Ciara Shannon initiated and set up the Climate Change Business Forum (CCBF) in 2007 as an initiative of the Business Environment Council (BEC).
CCBF’s mission is to provide a unique leadership platform for business to understand and respond to the opportunities and risks of climate change and the inevitable policies and regulations that will address it. CCBF funds research on how business should be adapting and reducing their emissions and facilitates sharing of best practices.
All research findings are communicated to the business community and the government.
CCBF is now Hong Kong’s largest climate change business platform in Hong Kong with 27 companies committed to reducing their emissions.
The first company to join CCBF was Cathay Pacific and Tony Tyler Cathay Pacific is CCBF’s Executive Chair and CY Leung is CCBF’s Patron Chair.
Initially it took some time to persuade companies to join CCBF, but despite this she had a great belief that she was doing the right thing. “Having visited West Antarctica and seeing the effects of climate change and then coming back to Hong Kong and not really hearing many people talk about climate change, I realised that there was a need for a business forum to facilitate a dialogue about best business practice on emission reduction, policies and regulations. One of the keys to CCBF’s success has been that it allowed businesses to take an ownership role of the forum rather than to just seek their input and funding.
I first become interested in environmental issues in 1999 when I was working in Sudan and was approached by a green group to talk to oil companies about sustainable development. I was working with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) at the time and so was fully aware of how thousands of people were being displaced from their homes because of oil. I then became interested in renewables and how businesses could be a positive force for change.
Prior to CCBF, Ciara was working with the Harbour Business Forum and so Ciara had a steep learning curve in educating herself about the scientific, business and policy aspects of climate change in order to be able to take a leadership role. Ciara also needed to develop her stakeholder engagement skills so that she could effectively facilitate and empower others to become fully involved in CCBF.
Ciara has now left CCBF and set up Eden Ventures partnering with the Eden Project in the UK to bring to Hong Kong an Asian manifestation of the Eden Project. Eden Ventures mission is to accelerate Hong Kong’s transition to a low carbon economy through creating a transformative and inspiring educational park that will showcase the realities of a low carbon future.