All In, Sin City

All In, Sin City

22 July, 2014
Greening Up Macau
Asia's casino hub is greening up its act
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When it comes to environmental preservation in Macau, the odds are stacked against Asia’s vice city. But the casino metropolis, aiming to become an outstanding world tourism and leisure centre, is realizing it must also set the bar high on its environmental standards. The Macau SAR government is nudging its tourism and construction industries to collaborate and implement greener approaches, paving a road toward environmental recovery.
 
Macau’s economy, spurred by the growth of casino resorts and construction projects, has taken a sizable chunk out of its environmental quality. Light pollution from neon signs in casinos and commercial centres is at an all-time high, and is only expected to worsen with the rise of new developments.
Adding to its light pollution problem is the deteriorating air quality brought over from mass traffic and nearby mainland China. The construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, which is expected to be completed by 2016, could dramatically increase air pollution from the large flow of traffic.
 
According to Macau SAR Chief Executive Chui Sai On, Macau has set a goal to “increase the overall [environmental] capacity and promote sustainable development.” Currently, the government has an Environmental Protection and Energy Conservation Fund in place to provide subsidies to local businesses investing in energy efficient products. Suppliers of eco-conscious goods can now fuel the demand from the tourism and casino sectors, two of Macau’s largest industries.
 
Macau’s hospitality sector has seen an upsurge of sustainable buying and investing in energy efficiency.  The MGM Macau, for example, has added hybrid vehicles to its limousine fleet and has replaced its shuttle busses with lower carbon emission vehicles.
 
Just last year, the Conrad Macau won two sustainability awards for eco-friendly practices, including Asia’s Leading Green Hotel 2013 by World Travel Awards and Best Green Hotel by Travel+ magazine’s 2013 China Travel Awards. The hotel chain earned its prestige by converting all lighting to LED, installing water flow controllers, and recycling items from uniforms to soaps. With nearly 30 million liters of water conserved in one year, savings were astronomical.
 
Perhaps Macau’s government’s strongest push for environmental growth has been initiated through The Macau International Environmental Co-Operation Forum & Exhibition (MIECF). On its seventh year, this event encouraged global environmental stakeholders to publicize environmental policy changes and cultivated collaboration among industries toward energy efficiency.
 
This past year’s event, themed “Energising Green Business Growth,” discussed opportunities for Macau in energy efficiency, green building, renewable energies, green mobility, environmental services, and waste and water treatment solutions. It also urged the Pan-Pearl River Delta Region (i.e., Hunan, Fujian, Jianxi, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Hainan, Hong Kong and Macau) to band together in developing sustainable avenues for the future.
 
Crucial to the MIECF was Green Matching, a business platform allowing companies in Macau to connect with green product suppliers. This past year saw over 350 sessions secured, many of which were large hotel chains. From state-of-the-art gas filters to energy-saving urinals, the items featured indicate a positive shift toward green growth across Macau’s major industries.

By: Kristen Tadrous
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