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Zero Carbon Pitch

After the signing of the Paris Agreement, the urgency of combating climate change worldwide is brought under spotlight. While the western countries are scaling up their effort to go carbon-neutral, it is time for Hong Kong, with heightening awareness from the civil society, to sow the seeds for zero carbon solutions and let them geminate territory-wide! COIL’s latest initiative, the “Zero Carbon Pitch” held on 16th July in Hong Kong Science Park, provided a platform for innovative entrepreneurship to shine.

A total of eight teams from the Open Group and the InnoTeams Group competed for four awards. The four InnoTeams have been incubated by COIL in the past year and each of them has distinct characteristics.   “My Tree, My City” is devoted to tree conservation and wishes to collaborate with schools to build a community tree map. The vision of “Eco-Riders HK” is to build a bike-friendly community and it hopes to encourage cycling through a bike-rental system to promote low carbon travelling in Hong Kong. “Farmunion City“, formed by a group of horticulture lovers, wishes to encourage the greening of idle space in Hong Kong. “Green Co-living” hopes to practise low carbon living  by connecting like-minded young people in shared premises.

Four qualified teams from the public joined the “Zero Carbon Pitch” Open Group.  The finalists are: “Worm Bin Man “, which promotes vermicomposting; “Lastbutnotleast”, which encourages fashion upcycling; “Kimature”, which recycles coffee bean pulp into organic beauty products and “Shareyourtees”, which collects new marathon t-shirts and donates them to people in need.

All competing teams did their best in the pitch. Finally, the Best InnoTeam Award went to “Eco-Riders HK” and the Best of Open Group Award went to “Lastbutnotleast”. Both teams were awarded HK$50,000, which would help them turn their ideas into action and fulfill their low carbon dreams.

For the panel of judges, “Zero Carbon Pitch” was honoured to have invited Ms Vivian Lee (Senior Charities Manager of The Hong Kong Jockey Club), Professor Kin-chung Ho (Dean of School of Science and Technology, The Open University of Hong Kong), Mr Victor Kwong (Head of Corporate Health, Safety and Environment Manager, Towngas) and Ms Au Lai Chong (Chief Executive Officer, Delta Asia Financial Group).

Ms Vivian Lee of The Hong Kong Jockey Club praised the winning teams for having a comprehensive plan. The bike team takes into account the impact of transportation to climate change and pilots the project through a business model. The fashion upcycling team aims to promote the upcycling of unwanted fashion clothing and educates consumers on the environmental impact of the fast fashion culture. Another judge, Mr Victor Kwong from Towngas, agreed that cheap fashion nowadays has created more city waste . He supported the concept of upcycling and appreciated the element of local production in this project.

The Best Climate Innovation Award of HK$10,000 went to “My Tree, My City”, one of the InnoTeams. Professor Kin-chung Ho of The Open University of Hong Kong praised the team’s innovative idea of creating a platform for public participation in a scientific project for tree conservation. The Audience Popularity Award of HK$5,000 went to “Eco-Riders HK”, after the audience was asked to vote for their most favorite team on the spot.

Great thanks from COIL go to our four special guests who spoke on their personal experience in starting an eco-business and shared their views on social innovation. They included Ms Chloe Lai (Editor-in-chief of Urban Diary), Mr Jay Ho (Co-Founder of Eco-Greenergy), Mr Kason Fok (Associate Director of Convoy Finance) and Mr Rono Kwong (Chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs).