13 April 2018
Greener Pastures in Hong Kong
Singapore social enterprise Green is the New Black Asia, in partnership with Hong Kong-based Ocean Recovery Alliance, will present the Conscious Festival over the Earth Day weekend (20-22 April) at PMQ in Central. With business, lifestyle and entertainment components, the festival is curated to appeal to a wide audience, and has something for all ages.
“By bringing together the best conscious local and international brands, speakers and change-makers who are making meaningful change in their industries, we aim to provide a curated platform to raise awareness around sustainable consumption and lifestyle choices, so that people can make informed decisions about the way they live,” said group founder Stephanie Dickson.
Smart Move to Hong Kong
Held annually in Singapore since 2015, the festival’s success made Hong Kong a clear choice for its debut overseas expansion. “We made a couple of trips last year to see if Hong Kong would be our new home and found everyone was incredibly supportive,” said Ms Dickson.
“There is a such a buzz around sustainability in Hong Kong with some great work being done, and so many vegetarian and vegan restaurants, but at times it’s a bit fragmented. We see our festival as a connecting platform bringing people together, gaining strength in numbers through a collective effort.”
The organisers expect the Conscious Festival to become an annual event in Hong Kong. In recognition of the city’s role as an international business centre, its format has been expanded to incorporate an industry day under the theme “Making Business Circular.”
“As Hong Kong is our first chapter outside of Singapore, we wanted to do something unique,” said Ms Dickson. “So we decided to hold a one-day ‘Unconference’ focused on making businesses circular, and added guest speakers and film screenings to the line-up on the following two days, dedicated to individuals and families who want to live more consciously. Together, we can do more with less and reduce our collective footprint on the planet.”
The conference will gather prominent local and international eco-pioneers to discuss their work and present innovative case studies. In the opening keynote, David Goldsmith, Hong Kong-based consultant, inventor, advisor and speaker, will discuss Project Moon Hut, a collaborative project with NASA to establish sustainable life on the moon.
Other speakers include food-waste entrepreneur Maxime Pourrat, Managing Director at Winnow APAC, who will explain how he’s helping big companies cut their food waste, often by between 60 to 90 per cent.
Sann Carrière, a circular economy business designer and strategist who champions future thinking and problem-solving to redesign business more sustainably, will showcase how Heineken is upcycling waste from its beer-brewing process to produce the company’s marketing materials.
Talks scheduled for Saturday and Sunday will focus on four key topics: conscious parenting; journeying to zero waste; the earth and biodiversity; and local pioneers leading the way in Hong Kong.
Throughout the weekend, a marketplace featuring 70 local brands, social enterprises and NGOs, will cover all aspects of greener living, with live music and many vegetarian/vegan food options.
The “edutainment” component is designed for families, with games and fun activities. WWF-Hong Kong will deliver a presentation on renewable energy; Wild Aid will discuss wildlife protection; and the Hong Kong Shark Foundation will share information about this endangered species.
A series of engaging short films will be shown every evening, including Ocean in Motion, with its emphasis on eradicating marine pollution; and Landfill Harmonic, an inspiring documentary about a group of children in Paraguay who created an orchestra using instruments made from landfill waste. Animals Asia Foundation’s Jill Robinson will also screen a documentary on her work with bears.
“Our goal is to make Hong Kong the forefront of conversations around sustainable business, by creating a platform to share thought leadership, success and solutions to challenges,” said Paula Miquelis, Green Is the New Black Asia co-founder.
“It was important for us to design an experience that fosters dialogue between both big brands and small – as there is a lot we can learn from each other, especially around the circular economy and communicating sustainability,” said Ms Miquelis. “There is money to be made when prioritising people and the planet – it’s how businesses will survive and thrive.”
The talks and conference are ticketed events, while entry to the marketplace is free.
Green is the New Black Asia