A GREEN MACHINE
Every year at The Peak, we dedicate an issue to conservation. It’s an important topic, one that’s discussed from campus hallways to corporate boardrooms. And while the world obsesses with one crisis after another, whether it’s Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump playing nuclear footsy (or any other Trump folly), China’s debt levels, Brexit or currency woes, the drumbeat of news about environmental degradation continues, drowned out by the high pitch noise of current events.
Occasionally, we are reminded of climate change when previously unheard-of weather events occur. Luxurious playgrounds in the Caribbean suffered twin blows when two Category 5 hurricanes hit a number of low-lying island nations in rapid succession. Among the hardest hit were the British Virgin Islands, a British overseas territory home to one of the world’s biggest offshore corporate registries. Running off a giant backup generator, the island’s registry was up again after just two days; but most homes were utterly destroyed.
Florida was spared a disastrous hit by Hurricane Irma, but only just. Had Irma turned northwards a little earlier, Miami, a city that has become a global magnet for luxury property investors, could well have been flooded beyond recognition. Houston, a city that has prospered with the oil and gas industry, suffered severe flooding with Hurricane Harvey.
Robert Delaney, SCMP’S New York contributor, interviewed John Wilmoth for this issue of The Peak. Wilmoth is the director of the United Nation’s Population Division and as such, is in charge of the world’s biggest databases on global population trends. The numbers, the climatic threats, and the business opportunities in global population trends, are staggering. Africa and India are poised to grow their populations significantly – Africa alone is expected to add another billion people to the global population by 2040; some time after 2040, Nigeria is projected to have more people than the United States. How development takes place in Africa could determine the fate of the planet.
Closer to home we look at a handful of Hong Kong venture capitalists who’ve made sustainable investing their business. They look for green enterprises in which to invest, and they are not only pleased with their numbers, they’re pleased with their work.
We also hear this issue about a growing trend in China to preserve historic buildings. In the early years of China’s economic growth story, the ancient and the natural were bulldozed to make way for infrastructure, factories and residential blocks. Now, in part thanks to President Xi Jingping’s desire to see cultural preservation, there seems to be movement towards preservation that might see the last of China’s historic buildings kept in place.
Finally, in this issue we profile Dr Jonathan Choi, chairman of the Sunwah Group. Choi is keen to take the mantle of Hong Kong superconnector, known alternatively as “Mr ASEAN” and “Mr Belt and Road”. It stems from Choi’s desire to keep his company low profile and build his own, private social network. As Hong Kong moves to a new free trade relationship with ASEAN, Choi, whose family and company have been doing business in Vietnam for decades, is poised to see his fortunes rise.
He is, he says, keen to help other Hong Kong businessmen do the same.