Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2015 drives forward in campaign of environmental responsibility

27 March, 2015


Following a successful pilot at the 2014 tournament, the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) is sustaining the programme to minimise the environmental waste footprint of the 2015 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. Key stakeholders are again actively supporting the programme, which continues to explore new measures and best practices that could usefully be applied to future Hong Kong major events.

Major stakeholders in the coalition include the HKSAR Government represented by the Environment Bureau and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), co-title sponsors Cathay Pacific and HSBC, as well as the official beer supplier Carlsberg Hong Kong Ltd, Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong and Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hong Kong (the primary caterer for the Sevens).

All parties are supporting the Government's call to "use less, waste less".

During the pilot programme at last year's Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens tournament, around 7.9 tonnes of paper, 5.6 tonnes of glass, 3.0 tonnes of plastic and 1.0 tonnes of food waste were collected and recycled for re-use. In addition, a total of 1.5 tonnes of surplus edible food was collected, which produced some 1,250 boxed hot meals for distribution to people in need, while 400 litres of used cooking oil was collected to manufacture biodiesel.

A systematic Green Audit of the 2015 tournament is being conducted by leading environmental auditors Sita Commercial, commissioned by the Environment Bureau, in a concerted effort to develop baseline patterns of consumption and disposal of materials at the Sevens – including plastic, glass, cans and cooking oil.This is the first comprehensive waste audit to be conducted at the Hong Kong Sevens, and it will be applied to benchmark the programme in future years to further reduce the environmental impact of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens and other mega events.

All stakeholders and waste producers – such as suites, food outlets and merchandise vendors – were surveyed prior to the event, particularly in relation to food waste generation and waste management, and then 40 university volunteers, recruited as green ambassadors – will observe the usage of recycling facilities and general waste bins.Following strict research sampling guidelines, they will take samples of waste to be audited. The third component of the audit is a waste survey of waste generators at the Stadium, conducted by university student volunteers, under the guidance of Sita staff.

Robbie McRobbie, Head of Rugby Operations at the HKRFU, is excited about the programme saying, "The HKRFU is delighted to join with our partners to ensure that the Hong Kong Sevens is as environmentally responsible as we can make it – and that will be an ongoing process.

Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hong Kong, which services almost half of the stadium catering over the event weekend, is supporting the initiative with a focus on three aspects of reducing wastage: foods that can be safely taken back to Holiday Inn (kitchen management), food on the day that can be donated as surplus and food that must, for sanitary, hygiene or food safety reasons, be discarded. After these efforts to keep food supply down to what will be consumed, any useable remaining food will be provided to a local charity, for distribution to those in Hong Kong who otherwise would not have adequate to eat.

The HKRFU is in lockstep with the HKSAR Government's Food Wise Hong Kong Campaign and Big Waster, a character who symbolises food wastage as part of the campaign, will return to this year's Hong Kong Sevens to spread awareness of the campaign goals.

Big Waster also visited the 2015 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Women's Sevens where he was joined by Ms Christine Loh, Under Secretary for the Environment.He has made further appearances at other HKRFU and locally organised rugby tournaments in the event week.

Veteran Hong Kong rugby player Kwok Ka Chun, a fireman at the Sai Kung station, is the face of the 2015 HKRFU campaign, alongside Big Waster, appearing on posters around the Stadium.

The HKRFU and all involved partners are eager to continue to develop this initiative to improve the environmental performance of Hong Kong's premier sporting event.With the support of all spectators and the wider community, together we can tackle waste to win.