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Urban Oasis: From Food Waste to Food Gain


• Taikoo Place has partnered up with DBS Bank and Rooftop Republic to create Hong Kong’s highest urban farm, The Loop at One Island East.
• General Manager of Taikoo Place, Swire Properties, Priscilla Li, and Executive Director and Head of Group Strategic Marketing & Communications at DBS Bank (Hong Kong), Amy Wu, talk about the creation and impact of this initiative.


Did you know that more than 3,300 tonnes of food are wasted daily in Hong Kong? To promote food sustainability, Taikoo Place has partnered up with DBS Bank and Rooftop Republic to turn the rooftop of One Island East (OIE) into an urban farm. Here, we listen in on a conversation between General Manager of Taikoo Place, Swire Properties, Priscilla Li, and Executive Director and Head of Group Strategic Marketing & Communications at DBS Bank (Hong Kong), Amy Wu, as they chat about this fruitful journey and how it paves the way to a zero-waste future.

PL: Priscilla Li
AW: Amy Wu
PL: Sustainability is close to our hearts at Swire Properties. Since we launched our Sustainable Development (SD) 2030 Strategy in 2016, we’ve been working closely with different partners on several programmes to build a more sustainable community together. This time, we’re glad to have DBS Bank on board to create The Loop at One Island East – it’s an innovative experiment, and it takes an open-minded company that also shares the same dedication to creating a better tomorrow to succeed.

AW: We’re also very happy to be a part of this incredible project, Priscilla! We do share the same vision of achieving a low carbon future, and it also aligns with our sustainability pillars of responsible business practices and creating social impact. This project is a great way to raise awareness about a critical issue: Towards Zero Food Waste.

Food waste accounts for 30 per cent of Hong Kong’s municipal solid waste. When we waste food, we also waste all the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package it. So, around a year ago, we started brainstorming ideas about setting up an urban farm with Taikoo Place to close the food waste loop to address this issue.

The farm was finally launched this summer – just above our office at One Island East. By the end of this year, we’ll also revamp the process of upcycling food waste, which I really look forward to. With Swire Properties’ support, we will be converting the food waste collected from our office at OIE into compost to nourish crops grown at the urban farm. This action will contribute to DBS’ target of achieving net-zero operational carbon emissions across the bank by 2022.

Priscilla, I hear The Loop at One Island East is the highest urban farm in Hong Kong, isn’t it?

PL: Yes, Amy, it sits at 300m above ground, which means everything had to be designed carefully to work, as the rooftop was originally meant for building maintenance. We had gone through research and feasibility studies to review the site condition, sunlight consideration and operation model before setting it up. In addition to our technical and building management team, Rooftop Republic, a local social enterprise supported by DBS Foundation, was also on hand to provide their professional knowledge and services throughout the process. Teamwork is key to the success of this project!
AW: True, I think it showcases how cross-industry efforts can strategically bring greater impact – with Rooftop Republic’s support and Swire Properties’ management. As for us, apart from revamping our leftovers collection process to encourage DBS colleagues to upcycle their food waste through composting. We will also encourage them to volunteer in our farm in areas like transplanting, farming and harvesting.

Speaking of harvesting, we just had our first harvest in September. A total of 24kg of veggies were collected and donated to the Feeding Hong Kong food bank. This also shows how our actions can support the underprivileged and the wider community, and ultimately, creating a sustainable future.

PL: Definitely. 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. It also serves as an additional green area where our tenants can take part in urban farming and different types of sustainability workshops in the future.

Amy, your colleagues have been very much involved in setting up and maintaining The Loop at One Island East – how has this impacted your company?

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AW: Not only are we increasing awareness about sustainability, but we’re also activating a behavioural shift among our employees, which really echoes our bank’s sustainability vision. What surprised me most, however, is that we have so many colleagues with hidden talents. We have a lot of experienced “urban farmers” who keep sharing their tips with us. I’m also impressed that even though the weather has been less than ideal lately, our farm still stands strong. A big thank you to the team for their timely preventive measures, and to Taikoo Place and Swire Properties for all the support!  

PL: We thank you for being part of this meaningful collaboration. Creative transformation and building a sustainable workplace remain our ethos, and we’re exploring different places within Taikoo Place to engage our community. It’s always nice to understand more about our tenants’ SD objectives and explore how we can work together to do good for our world and make a real difference.

Food waste not only makes for great fertiliser, it can also be repurposed into different useful items! Here are four ways to give your kitchen scraps a second life.
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