Over 40% of Hong Kong businesses support higher short-term energy costs for long term benefits

Hong Kong – Following the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, and its impact on oil prices, the latest Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) reveals that 42% of Hong Kong privately held businesses are advocates of supporting higher energy costs in the short term in order to reduce Hong Kong’s reliance on oil and have more stable energy prices benefiting future development in the long term.

Brent Crude climbed to US$125 a barrel in April, up from US$85 a barrel at the start of the year, and remains above US$110 a barrel today. Disagreement amongst OPEC nations on increasing supply persuaded the International Energy Agency to release more than 60 million barrels from emergency stocks, but this research suggests that businesses are keen to explore more sustainable source of energy.

Businesses are supportive of sustainable energy across the Asia Pacific

44% of Hong Kong and 42% of mainland Chinese businesses support increased government investment in renewable/alternative energy. Of the twelve economies surveyed in the Asia Pacific region, Thailand stands as the global front-runner advocate for sustainable energy solutions at 84%, followed by Taiwan (74%), Japan (61%) and Philippines (60%).

Energy efficiency and renewable energy are twin pillars of the Hong Kong government’s current agenda for sustainable energy. Recent media reports also demonstrated that government officers, property investors, architects and engineers are actively exploring the possibility to inject more sustainable elements in property development.

On and beyond the road to sustainable energy in Hong Kong

Recently, the governments of Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macau jointly launched an on-going three-month public consultation on initial proposals for the Regional Cooperation Plan on Building a Quality Living Area. The overall objective is to transform the Greater Pearl River Delta (PRD) region into an exemplar cluster of green cities, which will promote wider use of research in clean and renewable energy, improve energy supply structures and collaboration in this area.

The on-going collaboration of governments between Hong Kong and neighbour cities is encouraging reinforcement of their support for green living and we hope to see strengthening momentum on the corporate level across Hong Kong,” said Daniel Lin, managing partner of Grant Thornton Jingdu Tianhua.

He continued, “From the IBR results, we can see an increased momentum in promoting a change in business practices in Hong Kong. At a time when the global recovery remains fragile it is encouraging to see that so many businesses would support extra investment in renewables even if this caused energy costs to rise in the short-term. Considering corporate social responsibility, it is important for businesses to join hand and support a sustainable future. These results can also serve as a reminder to governments and international organisations that reliance of economies on oil needs to be addressed."

- ends -