Chinachem Lai Chi Wo Story Room Opens Today Preserving Hong Kong’s Intangible Cultural Heritage
Despite being one of the world’s most densely populated cities, Hong Kong is also famed for its historic rural villages. Hing Chun Alliance, a total of seven Hakka villages in the Northeast New Territories, namely Lai Chi Wo, So Lo Pun, Mui Tsz Lam, Kop Tong, Siu Tan, Ngau Shi Wu and Sam A, are among the most prominent. To empower these local communities to conserve and promote their intangible cultural heritage, and contribute towards their revitalisation, the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark has launched a project named “Same Roots, Same Origins”. As part of this project, Chinachem Group is now taking a further initiative to help preserve this important part of Hong Kong’s cultural heritage by collaborating with the Government’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the Lions Nature Education Foundation (LNEF) and Lai Chi Wo Pui Shing Tong to open a story room highlighting the customs of Hing Chun Alliance. At the opening ceremony of the Chinachem Lai Chi Wo Story Room today, the Secretary for the Environment, Mr. Wong Kam-sing said: “The Geopark requires concerted support, innovation and creativity from the Government, local communities and different stakeholders to excel. We look forward to continued close exchange and collaboration among the Government, geopark stakeholders and other partners to conserve the heritage, culture and environment of geopark communities, and to promote their sustainable development.” Chinachem Group's Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Donald Choi explained that “guided by our Triple Bottom Line of People, Prosperity and Planet, we exist to benefit the communities we serve. We strive to create ‘Places with Heart’ and are pleased to play a role in safeguarding this key part of Hong Kong’s culture. We want to help people understand the social and cultural fabric of Hakka villages and drive social and economic benefits for the community at the same time.” LNEF’s Chairperson, Cherry Tam commented at the ceremony that the Foundation had been established with an aim to promote nature education and rural conservation. By rediscovering the stories of the Geopark’s communities, they could give visitors a unique opportunity to learn more about their intangible cultural heritage. Lai Chi Wo Village Representative Tsang Wai-yip concurred, saying he hoped the story room could enable visitors to experience the Hakka culture of the Hing Chun Alliance and the villagers’ modest but colourful lives in the past. The Chinachem-funded Story Room focuses on four themes of Hakka village life, namely daily lives, wedding rituals, traditional medicine, and Hakka folk songs. By taking visitors back to the glorious days of the past, it helps promote the culture of Hing Chun Alliance to younger generations. Lai Chi Wo, where the Story Room is located, is one of Hong Kong’s oldest, largest and best-preserved rural settlements. Flanked by lush fung shui woods and mangrove forests, this once thriving and affluent Hakka village was built more than three centuries ago and was home to over 1,000 residents until the 1960s. It has more than 200 picturesque houses, laid out in precise horizontal and longitudinal rows according to geomancy rules, and protected by rustic walls. The Lai Chi Wo Rural Cultural Landscape has been awarded the inaugural Special Recognition for Sustainable Development in the 2020 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. Mr. Wong Kam-sing, the Secretary for the Environment (centre), Dr. Leung Siu-fai, the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation (2nd from left), Donald Choi, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Chinachem Group (2nd from right), LNEF’s Chairperson, Cherry Tam (left) and Lai Chi Wo Village Representative Tsang Wai-yip (right) unveil a plaque at Lai Chi Wo Story Room.
HSBC And Chinachem Group Sign Bilateral Sustainability-linked Loan of HKD1 Billion
HSBC and Chinachem Group (the “Group” or “Chinachem”) announced today the arrangement of a three-year sustainability-linked loan facility of HKD1 billion to support the Group’s general working capital and capital expenditure in accordance with its sustainability objectives. The transaction reinforces the ongoing commitment of both corporations in promoting green developments in Hong Kong’s real estate sector. As the sole lender and sustainability structuring bank, HSBC has innovatively structured the facility to meet the specific operation needs of Chinachem and incentivise the Group to fulfil a set of sustainability metrics, including reduction in energy consumption and water consumption in both its hotels and properties under management. Recognising sustainability as one of its core values, Chinachem has been developing environmentally friendly properties and advocating green practices throughout its operations. In support of sustainable development, the Group has built green properties and promoted green construction technologies, implemented energy- saving measures throughout its buildings, as well as organised community activities to foster environmental awareness. Frank Fang, Head of Commercial Banking, Hong Kong, HSBC, said: “Sustainability is an increasingly critical business agenda across different sectors. We are delighted to arrange the first sustainability-linked loan for Chinachem Group, extending our long- term relationship to support their dedication to contributing to the low-carbon economy. As a leading bank in the sustainable finance market, HSBC will leverage our expertise and comprehensive solutions to help clients navigate the net-zero transition.” Donald Choi, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Chinachem Group, said: “As a developer of ‘Places with Heart’, we strive to create vibrant, liveable, sustainable and socially inclusive communities, guided by our Triple Bottom Line of People, Prosperity and Planet. With this first