Using Food Waste to Feed the Highest Urban Farm in Hong Kong

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With sustainability becoming a priority for businesses across the world, DBS Bank is taking it upon itself to help solve one of the biggest environmental challenges: carbon footprint management. The Bank has recently launched a new initiative to build an urban farm in making a real difference.

Partnering with Taikoo Place and Rooftop Republic, a local social enterprise supported by DBS Foundation, DBS Bank is making a concerted effort to raise awareness on food sustainability by turning the rooftop of One Island East into an urban farm. As food waste accounts for 30 percent of Hong Kong’s municipal solid waste, this partnership will launch a revamped food waste collection process by the end of this year to convert the leftovers collected from the bank’s office into compost to nourish crops being grown at The Loop at One Island East, Hong Kong’s highest urban farm. This initiative will help contribute to DBS’ target of achieving net zero operational carbon emissions across the bank by 2022.

A Fruitful Partnership with Taikoo Place and Rooftop Republic

Sitting at 300m above ground, the rooftop was originally for building maintenance only. Taikoo Place had gone through research and feasibility studies to review the site condition, sunlight consideration and operation model before turning it into an urban farm. In addition, Rooftop Republic was able to provide their professional knowledge and services throughout the process. Teamwork is key to the success of the farm creation.

The farm has 50 planters that grow more than 30 types of organic seasonal crops, such as sweet potato leaf, basil, corn, okra and mixed herbs. At the first harvest in September, 24 kilograms of fresh greens were donated to local food bank Feeding Hong Kong. Turning food waste into compost to grow fresh produce in an urban farm not only helps to close the loop on food waste, but also supports the underprivileged for the wider community. 

Being purpose driven is at the core of DBS

According to DBS Bank, this initiative is all part of its broader goal of becoming a bank that champions sustainability. “Our approach to sustainability is guided by a sense of purpose.” Amy Wu, Executive Director and Head of Group Strategic Marketing & Communications at DBS Bank (Hong Kong) told Green Queen Media. “Our vision is to be the best bank for a better world, guided by our three pillars of sustainability—responsible banking, responsible business practices and creating social impact.”

Aside from managing carbon footprint, this initiative has also been a valuable team-building tool for the bank’s workforce. By participating in the urban farming project, DBS employees have been able to spend more time reconnecting with nature, learning more about sustainability and the footprint of food, ultimately bringing the team closer together through a positive joint venture.

Towards Zero Food Waste

Food waste is one of the largest contributors to climate change. Globally, food waste accounts for 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions and in Hong Kong, about 3,300 tonnes of food waste goes to the landfill each day.

With the unprecedented impact of the pandemic upending nearly every aspect of daily life, including the food supply chain, there is growing concern that more food will be wasted than ever before. Outside of tending to the rooftop farm, DBS Bank also sponsors a refrigerated van operated by the Foodlink Foundation to travel across the city to collect surplus food—more than 74 tonnes worth—from F&B businesses to be redistributed to underprivileged communities in Hong Kong.

DBS Bank also partners with GreenPrice Supermarket, a social enterprise retailing surplus and short-dated food, by encouraging its credit cardholders to join the movement with special offers. Ultimately, these initiatives can enable all stakeholders including employees, customers and the community to take positive action towards a sustainable future.

All images courtesy of DBS and Swire Properties. Lead photo: Amy Wu, Executive Director and Head of Group Strategic Marketing & Communications at DBS Bank (R) Priscilla Li, General Manager of Taikoo Place, Swire Properties (L).

This is a Green Queen Media partner post.


  • Sally Ho

    Sally Ho is Green Queen's former resident writer and lead reporter. Passionate about the environment, social issues and health, she is always looking into the latest climate stories in Hong Kong and beyond. A long-time vegan, she also hopes to promote healthy and plant-based lifestyle choices in Asia. Sally has a background in Politics and International Relations from her studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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