#Hashtag Hong Kong



    Listen to #Hashtag Hong Kong every Sunday morning at 8.15

    Focussing on issues affecting civil society, we'll hear from representatives of NGOs, associations, statutory bodies, and non-profit groups.

    (Sundays 8.15am - 8.25am)



    Simon Wong, President of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants & Related Trades


    As the government has announced the “ Waste Blueprint for HK 2035 “ to tackle the challenge of waste management as well as to build a circular economy and a sustainable green living environment, “Waste Reduction” is on the top priority list. The government has proposed a measure to regulate disposable plastic tableware in phases. The Amendment Bill for the first phase of regulation was thus passed in March 2023 and will be in force on April 22, 2024.


    Under the Regulation, nine types of disposable plastic tableware would be introduced.


    In the first phase under the Regulation, EPS tableware, plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates are prohibited to sell to end-consumers and prohibited to provide by catering premises to customers for dine-in and takeaway services. The other disposable plastic tableware such as plates, cups food containers etc, will come into force in the second phase, but the date of implementation has yet to be determined.


    There are a few issues which the catering industry is concerned upon the introduction of the ban on using plastic disposable materials. The catering industry at first worried if there were alternative products to substitute the plastic tableware, and whether those environmental substitutes would increase the operating cost.


    Accordingly, if we look at the website of the Environmental Protection Department, we find that at the moment 64 companies are carrying 737 items which cover a wide range of non-plastic disposable tableware. Restaurant operators do have a lot of varieties to choose from which would suit their needs.


    However, many restaurant operators are, at the moment, not eager to use non-plastic tableware as the government is giving a six-month grace period to the trade, such that operators will not be fined if they do not follow the regulation on and after April 22. On the other hand, it would give enough time for importers and wholesalers as well as retailers to consume or or deal with their inventories within the allowable period. This period would also offer more time for the catering industry to find more suitable products to suit their budget and needs.


    In general, the cost of environmentally disposable products is about 20-30% more expensive than the plastic ones. Take the straws for example, a few cents increase seems not much for each straw, but it can translate to a substantial percentage increase when large quantities of straws are to be consumed. Since almost all non-plastic disposable products are imported, importers and wholesalers are not willing to take the risk of keeping too much stock in their warehouses at the moment. However, we believe that costs will come down when all restaurants have adopted the practice due to the larger quantity imports.


    Another concern is the quality of the substitutes. Those non-plastic substitutes are commonly made of paper, bamboo, softwood, wood pulp and plant fibre materials. Though there are a lot of choices for each type of utensil, the quality of the product varies. Some customers have complained that the paper straws or spoons cannot sustain in higher temperatures nor cannot be put in liquid for too long as they will become soft. Of course, we can find better quality products in the market, but the cost will then be higher.


    As the date for launching is drawing near, the catering industry has thought of ways to deal with the situation. Large restaurant groups, such as fast food chains, hotels and high-end restaurants have started using non-plastic utensils. Even though the cost, in general, is higher, they are willing to do so as it’s a social responsibility to compile with the ESG initiative. Some restaurants simply do not provide disposable utensils, but charge customers upon their request. Some restaurants or coffee shops have started to encourage customers to bring their utensils; in such cases, restaurants will save on the cost of providing the materials, while customers do not need to pay additional to the restaurants for getting non-plastic disposable tableware.


    There are about 18,000 restaurant outlets in HK, and 98% of those are small and medium-sized enterprises. With the present gloomy economic environment, these SMEs would be very cautious about the increased expenses if environmental products are used. However, I would suggest to them to use more reusable products to lower their cost and not provide the disposable utensils to customers.


    After all, the bill has passed, we, as an individual should do more for the environment. I also believe that education and publicity are vital means to pass the message to the public. The government should without any hesitation, launch more programs and publicities to educate the public how to deal with the change of living habits as well as to let people understand our environment is at risk if we do not act now.


    I'd like to share this song with you all this morning, I want to dedicate "Somewhere over the Rainbow" by Judy Garland. Thank you for listening.