sustainability-linked loan, we aim to promote and support environmentally and socially sustainable projects and minimise our carbon footprint. We look forward to working together with other like-minded partners to help Hong Kong transition to a brighter, zero-carbon future.” HSBC has been embedding sustainability into its products and services, including access to capital markets, lending, transaction banking, advisory services and investments. In addition to participating in Chinachem’s first green development club loan for its project in Ho Man Tin, HSBC has also arranged and taken part in numerous sustainable financing solutions tailored for companies of different sectors and sizes. In June 2021, Chinachem launched its Green Finance Framework to demonstrate how the Group intends to enter into Green Financing Transactions to fund projects that will deliver environmental benefits. To explore further opportunities to contribute to sustainable development, the Group is also formulating a Sustainability Development Framework that works towards realising the United Nations’ 17 wide-ranging Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, which epitomises the balance between financial return and community responsibility. As part of these sustainability efforts and to respond to increasing customer demand for sustainable and responsible business practices, Chinachem has committed to meeting a series of Science-Based Targets (SBT) to support the long-term viability of its businesses and create enduring value for sustainable development. A review of the SBT in 2021 led to the “Chinachem Group Carbon Reduction Roadmap – CCG 3050+” with a new, more aggressive carbon reduction target to cut the Group’s carbon emissions by 51.8% in 2030 as compared with the base year of 2020.
Chinachem Group Committed to Sustainability and Building a More Liveable City
Tonkin Street Redevelopment Set to Become Hong Kong’s First Private Project to Adopt Modular Integrated Construction (MiC)
Chinachem Group (the Group) has been steadfast in the development and application of property technology (PropTech) and strives to make Hong Kong a more liveable city. Its first joint residential development with the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) – Tonkin Street Redevelopment Project (the Project) located at the heart of West Kowloon – will become Hong Kong’s first private residential project by private developers to adopt concrete Modular Integrated Construction (MiC). Seeking to bring positive impact to society that puts equal footing to People, Prosperity and the Planet, the Group combines PropTech with humanistic design that fosters the community environment. Donald Choi, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Chinachem Group, said, “With our commitment to sustainability and carbon reduction, we have set high green building standards. We build homes that accentuate quality and comfort to meet residential needs while creating positive value for society and the environment. The application of MiC will cut down on on-site construction processes and thus the waste generated during construction. We expect a 68% cut on construction waste, a 75% reduction in noise pollution and a reduction in carbon emissions, thereby reducing the nuisance caused to the neighbouring communities. It is noteworthy that the Tonkin Street Redevelopment will be the first private residential project using MiC that features a terrace. It will also make extensive use of PropTech to improve work quality and efficiency.” Gilbert Tsang, Executive Director of Gammon Construction Limited, said, “Gammon has been joining hands with our partners in promoting sustainable development where MiC plays an integral part. MiC has most processes completed off-site in a factory environment which is safer and more controlled than the traditional construction site. It enables more efficient quality control for the engineering and commissioning teams, resulting in higher-quality buildings. Despite the shortage of construction workers, MiC helps to ensure construction progress as it requires about 70% less on on-site manpower. To facilitate the construction process, Gammon’s digital supply chain monitoring solution, STAMP, will be deployed with data log devices to monitor the delivery and installation of prefabricated components.” Bryant Lu, Vice Chairman of Ronald Lu & Partners (RLP) who is responsible for the project design, said, “We are thrilled that Chinachem Group shares our human-centric, sustainability-based design ethos. As one of our fully digitalised projects, using BIM360 and MiC from design through to build created a high level of accuracy and efficiency, saving a full year of design time. It is also the first MiC project in Hong Kong’s private sector to be designed with biophilic façade and removable non-structural walls built into the modules, allowing residents to personalise their own living space. The cross ventilation built into each unit brings fresh air into homes and encourage a healthy, low-carbon lifestyle.” Adhering to its People-centric philosophy, Chinachem Group attaches much importance to and caters for the housing needs of the public on its pursuit of sustainable development. Recognising the basic needs of users for living space, the Group has been standing firm to not build “nano flats”. It also empathises with the public’s increased concern about hygiene post-pandemic, ensuring proper ventilation in the apartment design and that all toilets fitted with windows. It seeks to meet the housing needs of the public while balancing the development of People, Prosperity and the Planet. Tonkin Street Redevelopment Project is located at the heart of West Kowloon and within minutes of walking distance from MTR station. Covering a site area of about 1,070 square metres, it has a three-sided frontage and the development will enjoy open views with natural lighting. Upon completion, it will provide a maximum total gross floor area of about 9,670 square metres.