SDG 12| Responsible Consumption and Production

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

CUHK cares about the harmony of people and nature, and hopes to minimize the negative impacts of humans on the environment.  CUHK encourages our staff and students to use natural resources frugally and minimize waste generation.  We have established policies on waste disposal and ethical sourcing, and taken action to reduce plastic use and food waste disposal.  Through education outreach activities, we seek to raise public awareness of the importance of sustainable consumption and production.

Curriculum

37 related courses were offered in the 2021–22 academic year.

Policies

CUHK is committed to putting in place effective waste management processes that go beyond Hong Kong’s legislative and regulatory requirements.  Its Waste Management Policy and Waste Management Guidelines emphasize the importance of implementing procedures to prevent immediate and future pollution and harm to health, and achieve continual improvement in waste management performance.

CUHK’s Sustainable Procurement Policy and Sustainable Procurement Guidelines commit the University to purchasing products and services that have a minimal or zero negative effect on the environment and human health (e.g., paper made of wood pulp from forests managed in ways that minimize ecological damage).

Minimising plastics use

The University launched a ‘Plastic-free Campus’ campaign in 2018 to encourage CUHK students, staff and caterers to work together to go ‘plastic-free’ and build a sustainable campus by discontinuing the use of plastic disposables.  To expand the reach of this campus-wide campaign, CUHK discontinued the sale or supply of plastic bottled water and the use of polyfoam containers in all catering outlets and at events on campus from 1 January 2021.

Minimising food waste

Food production is a huge contributor to carbon emissions.  Greenhouse gases are generated at every step before food reaches our plates.  On the CUHK campus in Sha Tin, more than 30 canteens provide daily catering services for about 30,000 students and staff.  To curb food waste generation on campus, CUHK has introduced a pioneering food waste pre-treatment system, ‘Food TranSmarter’, which turns food waste into slurry for biogas production in the Tai Po Sewage Treatment Works.  In 2021, this system generated around 20,100 kWh of renewable electricity and reduced carbon emissions by 40.2 tonnes.

A campaign called ‘Love Food, Hate Waste @CUHK’ was also launched to educate CUHK members on the urgency of food resource conservation and wastage prevention.  Its activities include appointing ambassadors, promoting waste reduction in canteens, and setting up recycling facilities for caterers.

Minimising waste production

Hong Kong’s waste problem is serious.  An average of 1.44 kg/person/day of municipal solid waste was sent to the landfills in 2020 for disposal, according to the Environmental Protection Department.  In June 2021, the SDG forum ‘What a Waste! Rethinking Responsible Consumption and Production’ was co-organized by the Office of University General Education and the Hong Kong Chapter of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network to promote responsible consumption behaviour by highlighting the threat posed by overconsumption and the failure to dispose of local waste in a responsible and sustainable manner.  Speakers shared their views on promoting sustainability through education and operating a recycling business.

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