Al Gore on Hong Kong and sustainable investment: Clean up the damn environment!

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The former US vice-president and Nobel Peace laureate takes the stage as he talks about the economic history of innovation and his thoughts on sustainable investment in a Hong Kong conference.

Al Gore, the former US vice-president and renowned environmentalist, has called on Hong Kong authorities and entrepreneurs to adopt a more inclusive policy-making and business mindset during a local conference on sustainable investment.

The event, organised by the Co-operatives of Innovative Intellectual (CII) on 17 November, brought together a house of tech investors and experts to discuss topics surrounding the theme “Investment: from growth to sustainability”.

CII Chairman Ian Huang kicking off the forum. (Photo provided)

Keynote speakers and panelists included Ian Huang, Chairman of CII, Dr Lee George Lam, Chairman of the Cyberport Management Company, Andrew Weir, Chairman of GEM Listing Committee, as well as Dr Claudia Xu, CEO of HKUST R&D Corporation & Director for Technology Transfer.

Also attending was Undersecretary for Commerce and Economic Development Dr Bernard Chan, the guest of honour, who gave a speech promoting Hong Kong as a regional Intellectual Property (IP) hub.

“Indeed, innovation is the major paradigm shift for different economic and social spheres, creating new growth opportunities for both public and private sectors. It is a driving force for upgrading and restructuring of industries,” Chan stated. “All-in-all, key players in the respective fields have a better understanding of the potential of their IPs and prospect or prospected commercialisation. We will continue to champion the course of building a collaborative platform for co-creation to harness the greatest synergistic value for all to share. […] IP commercialisation is mission critical to the further development of a knowledge-based economy.”

From left: Frank Tong (HSBC Global head of Innovation and Strategic Investment); Andrew Weir (Senior Partner of Hong Kong, Vice Chairman of KPMG China, and Global Chairman of Real Estate and Construction); Raymond Ho, Chairman of Dashun Foundation and Founding Chairman of Bell & Road Global Alliance; and panel moderator Jacqueline Lui. (Photo provided)

Al Gore, the chief guest of honour, took a more general perspective focusing on global growth through sustainable innovations. Before dropping by Hong Kong, he visited Taiwan, where his London-based investment management firm Generation Investment Management invested in a Taiwanese smartscooter firm Gogoro.

“[W]e now live in a time when there are multiple revolutionary innovations that are reshaping our world simultaneously. There has never been a period in history remotely resembling this one. We are seeing innovative revolutionary developments not only with specific devices or businesses but the entire field of science,” Gore said, noting an economic return of China and India after falling behind since the Industrial Revolution.

The Nobel Peace laureate then moved on and urged governments and businesses to acknowledge the shortcomings of conventional matrices for strategies and policies making, as they fail to take into account both positive and negative externalities, exploitation of natural resources as well as inequality issues: “You want more innovation [in Hong Kong]? You want more young startup businesses to be planted here? Clean up the damn environment here!”

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