HSBC Insurance helps travellers offset their pollution

The majority of Hong Kong people who travelled overseas in the past year took no action to address the negative impact of their trip. HSBC aims to change that.
Don't know how to buy carbon credits to offset your jetting around the region? You're not alone. But HSBC is offering an insurance policy plan that won't break your bank and may help cut pollution in Hong Kong.

In a recent HSBC Insurance survey on green travel, 80% of Hong Kong travellers said they did not do anything to offset the carbon dioxide emissions resulting from their travel activities; even as 90% believed that carbon dioxide emissions are harmful to the environment.

When asked about the reasons why they did not do anything, close to half (47%) said they were not aware of any carbon dioxide emissions-offsetting programmes or schemes; 24% did not care about offsetting; 16% did not know that travelling caused damage to the environment; and 13% could not afford the extra amount to pay for environmentally friendly products and services.

On average, the more than 500 respondents in the survey conducted by The University of Hong KongÆs Public Opinion Programme travelled 3.6 times during the past 12 months.

When asked about future plans to offset carbon dioxide emissions from travel, more than half (54%) said that they had no such plans, compared to 32% who answered in the affirmative.

ôIt appears that the concept of green travel has not caught on among the majority of Hong Kong people who travel,ö says Jason Sadler, managing director for HSBC InsuranceÆs Hong Kong business. ôIt is alarming, especially as environmental protection and air quality have become priority concerns for the Hong Kong community. However, the survey also shows that a big part of this apathy is due to factors such as lack of awareness about their choices and high costs of going green."

Of those who said they were willing to pay more for environmentally friendly travel products or services, the average amount that respondents would pay is HK$167 for every HK$1,000 spent on a single trip.

Not surprisingly, given HSBC was connected to the survey, it has a solution that uses Hong Kong technology and benefits the city û its LetÆs Travel Green donation programme.

In this plan, 1% of the insurance premiums paid by customers who buy or renew single or multi-trip travel insurance policies from HSBC from now until June 2010, will be automatically donated to fund the use of æeco-blocksÆ in the buildings and pavements of 10 non-profit organisations in Hong Kong.

HSBC Insurance says it will donate about HK$2 million on behalf of customers to this project. The æeco-blockÆ is a material invented by a team of researchers led by professor Poon Chi-sun of The Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityÆs Department of Civil and Structural Engineering and its Research Centre for Environmental Technology and Management.

Made from recycled glass and ash with a coating of titanium dioxide, the æeco-blockÆ has pollutant-busting properties that break down certain harmful chemicals in the air. Used as a paving andpartitioning material for buildings, streets and pavements, the æeco-blockÆ contributes to improved air quality by removing air pollutants emitted by cars, trains, airplanes and other vehicles.
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