Mum’s the word

Not only the mother of two chil­dren, EMILY LAM HO is also ded­i­cat­ing much of her time to Mother Earth, dis­cov­ers KIERAN HO

#Legend - - ICON - Pho­tog­ra­phy / Ricky Lo Styling / Kieran Ho Florist / Blooms & Blos­soms

EMILY LAM HO is a mother in more ways than one. First and fore­most, she’s a mother to a three-year-old son and a one-and-ahalf-year- old daugh­ter. But she’s also a mother to an en­vi­ron­men­tal move­ment she’s kick­ing off in Hong Kong.

A woman wear­ing at least 10 dif­fer­ent hats at any given time, she’s util­is­ing her back­ground in eco­nomic pol­icy, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and jour­nal­ism along with her seven years of ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing in fi­nance to help with the busi­ness de­vel­op­ment at Sing Tao News Cor­po­ra­tion, along­side hus­band Kent Ho and father-in-law Charles Ho. But that’s only the tip of the ice­berg – her pas­sions go far be­yond prof­itabil­ity and busi­ness. She’s an en­tre­pre­neur with a vi­sion of the fu­ture; it’s a fu­ture far be­yond our life­time and she doesn’t like what she sees. By com­bin­ing her busi­ness know-how with her love for the en­vi­ron­ment, she’s de­ter­mined to sal­vage what’s left of it for the gen­er­a­tions to come.

So what drives you right now?

The main drive in this next chap­ter of my life is to give back to so­ci­ety in a sus­tain­able fash­ion. While I am still learn­ing ev­ery day and be­ing in­spired by those around me, my main pas­sion in life right now is the en­vi­ron­ment and women’s em­pow­er­ment. There are a lot of great causes do­ing great things, but sus­tain­abil­ity is al­ways the chal­lenge. Im­pact in­vest­ing and cor­po­rate sus­tain­abil­ity are the ways for­ward, for me per­son­ally. I be­lieve that em­pow­er­ing even one per­son or one com­pany with the knowl­edge that they can make a dif­fer­ence in the world is the start of a great cy­cle of change.

Can you ex­plain a bit more about what im­pact in­vest­ing is?

There is a broad def­i­ni­tion of im­pact in­vest­ing, but to me it is in­vest­ing in sus­tain­able and so­cially re­spon­si­ble com­pa­nies. Be­ing so­cially re­spon­si­ble can be a com­pet­i­tive an­gle for cor­po­ra­tions to­day. A good ex­am­ple is Tom’s, which is a pioneer with its one-for-one model. For ev­ery pair of shoes it sells, one pair gets do­nated to chil­dren who don’t have shoes. In a sense, this is sus­tain­able as a busi­ness be­cause it’s prof­itable, but at the same time the com­pany is able to help the needy. Another ex­am­ple is com­pa­nies who want to op­er­ate with min­i­mal neg­a­tive im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment, like busi­nesses seek­ing to use al­ter­na­tives to plas­tics. Some­times, it’s not so much about the en­vi­ron­ment as much as it is whether or not peo­ple care – es­pe­cially mothers. Do you care more about your chil­dren’s fu­ture or your im­me­di­ate con­ve­nience?

Were these mat­ters on your mind be­fore you had chil­dren?

From a young age, I’ve never been afraid to push the bound­aries or leave my com­fort zone; I guess this was due to my keen­ness in ex­plo­ration and be­ing a bit dif­fer­ent. When I had the op­por­tu­nity to go to Gam­bia for vol­un­teer work, I knew I had to go, but my mom was very against this and told me not to be­cause she was wor­ried about my safety. Like any cu­ri­ous kid, this sparked the re­bel­lious side of me, and the more my mom didn’t want me to go, the more I wanted to.

Be­sides that, I ran an or­phan­age in Gre­nada be­fore and I went to Yun­nan with Teach for China. I think many peo­ple, es­pe­cially in Hong Kong, feel there is a dis­con­nect from these is­sues be­cause we are so lucky and priv­i­leged – some­times we do live in our own bub­ble. But by go­ing to these places, you re­ally get the full pic­ture and ex­pe­ri­ence the sever­ity of the sit­u­a­tion.

If I had only stayed in my com­fort zone, I don’t think I would feel the way I do now. So giv­ing back has al­ways been in­grained in me, but it mag­ni­fied the sec­ond I be­came a mother, be­cause there’s sud­denly some­thing you care about more than your­self.

Are you hop­ing your chil­dren will fol­low in your foot­steps?

