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Idling Engine’s Fouling Hong Kong

On other matters …

Updated on Sep 11, 2008 – SCMP

On the afternoon of September 3, commuters exiting Mong Kok MTR station’s B2 exit were greeted by blasts of hot and polluted air courtesy of the mobile showroom manned by American International Assurance (AIA) and JF Asset Management.

In case your readers have forgotten, in 2006 these companies launched Hong Kong’s first “socially responsible” MPF fund named the Green Fund (“Green fund widens MPF choice”, April 2, 2006). Companies are chosen for their financial performance as well as their “environmental credentials”, as classified by Innovest Strategic Advisers, an independent ratings agency.

These are fine words, but the level of sincerity to environmental protection is obviously nil when the promotion of the AIA-JF funds is carried out via a vehicle whose idling engine is fouling one of Hong Kong’s most congested and polluted streets.

AIA-JF is not alone. I have also seen PCCW, Sony Ericsson and Standard Chartered Bank use similar modified showroom vehicles. These companies have also pledged their commitment to be socially responsible corporate entities. What is more, except for PCCW, such promotions would not be tolerated in the perpetrators’ home countries.

One also has to question the ethics of the management of these companies that encourage young and impressionable staff members to ignore the health risks these promotions pose.

In view of the high levels of congestion on our streets and the ever-declining quality of our air, when can we expect the secretaries for transport and the environment to take action?

In the meantime, concerned citizens can do their bit by lodging a complaint with the authorities every time they spot one of these polluters in their neighbourhood.

Mary Melville, Tsim Sha Tsui

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