Along with the world population growth, over-consumption patterns have exacerbated the depletion of our planet’s resources, environment pollution, and climate change. Hong Kong, being an international city, stands out as a big user of various kinds of resources, for instance, water resources and seafood consumption. Recent years have seen the increase efforts worldwide in promoting Sustainable Consumption (SC) to minimise the use of natural resources, toxic materials and emissions of waste and pollutants while meeting human’s basic needs and improving quality of life. In order to keep up with the international pace of SC development, it is essential for consumers, businesses and the Government to join forces to make Hong Kong a sustainable and liveable city in the foreseeable future.
Tracking Study on Consumer Behaviour
With its vision on advocating SC, Consumer Council (the Council) conducted the captioned study as a tracking study of its baseline survey published in 2016, to monitor changes in consumers’ attitude and behaviour towards SC, as well as to examine the latest developments of SC locally and overseas.
The Study results indicated that consumers showed progress, albeit marginally, in terms of the 2 major indexes as compared with the baseline survey. The score of “Consumers’ Awareness and Attitude” has increased from 74 in the baseline survey to 77 in the current survey, while “Consumers’ Behaviour and Readiness” has increased from 69 (Consumers’ Behaviour) and 65 (Consumers’ Readiness) in the baseline survey to 71 in the current survey. The 2 major indexes are comprised of 8 sub-indexes, amongst which “Recycling Behaviour” was the only one that stayed at a relatively low score of 63 with no increase. Comparison of the scores of the 2 major indexes reflected that there was still a gap between consumers’ awareness and their behaviour in reality, in particular their participation in recycling. This suggested there was still room for improvement in terms of Hong Kong people’s sustainable consumption behaviour.
Subsequent to such a comprehensive review exercise, the Council puts forward, from the perspective of consumers, 9 recommendations for the consideration of all stakeholders concerned in addressing barriers experienced by consumers to drive behavioural change in realising SC and building Hong Kong a sustainable city.
Drivers for Behavioural Change of Consumers
1. Nurture SC understanding and culture through public education and creation of support platform
2. Strengthen availability and choice of products and services with relevant incentives to encourage consumption
3. Rebuild recycling habit by convenient, stringent and transparent waste management system
Role and Responsibility of Businesses
4. Adopt sustainable principles along the value chain, from production to end-of-life disposal
5. Provide accurate information about the sustainability of products and services
6. Set measurable sustainability targets and roadmaps
Directions and policies of the Government
7. Promote research in advancing SC related pattern
8. Establish long-term and holistic policy to foster recycling and sustainable industry
9. Introduce legislation and enforcement measures to achieve specific SC goals
This project is funded by the Sustainable Development Fund.