Defi nitely. I think es­pe­cially for their gen­er­a­tion, risk-tak­ing and creativ­ity is im­por­tant in do­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent in life – some­thing that could ben­e­fit those around them and their com­mu­nity.

Three years ago, you had your first child. What’s changed the most about you?

A lot of what I am do­ing now is in­spired by my chil­dren; be­ing a mother re­ally changes you. Ev­ery­one can be a bit selfish some­times, but be­ing a mother you have to be con­stantly self­less and see the big­ger pic­ture in­stead of al­ways just liv­ing in the mo­ment. You need to be plan­ning 10 steps ahead, like a chess game, but mean­while you of­ten ques­tion your­self if it’s the right choice or not. I think that was the hard­est part for me when I be­came a mother.

“I be­lieve that em­pow­er­ing even one per­son or one com­pany with the knowl­edge that they can make a dif­fer­ence in the world is the start of a great cy­cle of change” EMILY LAM HO

What’s next for you?

I started a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion called

Eco Drive with a group of friends. Many of the co-founders, like me, are mothers in­spired by their chil­dren and do­ing what’s best for them. Our fo­cus is to en­cour­age those around us to change their be­hav­iour about sin­gleuse plas­tic, one step at a time. Un­like some save-the- earth ini­tia­tives, this one isn’t about sham­ing peo­ple into re­duc­ing their im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment. I fully un­der­stand that this needs to hap­pen grad­u­ally, and it’s about mak­ing small changes here and there. I’m not to­tally guilt-free ei­ther, be­cause if I’m out with my son and we don’t have water and he’s thirsty, I’ll still buy him a bot­tle of water. Plas­tic is not the en­emy – it is about re­duc­ing use and reusing. I un­der­stand with our cur­rent life­styles, there may be lim­i­ta­tions. How­ever, we just do the best we can.

I want to be­lieve that ev­ery­body can make a small change. Right now I’m work­ing on a no-straw cam­paign. I chose to start with elim­i­nat­ing straws be­cause it seems to be the eas­i­est thing for us to give up. This cam­paign has led to all of my father’s [Pe­ter Lam’s] ho­tels and restau­rants con­vert­ing to metal or pa­per straws. We’re also work­ing with sev­eral large cor­po­ra­tions to give them ideas to be­come more eco-friendly and we part­nered with the Plas­tic Oceans Foun­da­tion to se­cure the rights for ed­u­ca­tional screen­ings of the doc­u­men­tary A Plas­tic Ocean. We are also cur­rently devel­op­ing a film with John Alexan­der that looks at the plas­tic prob­lem specif­i­cally in Hong Kong.

How do you feel about the re­cy­cling sit­u­a­tion in Hong Kong?

That’s also some­thing we’re work­ing on.

It’s shock­ing – we met with this com­pany that had a re­cy­cling plant in Hong Kong, but un­for­tu­nately due to lack of re­cy­clable ma­te­ri­als com­ing in, it had to be shut down. They had to end up buy­ing trash from other coun­tries to main­tain the plant. I think there’s a lack of knowl­edge about re­cy­cling here. For ex­am­ple, many peo­ple don’t know that a plas­tic bot­tle can­not be re­cy­cled un­less it’s been cleaned out and the cap re­moved. There’s a lack of in­for­ma­tion – and this is where we can help, too. Be­cause Hong Kong is a rel­a­tively dense place, I feel like it shouldn’t be so dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment an ef­fi­cient way to re­cy­cle.

What’s your ad­vice for those who want to save the planet?

This cause that I’m so pas­sion­ate about may be on a global scale, but it’s im­por­tant to start lo­cal and at home. Oth­er­wise, we don’t feel em­pow­ered, be­cause it can feel like we are sim­ply a speck of dust in the grand scheme of things. It might seem like one per­son us­ing one plas­tic bot­tle is in­signif­i­cant, but if ev­ery­body thought like that, the world would never change. While it is im­por­tant to ed­u­cate the new gen­er­a­tion and teach them how to pre­serve the earth for their own liv­ing, it is equally im­per­a­tive to ed­u­cate the work­ing and el­derly, as their ac­tions dic­tate the fu­ture for those who in­habit it when they’re gone.

“It might seem like one per­son us­ing one plas­tic bot­tle is in­signif­i­cant, but if ev­ery­body thought like that, the world would never change” EMILY LAM HO

Out­fit_ LanvinEar­ring _ APM Monaco Mille Et Une Col­lec­tion

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