Last week ECCI, along with our partner, the University of Edinburgh, announced the appointment of a renowned Hong Kong sustainability expert to head up our Hong Kong centre.
Dr Shelley Zhou (pictured) will lead the University of Edinburgh’s Scotland Hong Kong Carbon Innovation Centre at the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park. The Team Scotland Centre is led by the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) and is funded by the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, BRE Scotland and Scottish Development International.
At a Hong Kong reception sponsored by Pinsent Masons LLP and attended by Team Scotland 2016 Trade Mission businesses and ECCI’s Head of Innovation Ed Craig, Dr Zhou spoke about her vision and ambitions for HKCCI.
Dr Shelley Zhou’s opening address
Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues and friends, good evening.
It is a great honour for me to be here as CEO of the Hong Kong Centre for Carbon Innovation.
I’m also really pleased to be part of this new initiative – because Edinburgh University is the first education institution in the world to establish a low carbon research and innovation centre overseas. I’ll talk more about our plans for the Centre in a moment, but first let me introduce myself.
My name is Shelley Zhou. I grew up in Wuxi, a city near Shanghai. I trained in Environmental Engineering in Shanghai and Hong Kong and took my PhD at the National University of Singapore. After attending the UN Climate Conference in Bali in 2007, I became one of the very first carbon consultants in Hong Kong.
I then set up the sustainability function at the Hong Kong Jockey Club and was in charge of the Club’s sustainability performance and reporting over the past 7 years.
At the same time I’ve been teaching at Hong Kong universities.
My aim is to use my technical expertise, academic network and corporate experience to help the Hong Kong Centre for Carbon Innovation establish itself as a major driver of, and partner for, low-carbon innovation in Hong Kong and Mainland China.
So let me now turn to explain a bit more about the Centre and our objectives.
The late Prof. C.K. Prahalad pointed out that big social and environmental challenges present immense untapped market opportunities. He urged companies to create what he called “Next Practices”, since incremental improvements to existing practices are simply not adequate.
Next Practices are about innovation: imagining what the future will look like; identifying the mega-opportunities that will arise; and building capabilities to capitalize on them.
The Hong Kong Centre for Carbon Innovation is all about Next Practices.
The Centre will act as a hub to bring together Scottish and Hong Kong talent, resources and ideas to create an incubation space for new low carbon ideas, products & projects. It will focus on areas such as sustainable construction, green transportation, energy efficiency, resource management and smart cities.
To facilitate this, we will create a team dedicated to identifying, brokering and accelerating Scottish-Hong Kong partnerships, providing a gateway to Mainland China.
And we will share and develop best practice with the Hong Kong Government and with academic and business partners. Backed by the University of Edinburgh and our three partners, we will provide executive courses, short courses and training to share the latest low-carbon technologies and solutions.
Looking ahead, I also believe that as more and more Chinese companies are going global, we should think about how to help these companies adopt low-carbon solutions when they go overseas.
Now one question you may ask – what knowledge does a Scottish institution have that we don’t already have in Hong Kong and Mainland China?
My answer is that the task we are faced with globally is huge – according to the Paris Agreement to keep global warming below 2°C. To tackle this challenge I think we need to maximise our knowledge base – to share and learn from each other. In Mainland China especially, where the UN Environment Programme estimates it will require around €500 billion a year from 2016 to 2020 to finance its national environmental goals, there is an urgent need for innovative ideas and fresh thinking.
So my aim as CEO is to facilitate this knowledge exchange. To bring talent together to explore new low-carbon opportunities, which can benefit Hong Kong and Mainland China, and may also have applications elsewhere.
I am very excited about the prospects ahead. The Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation has already established itself as an effective forum for promoting low-carbon solutions. And by establishing this new centre in Hong Kong I look forward to it building very effective partnerships between Scotland, Hong Kong and Mainland China as we work together to build a sustainable and low-carbon future for all.
Shelley Zhou, CEO of the Hong Kong Centre for Carbon Innovation, October 24 2016