Seizing on sustainable development transformation opportunities
Lawrence Chia
Chairman, Pico Group

A survey at this year’s Asian Financial Forum found that over 76% of respondents planned to increase ESG investment over the next five years. Other market research estimates that Asia will need US$66 trillion in climate investment over the next 30 years. As the world moves toward a low-carbon economy, companies need to seize the chance to discover the huge business opportunities and highlight sustainable development in their marketing campaigns. 

Global events are focusing on carbon reduction, the 2024 Paris Olympics being the most notable example with its aim to become ‘the greenest Olympic Games’ in history. Around 95% of its competition venues will be existing buildings, significantly reducing the carbon generated by new construction. One of the few new developments will be the Olympic Village, which is designed to be in harmony with nature, promote biodiversity and achieve carbon neutrality. After the Olympics, it will be transformed into an ecologically friendly residential and commercial area. Other environmental measures include using clean energy vehicles to transport the Olympic teams and offering low-carbon menus. 

Another example is the UN Climate Change Conference (COP), where world leaders gather to showcase sustainable development achievements. At the most recent edition, Pico activated the COP27 Singapore Pavilion with a high proportion of low-carbon building materials: the facades were made of 100% recycled and reusable materials, and the eco-friendly paper furniture inside could be folded into different shapes to suit different space layouts. The team also created a virtual pavilion to reduce visitors’ carbon footprint and provide an immersive experience for online audiences. 

Major companies in Hong Kong are also focusing on sustainable development. For example, Watsons launched a ‘Low Carbon Garden’ game on its app. Members can earn ‘power’ to plant virtual trees by completing daily low-carbon tasks. After unlocking 12 trees, they can exchange ‘power’ for eco-friendly products or virtual merchandise co-branded by Watsons and celebrities. Watsons uses celebrity and virtual and gamified elements to promote environmental protection, and in doing so, have built a positive brand image which encourages consumers to purchase their products. 

With the sustainable economy imminent, all industries must balance environmental protection and economic development in a mutually beneficial way that will bring long-term benefits to their brand image and marketing effectiveness.

The full article was originally published in Headline Finance on 24 July 2023 (in Chinese only).

Source: Headline Finance (webpage version), 24 July 2023