#Climate Urgency, #Green Economy, #Green Finance

Orange News: With a mean temperature of 30.3 degrees, last July was Hong Kong’s hottest month ever. We have no time to delay climate action. To solve the climate crisis, we must adopt a Green Economic model that is environmentally sustainable while also balancing social and growth concerns.

The Green Economy should enable all people to create and enjoy prosperity; promote equity between and within generations; safeguard, restore and invest in nature; support equitable and sustainable consumption with zero emissions; and be guided by integrated, accountable and resilient institutions.

Specifically, we must create systemic change to mitigate carbon emissions, enhance resource efficiency and improve social inclusion. Doing so represents our most viable path to truly sustainable development. 

The road to implementing the Green Economy, however, is filled with challenges. No concrete market mechanism yet incentivises environmentally friendly behaviour, so trust in green corporations, which often have vague value propositions and branding, remains low.

At the same time, support for new, potentially better ventures is limited: startups lack access to the risk capital they need as financial systems don’t take into account their multi-faceted value, and local projects struggle to gain attention and resources on the global stage.

On Earth Day 2021, the Hong Kong-based start-up Brinc launched the first $GREEN token, marking the beginning of a sustainability-focused ecosystem called Green Token based on the Ethereum blockchain standard. In total, there are 7.8 billion $GREEN tokens, one for every human being on Earth. The founder is planning to support at least 10 decarbonisation projects, for example, by 2030, we may be able to enable technologies that manage more than 20 million tons of waste that might otherwise have ended up in the skies and seas.

In the past decade, Web3 developers have invested effort in developing decentralized autonomous organizations–DAOs, which allow participants to raise capital on top of the hierarchical command structure common in venture funds today. The power of DAOs in climate action is to reward collective action, empower innovators and ensure accountability, thereby driving systematic change.

In terms of accountability, all the projects on the DAOs must be verified as having a meaningful impact, for example by openly displaying partner and community environmental metrics and being accountable to their green commitments. Utilising the investment DAOs will grant tokens to projects to help them make a difference, incentivising sustainable decision-making.

Humankind must act immediately to fight back against climate change. Therefore, we must remove the “green premium” on clean technologies. Clean technologies often cost more than their high-emissions counterparts,  slowing adoption. If we can eliminate this premium by funding early-stage projects, the new innovation can disrupt markets, and otherwise would have had to compensate by marking up prices.

Individuals will also be incentivised through blockchain for their contribution to sustainability goals, including donating time and effort to partner NGOs and making environmentally friendly choices at checkouts. This community of reward seekers will motivate our partners to offer goods and services in exchange, creating a utility loop.

The blockchain becomes a marketplace that is fully integrated with the ecosystem  The blockchain can form hubs that will feature supported green projects and provide updates to participants.

In the wider blockchain space, DAOs have shown their ability to mobilize participants and create a long-lasting social impact. For example, a Hong Kong start-up owner aims to increase net income by more than 50% for 100M farmers in rural communities and reduce annual consumption of beef and dairy by 25%.

In the near term, Hong Kong start-ups will be a part of the solution. The total number of startups in the city has risen by at least 28% since 2018. The advantage of adopting tokenization or linking to Web3 creates benefits for all. Web3 also offers the public a worth-trusted metric tracking system and the opportunity to work collectively with start-ups to achieve their common goal.

In order to maximise the potential of Hong Kong’s start-up space, the Government can do more to encourage innovation. For example, the Trade Development Council reports that official replies to recommendations and policy suggestions from start-up owners are often slow. Greater collaboration with the private sector is needed to reward new ideas.

According to one of the Council’s surveys, 38% of start-ups also list accessing quality talent at a rate they can afford to be one of their top 3 challenges. Existing programs that act to subsidize companies for employing local technology staff should be expanded so that our city can compete with other lucrative bases in the Asia-Pacific region.

Hong Kong can step up to be the biggest actor in the Web3 space and tackle climate change simultaneously. Innovation can drive a huge impact on the future of the sustainability movement.

By taking Web3 technology, the public has direct agency in the value of the token, and can help to build a community committed to sustainability. Now, everyone can shape the content collectively. We are able to build for the future, and can use Web3 to invigorate our community.


Originally published on Orange News on 28 Jul 2022. Written by Lawrence Iu.