    21/04/2024 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)


    02 - 04


    Simon Wong, President of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants & Related Trades


    Ryan Yeung, Founder and CEO, Happy-Retired Charity Action


    Erica Lee, Director, The Hong Kong Down Syndrome Association


    Christina Lee, Director of Wofoo Social Enterprises


    Joe Lo, Convenor of The Long Term Tobacco Policy Concern Group


    Fiona Nott, CEO of The Women's Foundation


    Innocent Mutanga, Founder and CEO of Africa Center Hong Kong


    Professor Edwin Ho, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) researcher in the School of Life Sciences at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

    Fiona Nott, CEO of The Women's Foundation

    Dear Hong Kong Community,

    When I spoke with you all two years ago, we were facing grim circumstances. COVID had caused separation and devastation, and it was unclear just how far its impact would extend and for how long. But now, thanks to the collective efforts and sustained hope of each and every one of you, we are looking out to new, brighter horizons.  

    Hong Kong aspires to take its place as a cultural powerhouse on a global stage – and there’s so much this city has to offer the rest of the world. However, before we can do so, we must address our rapidly ageing society and economic challenges fuelled by a persistent talent shortage. One way for us to meaningfully address some of these issues is through closing the gender gap.

    The benefits of gender equality are clear and long established: Happier families. Better business outcomes. A more robust economy. These benefits help everyone, regardless of gender.

    But our city is far from reaping the benefits of gender equality. Only 48% of women are in the workforce, this is lower than many of our neighbours including Singapore, Australia and Japan. Women are 10 times more likely than men to cite household responsibilities as a key reason for not being economic contributors. For every HK$10 earned by a man, women earn just HK$8.5. These are but a few of the numerous gender inequalities that continue to permeate areas such as safety, mental health, poverty, and career advancement, among others.

    What is preventing us from closing the gender gap?

    A key barrier to progress is zero sum thinking – where individuals believe that promoting the rights and opportunities of one gender will diminish and devalue another. A “you lose, I win” mindset.

    We know the zero-sum mindset is prevalent in Hong Kong: 38% of men and 52% of women believe gender equality is a women’s issue and men need to stay out of the way, and 47% of men and 29% of women believe women benefit most from a gender equal society.

    We need people of all genders to model inclusive mindsets, to ensure that the full constellation of diverse voices are heard and valued. To ensure there are equitable opportunities, policies, and distribution of resources.  

    And while government and businesses all play a part in making this happen, none of this change is possible without individual action and buy-in. So how can we each #InspireInclusion this IWD? Here are three ways to start:

    1.     Learn about the issues. Understand how gender inequality harms people of all genders and what forms this can take. Look at how this issue intersects with, and is complicated by, other identity factors such as race / ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, ability, religion, socio-economic background and more.

    2.     Talk about it. At work and at home talk about how the zero sum mindset might unintentionally show up. For instance, the misconception that if a male colleague advocates for gender equality at work it may negatively impact their own career or the misbelief that if a woman takes on more responsibilities at work, it will negatively impact the well-being of their family at home. Explore pushback or resistance to the idea that gender equality benefits everyone and share ideas on how best to tackle this.

    3.     Do the work and be an ally. Commit to listening, learning and acting. Use gender inclusive language. Refrain from phrases, jokes or cultural references that perpetuate stereotypes about any one gender.  Actively intervene when you hear someone else perpetuating stereotypes. Help others see the benefits of gender equality.


    These are just a few of the many, many actions each of us can take. 

    I know this is no easy task. Reflecting on our own internalised biases and assumptions and then taking action to address these areas is challenging, ever-evolving work at an individual, organisational and societal level.

    As CEO of The Women's Foundation, I know an inclusive, gender equal city is possible. I have seen first-hand the exceptional results that follow when individuals and organisations put in the effort to understand how gender inequality harms people of all genders, determine where they might be perpetuating biases and take initiative to change.

    Our Mentoring Programme and Male Allies communities are inclusively leading in their companies and in our community; our Young Allies are influencing the next generation of gender equality advocates; and our Girls Go Tech Programme participants are not just ensuring future STEM fields are more gender equal, they will be working to solve some of the most challenging issues of our time. 

    The work of each of us – as individuals, organisations, communities – matters. And when our efforts are combined, the results are transformational.

    Join us to #InspireInclusion this International Women's Day and take steps for a gender equal future through your words and actions.

    I'd like to dedicate this song to the women and girls of Hong Kong – and all gender equality advocates. The song is In debt by a local band Riddem.






    03/03/2024 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)

    03/03/2024 - Fiona Nott, CEO of The Women's Foundation