"As a statutory body, the Consumer Council (the Council) endeavours to advocate and promote consumer rights. In today’s ever-changing marketplace, the role of the Council becomes ever more important. I am deeply honoured to serve as Chairman of the Council and make good use of my profession to serve consumers in Hong Kong."
As a statutory body, the Consumer Council (the Council) has been a keen advocate and champion of consumer rights since its establishment in 1974. From basic necessities and price of groceries in wet markets decades ago, to 5G internet connection, smart home appliances, online shopping and shipping in the present day, every aspect of our daily life is closely connected with consumption. In today’s constantly changing marketplace, the role of the Council has become ever more important. As such, I am deeply honoured to serve as Chairman of the Council and make good use of my profession to serve consumers in Hong Kong.
As society continues to evolve, various industries have jumped on the digital transformation bandwagon in recent years, and online shopping has become the new normal. As many new industries, services and products emerged to offer convenience to consumers and traders, new challenges popped up at the same time: on the one hand, whether laws and regulations can keep up with the changes, and on the other, whether consumers have enough information and knowledge to make smart decisions.
A mature regulatory framework plus industry discipline can help to build a healthy market and promote fair trade between consumers and traders. Looking ahead, to cope with market innovation and changes that are beyond our imaginations, the Council will continue to actively promote advocacy and policies that protect consumer rights, while calling on different industries to improve transparency and enhance their codes of conduct. The Council will also carry on its regular reviews of existing laws and regulations to ensure their relevance to current times, and offer recommendations to the authorities.
Besides, the Council will persistently empower consumers to protect themselves and improve market transparency by conducting product tests and surveys, disseminating such information and safety alerts across mainstream media as well as online and social media platforms. In the face of the ever-changing consumption environment, the Council is also obliged to organise various programmes to educate consumers of all ages and from different backgrounds on how to shop wisely, both online and offline.
At the same time, we should not neglect the fact that human consumption poses a heavy burden on the Earth and that the continuation of our current lifestyle will have irreversible consequences for our living environment. Therefore, we should also promote sustainable consumption without further delay. Consumers can start by reflecting on how to convert self-regarding shopping habits to comprehensive considerations of products’ impact on the environment as well as society. Sustainable and responsible shopping habits should also be adopted so that our future generations can enjoy a hospitable environment in ecological balance.
The above-mentioned challenges are not exclusive to Hong Kong, but rather a cause of concern around the world. The Council is collaborating with consumer organisations across the globe, regularly exchanging information on consumer-related issues and new market trends to facilitate the global development of sustainable consumption.
The Council will progress with the times and continue to be fully committed to its mission, so as to address the needs of society and consumers and foster a better environment and culture for consumption.
Mr. Paul Lam Ting-kwok, SBS, SC, JP
Chairman, Consumer Council