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Urban greening gets recharged
Luisa Tam
update on Saturday, April 30, 2011

When someone says "I do", it usually means a serious commitment to doing whatever it takes with no compromise. So when EPS Company (Hong Kong), a local market leader in electronic payment services, launched its "iDO Hong Kong Urban Tree Planting Campaign" in 2008, it meant serious business.

"The creative urban greening campaign shows our initiative and commitment to making Hong Kong a greener and better city as we understand that it is important to combine individual efforts in order to make real changes to society, especially in building a greener environment for our city," says Raymond So, the company's general manager.

"Through our green initiatives, we aim to promote a different mode of spending. Instead of the typical way of consumption which is driven by personal interests, EPS extends the joy of shopping beyond oneself to benefit the entire community."

EPS Company, established in 1984, is a consortium of 21 major banks in Hong Kong. It provides electronic fund transfers and payment services for customers and merchants through its extensive city-wide payment network. More than 300,000 transactions worth HK$500 million are processed daily. The urban greening campaign received popular support from customers through a mechanism by which EPS donates HK$1 for every 10 accumulated transactions. In view of this, EPS relaunched the project last year to raise more funds.

Since the launch three years ago, the campaign has raised more than HK$7.5 million. The company partnered with an environmental group, Green Power, and planted some 2,600 trees around Hong Kong.

With the relaunch, EPS aims to raise the total donation to HK$10 million by the end of the year to help plant more trees around the city. So far, it has planted trees throughout Hong Kong, from Tai Kok Tsui to Tuen Mun EcoPark.

Apart from the inventive iDO programme, So says the company has a little "secret" to share with Hong Kong people.

It has built the EPS iDO Secret Garden - themed in red and white - in the city centre of Tsim Sha Tsui, so that residents can enjoy the tranquility of an urban public open space.

"By taking the lead to create a 'Secret Garden', we hope to make Hong Kong people understand that as long as they have enthusiasm and passion, they too can create their very own gardens - even in a busy urban setting like Hong Kong," So explains.

The "Secret Garden" is located at iSquare mall in Tsim Sha Tsui to promote indoor planting among shoppers.

"We hope that the idea can inspire people to build more green personal space, creating a piece of the secret garden for themselves," So adds.

Ellen Law, head of sales and marketing, encourages her team to spread the green message to all EPS retail outlets. She says it was difficult to create a training module for her team in the beginning but it was a unique and worthwhile experience to be part of such a meaningful campaign.

"Once they understood the basic concept and meaning behind it, it all became easy," Law says.

"We have encountered many obstacles but it feels great when you get positive feedback. On one occasion, I was walking through a shopping mall and saw many people using EPS as a way of payment and collecting EPS receipts to redeem EPS-seed-flowerpots for indoor greening. It gave me such a sense of accomplishment," she adds.

Why green is in

  • Community gardens, which bring vegetation diversity to public open spaces, are a useful tool for urban improvement
  • Urban green spaces reduce air temperatures, improve air quality and lower noise levels
  • Urban green spaces can boost economic benefits and help improve people's quality of life

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