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Key Stakeholders Team Up to Tackle Waste at Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2014

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The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) has unveiled details of a pilot programme with key stakeholders behind the 2014 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens to minimize the environmental waste footprint of the famed tournament held each March.

 The programme will be implemented for the 2014 Hong Kong Sevens to trial new ideas and best practices that could potentially be applied to other major events in Hong Kong in future.

The key stakeholders in the coalition include the HKSAR Government represented by the Environment Bureau, Environmental Protection Department and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), co-title sponsors Cathay Pacific and HSBC, as well as the official beer supplier Carlsberg Hong Kong Ltd., Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong and Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hong Kong (the primary caterer for the Sevens). In future the hope is to involve all of the suite holders and patrons in teaming up to tackle waste at the Sevens.

A number of green groups, community partners and recycling companies are also aligned with the project to provide specialist advice and support, including Ocean Recovery Alliance, Feeding Hong Kong, Food Angel and Vanden Global.

Robbie McRobbie, Head of Rugby Operations at the HKRFU commented on the programme saying, “The HKRFU is delighted at the support that we have received from like minded organisations to ensure that the pitch at the Hong Kong Stadium is not the only thing that is green during the Hong Kong Sevens.

“We look forward to working closely with the LCSD and relevant Government bodies to identify areas where we can encourage spectators and suppliers to improve our environmental performance,” added Mr McRobbie.

Ms Christine Loh, Under Secretary for the Environment, said, “The HKSAR Government is delighted to announce this new collaboration amongst the key stakeholders of the Hong Kong Sevens. We are starting a long-term process to turn what is already a wonderful annual sporting event also into an environmentally-conscious event.”

In line with the recently announced HKSAR Government initiative to minimize food and yard refuse in Hong Kong food waste has been targeted as a key priority for 2014. All box and suite holders have been issued a letter from Ms Loh’s office to inform patrons about the importance of more accurate ordering for their corporate hospitality on-event to minimize food waste.

Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hong Kong, which services almost half of the stadium catering over the event weekend, is supporting the initiative with an enhanced focus on three aspects of reducing wastage: foods that can be safely taken back to Holiday Inn (kitchen management), food on the day that can be donated as surplus and food that must for sanitary and hygiene and food safety reasons be discarded.

To improve recycling on the concourse levels, the LCSD has established 18 recyclable collection zones for spectators in-stadium; the zones are supported by enhanced communications materials such as on-site posters and improved labeling of recycling bins.

The HKRFU is squarely onside with the HKSAR Government’s Food Wise Hong Kong Campaign and Big Waster, a character who symbolises food wastage as part of the campaign, is set to enjoy a prominent role on-event at the Hong Kong Sevens.

To help raise awareness in-stadium, the HKRFU has also enlisted a team of environmentally conscious student volunteers from the University of Hong Kong to support Big Waster over the Sevens by helping to inform spectators of where and how their waste items should be separated at source.

Big Waster will also visit other HKRFU and locally organized rugby tournaments in the event week with the green initiatives being carried through to the HK Fanzone and the Hong Kong Sevens Village to encourage greater recycling around what is known as Rugby Week in Hong Kong.

To kick-off the campaign, the HKRFU enlisted the services of veteran player Kwok Ka Chun, a fireman at the Sai Kung station, to star in the poster for the campaign alongside Big Waster.

The HKRFU will also leverage the captive audience of 40,000 daily spectators at the Hong Kong Sevens to raise awareness of environmental issues. Campaign messages on proper recycling and minimising waste will be broadcast to the crowds during the weekend via the stadium announcers and the Diamond Vision Screen at the Hong Kong Stadium. Environmental messaging will also be included in the orientation programme of the HKRFU’s Adopt-A-Student programme which hosts 8,000 local students to the Sevens on the Friday evening of the tournament.

The HKRFU has also launched a variety of internal initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of the Sevens and raise awareness of the issues and the organisations tackling them.

Players from each of the 28 participating teams will be given a Dopper reusable water bottle, which not only gives them an opportunity to make a personal contribution to minimising waste, but also supports environmental action in the community as a percentage of the proceeds from each Dopper purchased by the HKRFU go to support the Hong Kong Cleanup campaign.

The Union are also working with global charity Ocean Recovery Alliance, a member of the larger coalition, to produce a Plastic Disclosure Project document to assist major event organisers in working towards greater environmental sustainability.

Waste is not limited to plastic of course, and as rugby players have a reputation for having very healthy appetites it won’t come as a shock to know that catering for players and volunteers is another area where there is an opportunity for the Sevens to support the work of local NGOs.

Feeding Hong Kong are dedicated to fighting hunger and at the same time reducing the amount of quality food that is being sent to the city’s landfills. The Union and Castello Concepts, the caterers for the Players’ and Staff Canteens, will work with Feeding Hong Kong to make sure that any surplus nutritious food finds its way to their network of partner charities that are providing meals to the hungry in the community.

See other recent news regarding: Interviews, Pictures, Videos, HKRFU, Rugby, Hong Kong, Sevens, Cathay Pacific, HSBC, Hong Kong Sevens

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