Impact Report 2018:
A Look Back
Impact Report 2018:
A Look Back
Protect Our Country Park
Climate & Energy
During her voyage here, we welcome more than 6,300 visitors on deck for six open days in Central and encourage everyone to ditch single-use plastics. In March 2019, after more than 12 months of hard work, “Microplastics & Large Plastic Debris in Hong Kong Waters" the report of one of its kind of comprehensive plastic research in our waters is released.
After a strategic and strong campaign fought by Greenpeace and local NGO partners, Taiwan adopts a roadmap to phase out four disposable plastic items – straws, bags, food containers and utensils – in stages by 2030. Meanwhile, we get scientific with beach surveys. Using a system called rapid assessment, Greenpeace and local NGO Society of Wilderness team up to survey the entire 1,210 km coastline of Taiwan's main island in just two weeks. This method helps us figure out hotspots of plastic pollution and estimate the kind and amount of debris – vital information for stopping the problem at source. We plan to do four of these assessments a year, and we've just finished the second one!
Hong Kong opens public consultation on 18 land supply options to solve the housing problem, including developing 'the periphery' of country parks. We know this is coming so we have teamed up with local groups to organize a Country Park Forum, readying for the coming battle. We encourage the public to sign our petition, use outreach, media and other events to explain that there is more than enough land – 700 plus hectares – in brownfield sites to build housing. Together with academics, researchers, former officials, and concern groups, we want the public and the city to be clear about our options and make the right decision.
After a monthslong hard-hitting campaign packed with people power, Samsung caves and says it will commit to 100% renewable energy in the US, China and Europe by 2020. That campaign was awesome because it reached right around the world. Activists from London, New York, Taipei and Berlin told Samsung to stop 'sponsoring' climate change with giant banners, social media and viral videos. More than 50,000 people signed our global petition. This is massive news because Samsung uses a lot of energy and they are an industry leader. We are already witnessing a domino effect with big companies in Korea making similar commitments. Don't worry, we are keeping a close eye to make sure they keep their promises!
A group of the biggest krill fishing companies agrees to stop working in huge areas around the Antarctic Peninsula. The tiny krill is a key food for Antarctic wildlife so this is amazing news! Just a week later, four "vulnerable marine ecosystems", a wonderland of biodiversity, identified in a Greenpeace expedition involving submarine explorations are approved for protection by a group of international scientists! Despite the support of 2.7 million people, China, Norway and Russia blocked plans for an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary at an international meeting. But this isn't over – our next goal is to protect at least 30% of the world's oceans by 2030 with an ambitious United Nations global oceans treaty. Let's do it!
Greenpeace escorts 30 low-income families on a hiking trip up Hong Kong's Tai Mo Shan. From the top, we show them the huge area of brownfield sites that are available for building affordable housing for local people. In addition to the traditional elements - investigations, lobbying, protests and securing public support, we invite the grassroots, people who are directly affected by land shortages, to see for themselves the land options; our Save Our Country Parks campaign is not simply saving the countryside in Hong Kong, it is to make a liveable city for ALL.
We premiere our captivating Rang-tan animation voiced by British actor Emma Thompson in which a cheeky baby orangutan sneaks into a little girl's bedroom to tell her how the bulldozers are tearing up her forest simply to make everyday products like shampoo. Together with artists around the world creating 20 giant murals of birds in our Wings of Paradise street art exhibition, we are grabbing the attention of people who aren't aware of Dirty Palm Oil. Despite promising not to buy palm oil from rainforest destroyers, the world's biggest brands are still doing it. Palm oil can be planted sustainably so there's no need to decimate precious rainforest. We're going to stop it, with a little help from you, Rang-tan and Ms. Thompson along the way!
Corporations need to take up social responsibility. That's why Greenpeace gatecrash the shareholder meetings of Cafe de Coral and Fairwood in September, urging the two local fast food giants to phase out single-use plastic items. Our study found that two of the biggest local fast-food chains hand out a staggering 150 million single-use plastic items every year. We ask the public if they agree these chains should stop the plastic nightmare and 90 percent say yes. At Christmas, we kick off some Santa Claus actions to urge the restaurants to offer a discount to customers who bring their own utensils. Let's make fast food plastic-free now.
