Collaborating with Value Chain Partners for Organising Circular Events and Exhibitions”

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Industry practitioners join hands in advancing circular practices in the MICE industry and contributing towards Hong Kong’s “Waste Reduction ‧ Resources Circulation ‧ Zero Landfill”[1] vision

HONG KONG, June 6, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) industry plays a pivotal role in driving Hong Kong’s inbound tourism and economic growth. The Hong Kong SAR Government predicted a resurgence in the convention and exhibition events, with expectations of surpassing pre-pandemic levels by end of 2024.[2] Recognising the economic potential, the Hong Kong SAR Government has recently announced plans to allocate an additional funding of HKD$200 million to support the growth of the MICE activities[3]. Despite the flourishing MICE industry, massive waste and carbon emission issues are looming, posing challenges to achieving Hong Kong’s long-term vision of “Waste Reduction ‧ Resources Circulation ‧ Zero Landfill” as stated in the “Waste Blueprint for Hong Kong 2035″.

The Centre for Civil Society and Governance (CCSG) of The University of Hong Kong (HKU) successfully concluded the seventh Knowledge Primer (KP7) today. The event, with the theme “Enabling the Ecosystem for Resource Circularity in the MICE Industry”, aimed to drive the discussion on how to foster collaboration and provide the right catalysts for advancing circular practices in the MICE industry. “A Practical Guidebook to Circular Economy (Volume 2): Collaborating with Value Chain Partners for Organising Circular Events and Exhibitions” was launched at the occasion. The Guidebook is a consolidated self-learning resource for the MICE industry practitioners to integrate resource circularity principles in business operations through a value chain-based event framework. A well-thought step-by-step guidance and templates are made available to help readers put ideas into actions.

Prestigious Speakers Shed Light on the Necessary Conditions for Resource Circularity Practices to Take Root

Mrs. Orachorn Wongpan-ngam, Director of MICE Capability Department from the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), in her presentation “Policies, Infrastructures and Capacity Building – The Building Blocks for Thailand’s Circular Transformation in MICE Industry”, reinforced the significance of Government support in steering the industry’s path towards circularity and sustainability. She highlighted, “With steadfast support from the Government, TCEB has successfully established Thailand as a sustainable MICE destination on the global stage. Realising this goal lies on three success factors, including (i) devising a master plan and action programmes for attaining ‘Net Zero Events’ goal and 9R objectives; (ii) building the MICE talent pool through certified training programmes in collaboration with strategic partners with deep and broad industry expertise; and (iii) elevating and mainstreaming the venue and sustainable event management standards to improve the capabilities of the MICE sector “.

Ms. Synthia Chan, Council Chairperson of the Macau Fair & Trade Association, spoke on the subject of “Driving a Green MICE Industry in Macau – Barriers and Opportunities”, and shared practical advice on advancing practitioners’ work towards the net-zero goal. She emphasised the role of standard setting and industry support in enabling circular practices within the MICE industry, “Promoting the development of green and low-carbon convention and exhibition activities requires the involvement of all stakeholders, including the organisers, venue providers, suppliers, exhibitors, and attendees to ensure that sustainable practices are adopted throughout the entire event lifecycle. It is essential to enhance the industry’s understanding of sustainable practices and their benefits and establish industry-wide standards and certifications for green and low-carbon events. Recognising and rewarding those who prioritise resource circularity and carbon reduction will further incentivise the adoption of sustainable practices in the industry”.

In the subsequent moderated discussion, the host Professor Wai-Fung Lam, Director of CCSG, HKU, along with panel speakers Mr. Chris Brown, Founder & CEO of ReThink HK; Ms. Anita Chau, Marketing and Events Director of KPMG; Ms. Sheila Ebrahim, Senior Manager of Technology Strategy & Planning of New World Development Company Limited; Ms. Monica Lee-Müller, Managing Director of Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited, and Ms. Amy So, Program Director of Asia Sustainability of Informa Markets, explored the topic of “Activating Collaboration to Catalyse Circularity Practices and Innovations in the MICE Industry”. Some thought-provoking insights on the collaboration needed to drive circularity practices and innovation in the MICE industry were offered to the audiences, and the discussion concluded with 3 key takeaways:

(i) Ecosystem building – achieving circularity in events and exhibitions requires existing players to scale up their existing waste-minimising and resource-efficient practice while the value chain will need to be expanded to include new players who could offer new solutions and technologies. Celebrating best practice could encourage new partnership to be formed and innovative solutions to take place. Value chain-based recognition scheme or award related to circularity and sustainability innovation could be the first step towards standard setting for the industry.

(ii) Policy Innovation – the panel calls out on the HKSAR government’s significant role in leading by example and supporting the MICE industry as a whole in the transition. Policy innovation is a powerful way to drive radical change, from progressing towards circular infrastructure, to providing funding to support venues on low carbon retrofitting, and to setting standards and goals for more sustainable resource use, these measures will encourage the industry to place sustainability as a higher priority.

(iii) Charting a concrete roadmap – This involves setting clear and phased targets for achieving resource circularity and net zero goals in the MICE industry. By having a well-defined roadmap, the industry can track progress and ensure continuous improvement across all aspects of event planning and execution.

Co-creating Knowledge – A Practical Guidebook Launched to Support the Transition towards Resource Circularity

After the panel discussion, Mr. Darwin Leung, Assistant Project Manager of CCSG, HKU graced the launch ceremony of A Practical Guidebook to Circular Economy (Volume 2): Collaborating with Value Chain Partners for Organising Circular Events and Exhibitions. The book launch was witnessed by 13 contributing organisations, in the presence of distinguished speakers and representative from The Hongkong Bank Foundation. To demonstrate the ideas suggested in the Guidebook, the event organising team adopted the circular event framework to embed resource circularity when planning and running KP7. The team recruited eight SMEs and start-up circular solution providers to create a participant journey that minimises waste generation.

SOURCE The Centre for Civil Society and Governance of The University of Hong Kong

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