James is the CEO of a consultancy firm that provides risk management consulting services to assist organisations in identifying and managing their business and investment risks in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. Depending on the type and cause, the risks can be strategically addressed to be integrated into an overall business plan or technically managed to achieve avoidance, prevention, reduction and control.
Specifically about the Earth Champion nomination, the assessment/auditing of environmental health risks for companies and corporations are important as they contribute to the value (commercial) of the companies and in investors’ confidence in those companies.
As a result of his consultancy work, companies adopt environmentally sound practices, and new opportunities for green technologies arise, leading to improvement in the environment. Social benefits include labour health risks and safety assessment, leading to better wages and working conditions for employees. Poor environmental practices are non-sustainable and lead to a loss of value of corporations and companies and also to social costs.
Companies he advises include those in the financial sector, real estate, electronic recycling management firms etc.
This is a global issue, but especially significant in Hong Kong where there is a lag (compared to many parts of the world) in the uptake by the government in recognising the importance of environmental issues to companies, as there is significant commercial value in environmental sustainability practices.
As an environmental science graduate, James has always been perturbed by the inefficiency and wastage of resources in poorly managed practices. He realises there is a need to consider and maintain environmental sustainability and health for operations to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
Improving working conditions and increasing wages, i.e. improving /investing in the workforce through better benefits, leads to decreasing employee turnover, less overall costs and less wastage for companies. The audits of pension funds, for example, help assist aversion of risks and loss – pension funds are life-savings – so socially significant. Better business practices incorporating environmental health as criteria lead to a better workplace for everyone.
In the short-term – we are setting up environmental sustainability standards and getting people to understand the benefits and importance of sound environmental practices.
In the long-term – we hope considerations of policies affecting sustainability issues, environmental costs and climate change will soon be standard business practice. The government could take responsibility in leading the way or facilitate having these policies/regulations in place.
The overall outlook is positive due to companies adopting sounder environmental practices. This is especially important in China, where there is a steep learning curve, but people show great interest in such issues.
Our primary goal is convincing people to realise that poor practices lead to financial loss, have social and environmental consequences, and subsequent reputational risks.
The government of Hong Kong and private practices will go green in the future. Currently, there are so many talented individuals in Hong Kong involved and interested in green technologies and a wealth of knowledge and talent, but they are not properly harnessed, and these individuals are not working together. The government could facilitate this by making sound environmental sustainability practice essential criteria for businesses to operate. I hope there will be a gathering of like-minded “green” individuals who with the involvement of the government, can make Hong Kong the “Sustainability hub/centre of Asia”, which I believe is within reach.