Greenpeace releases a haunting music video of the remake of the 1990s cantopop hit "Swallowtail Butterfly" that really resonates with local Hongkongers. The lyrics, sung by a young choir, ask "Is this what paradise looks like?", questioning the sense of digging up the beautiful country parks to replace them with a concrete landscape. We shot the video in a number of beautiful country parks. The MV gets millions of views and drives our Save Our Country Parks campaign among the general population. We are building strong support with more than 53,000 people signing our petition.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns we have 12 years left to save the world: to keep that temperature rise below 1.5°C we must halve global CO2 emissions by 2030 and zero them by 2050 at the latest. In Seoul, we place an ice sculpture of a mother with her boy. As it melts in the sun, passersby are reminded that climate change is melting away our future. Although the year-end United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) disappoints with no promising response to act upon IPCC's report, we see #ReasonsForHope from cities going low-carbon, to countries phasing out coal and to communities seeking climate justice. The world is changing. And with Greenpeace, you are part of that change.
Following a fierce seven-month campaign by Greenpeace with local NGO partners, Taiwan announces it will shelve plans to build a new coal power plant at Shenao. Leading up to that critical victory, protests, meetings, petition signings, bridge climbing, banner unfurling and press conferences were held thick and fast. We also teamed up with local academics to research and publish a report showing that the proposed plant would lead to hundreds of deaths from air pollution among nearby residents. The government has committed to an ambitious energy transition goal – 20 percent must come from renewables by 2025. It's our job to ensure they do that by pursuing rich wind, solar and geothermal options as well as improving grid flexibility.
Greenpeace publishes a report that shows 17 million pieces of waste plastic are washed into the sea every year in Hong Kong's Shing Mun River. We use that result to debunk the myth that all plastic waste is buried in landfills and call for an immediate rethink on how we use plastic. We used time-lapse camera footage and onsite investigations to make our shocking estimates and stress this is all going towards plastic pollution in our oceans where it maims marine wildlife and comes back to us as microplastics in the bellies of fish. As well as individuals acting more responsibly, we argue an immediate and easy solution would be to curb the use of single-use plastics in fast food chains. It's time to go plastic-free NOW!
Greenpeace releases a report that shows if Hong Kong gets creative about solar power it can so easily provide a big contribution to the energy mix. We teamed up with Hong Kong Baptist University to prove that if just half of the rooftops of 19 schools installed photovoltaic panels on their roofs it could service the electricity needs of 750 three-person households. Hong Kong is small but we have an outsized carbon footprint and it is our responsibility as a wealthy and advanced region to lead the way. We need to cut 80% of our carbon emissions by 2030 through kickstarting our renewable energy generation plus massively improving energy efficiency. That can be supported by a soundly implemented feed-in tariff system!
Greenpeace escorts a group of young children to the offices of Café de Coral in Hong Kong to hand over paintings they had drawn to ask the restaurant chain to quit single-use plastics. In December, we publish a ranking to see how the chains are doing and find our campaigning has paid off: some register a slight improvement such as Café de Coral and McDonald's halt handing out plastic straws unless requested and Fairwood switched to paper straws. We have lots planned for this year as well, including using people power to encourage small outlets to ditch disposables and getting the government to commit to a firm and ambitious timeline to ban single-use plastics, riding on official plans for a waste charging scheme.
Taipei City holds its annual marathon but this time with plastic-free initiatives such as ditching bottled water, offering reusable cups, and reducing waste by offering options to runners to forgo printed matter such as booklets and certificates. It's estimated that 30,000 bottles and 50,000 cups are saved! This happened because we lobbied the city's mayor until he signed a deal with us to make the event low-plastic. We hope this will be the model for all marathons in Taiwan from now on—New Taipei and Kaohsiung cities are already on board with plastic-reduction. We also work with runners groups and set up Green Miles, a Facebook group to encourage marathon runners to go that extra mile for the planet!
The world's largest palm oil trader, Wilmar, announces it will map and monitor all its suppliers to ensure it stops supporting forest destruction. It's a concrete plan with a timeline that would mean 'zero deforestation' by end 2019. We will be keeping a very close eye and lobbying the firm to ensure it keeps its word, and other traders will be under pressure to do the same! Here's a small fraction of what we did in our campaign: we arranged for street artists to paint giant murals in 20 cities around the world, we lobbied one of their biggest customers – the makers of Oreo biscuits, activists occupied one of Wilmar's palm oil refineries, and we intercepted a Wilmar tanker. Twice! It's all thanks to you and another 1.3 million people who joined our campaign!
Hong Kong's Task Force on Land Supply publishes their report following consultation and a killer Greenpeace campaign when we collected 53,000 signatures (that's you!) and some powerful media coverage. Country parks are not shortlisted – which is great news for all of us, and it also shows support for using brownfield sites – which we fought for as areas of priority development. However, the area of usable brownfield sites was played down, and a proposal for a massive land reclamation off Lantau Island that threatens marine wildlife and is definitely not an efficient and economical way to solve housing issues. Never fear, we are continuing with our headlining campaign this year. Stay tuned!