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[HONG KONG –28 March 2019]If everyone led the lifestyle of Hong Kongers, 4.2 Earths would be required to sustain our consumption habits, a significant increase from 2016’s figure of 3.9 Earths, according to the Hong Kong Ecological Footprint2019 publicationreleased today by WWF-Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s Ecological Footprint is the second worst per-capita in the Asia-Pacific region and tenth worst globally (Please refer to Appendix 1). Ecological Footprintis an accounting tool which measures land and sea areas mankind uses to provide what we take from nature. It provides insights into the level of pressure from human activities on ecosystems and the biodiversity that inhabit them. Its measuring unit is global hectares (gha).
“Hong Kong’s Ecological Footprint is linked with the economy in the region and the growth of its gross domestic product (GDP). Since the 1970s, Hong Kong’s economy has seen an average of 8.9% growth of GDP in real terms annual, while its Ecological Footprint recorded an annual 5% growth till the mid-90s. The economy started to recover after the global financial crisis in 2007 and 2008, the city’s Ecological Footprint has worsened ever since,” said David Olson, WWF-Hong Kong’s Director of Conservation.“With the continual growth of our GDP, our Ecological Footprint may continue to increase if we adopt a business-as-usual approach. A shift in our daily habits, coupled with support from business and government, can help to staunch the runaway consumption that is impacting the habitats and natural resources we depend on.”
“Half of the city’s Ecological Footprint comes from food (21%), clothing (15%), personal transportation (8%) and electricity (7%),” said Gloria Lai, WWF-Hong Kong’s Ecological Footprint Specialist. “Food is the largest contribution of our Ecological Footprint, with meat and seafood being the top two food commodities in Hong Kong. If unsustainably managed, food production can have a massive impact on the environment. It’s time to reflect our dining habits. Hong Kongers should eat less meat, more plants and choose sustainably produced food.”
Hong Kong per capita Ecological Footprint reached 7 global hectares (gha) in 2014, 2.5 times the global average of 2.8 gha. With the continued growth of world population and our increasing demand on nature, it’s time to Change the Way We Live and preserve our planet’s renewable natural resources. Hong Kong is a consumption-driven city and we rely heavily on import, it is time for everyone – policy makers, finance, businesses and individuals – to take sustainability into consideration to make informed decisions on financial investment and in business operations, and to change the way we live.