's commitment to lead the industry's evolution to genuine sustainability through the New World Sustainability Vision 2030 ("SV2030"), which references the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and our business priorities to curate a customer experience based on the four pillars: Green, Wellness, Smart and Caring. SV2030, initiated in 2018, set a green target to halve the Group's environmental impact in energy and carbon emissions intensity against baseline year FY2015.

In June 2022, New World Development became the third real estate developer in Asia to receive the Science Based Targets initiative's (SBTi) approval of its near-term 1.5°C aligned science-based targets (SBTs) and commit to the SBTi Net-Zero Standard, a testament to its long-term commitment in reducing carbon emissions and mitigating the impacts of climate change. To ensure a climate-resilient future, New World Development has taken action to mitigate and adapt to the risks brought on by climate change. These include conducting climate risk assessments across its investment portfolio and continuing to further integrate climate-related risks into its investment decision-making. New World Development has reported against the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (“TCFD”) recommendations since FY2019.