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Bupa shoulders "One Health" responsibility

Hong Kong,05 Jul 2021

"Green fatigue" emerges as people increasingly adopt
sustainable living practices, Bupa survey reveals

Bupa shoulders "One Health" responsibility,
encouraging and engaging communities to make a better world

  • An overwhelming majority (97.2%) are not aware of the phrase “One Health”, which refers to the interconnected and interdependent relationship between the health of people and the planet; but generally (85.8%) recognise the two are interlinked;
  • Pandemic has increased momentum for environmental protection, with three in five respondents (59%) agreeing that the pandemic has increased their awareness of environmental issues and nearly half (49.7%) saying that it prompted them to take real action to live more sustainably;
  • While most respondents (96.3%) make efforts to live more sustainably, at least half (54.2%) agree that their individual actions could never be “too little too small”; Nonetheless, a quarter have experienced “green fatigue”;
  • Over half (57.4%) say that the “lack of facilitative measures” is a key challenge preventing people from practicing sustainability, while close to 50% of current employees believe that their companies are not actively engaged in environmental protection; most respondents agree that the government (87.1%) and business sectors (90%) should show a stronger commitment to sustainability.

Bupa Hong Kong, the leading health insurance specialist, is launching the "One Health" campaign to raise awareness of the connection between our health and the planet’s health. As part of the campaign, we release today commissioned research by the Centre for Communication and Public Opinion Survey of the Chinese University of Hong Kong investigating views in Hong Kong surrounding health and the environment.

"One Health", a concept that has long been advocated by academics and sustainability experts around the world, identifies that the health of people is interconnected and interdependent with the health of the planet1. This close relationship between human and nature makes preserving the environment not only an environmental matter, but also integral to human health.

The research was conducted in May 2021, surveying 303 people in Hong Kong aged 18 – 65 2 on their perspectives on environment and health. While awareness of the phrase “One Health” is relatively low, an overwhelming majority of respondents have taken steps to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.

The unprecedented pandemic has prompted real action, even though over 1 out of 4 respondents admit to experiencing "green fatigue". While many believe their individual actions contribute to change, most respondents say the government and business sectors should commit more strongly to sustainability.

"One Health" not widely known, but generally understand and agree with the concept

Although a majority of respondents (97.2%) are not aware of the phrase “One Health”, they generally (85.8%) agree that there is a close link between human health and the ecological environment.

Pandemic boosted environmental awareness and prompted action

Almost all respondents (96.6%) say that they are either concerned or moderately concerned about global environmental issues, with climate change (34.6%) and air pollution (30.1%) being top of mind.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a higher awareness of environmental issues, as stated by three in five respondents (59%). Nearly half (49.7%) suggest that it has prompted them to take real action to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.

Proactive actions taken although one in four people have experienced "green fatigue"

Most respondents (96.3%) make efforts to live more sustainably, with "reducing use of single-use plastic straw/cutlery" (71.7%), "bringing your own bags, boxes/bottles" (71.1%) and "recycling bottles/cans/papers" (58.3%) being the top three actions taken.

Meanwhile, at least half of the respondents (54.2%) believe that their individual actions could never be too little too small, a percentage that increases significantly among younger respondents aged 18–34 (69.2%) and those with tertiary education (71.2%). Nonetheless, a quarter of respondents (26.4%) mention that they have experienced "green fatigue".

Room for improvement and high expectations for institutional initiatives

When asked about the factors preventing people from practicing sustainability, over half (57.4%) say the “lack of facilitative measures” is a key challenge. Additionally, most (88.5%) say that they have not heard of the Climate Action Plan 2030+ initiated by the city’s government, indicating that governmental bodies may have a greater role to play in promoting environment action.

Specifically for business sectors, close to 50% of current employees believe their companies are not actively engaged in environmental protection, such as waste reduction or setting targets for reducing carbon emissions. An overwhelming majority agree that the government (87.1%) and business sectors (90%) should make a stronger commitment to sustainability.

Bupa Hong Kong has always put sustainability at the core of our business strategy, not only through protecting against the unexpected, like the pandemic, but looking after all aspects that ultimately affect health, including the environment. As a trusted healthcare partner, reducing the impact of our business contributes to Bupa's broader goal of improving the health of people and the planet. Through the commissioned survey and other initiatives, Bupa aims to bring "One Health" into the spotlight, empowering people with knowledge and opportunities to take action, so that they can incorporate sustainability into their daily lives.

Understanding the expectations that the public holds for businesses, Bupa is ready to shoulder more responsibility in environmental protection by committing to and announcing two new pledges and three real actions.

Two major pledges – global and local

  • Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)

    Bupa is officially committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through framing science-based actions along with companies worldwide to work towards the Paris Agreement goals – limiting global warming to well-below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. Bupa is one of the first large healthcare organisations participating in this global initiative, joining multinational corporates with a scale ranging from millions to multi-billions.

  • Business with Purpose Pledge

    Locally, Bupa Hong Kong has become one of the fifteen founding members of the Business with Purpose coalition, a business community formed by Hong Kong Management Association and Social Ventures Hong Kong to connect like-minded companies in Hong Kong to advocate long-term sustainability.

Three concrete actions – internal to external

  • One Health Step Challenge via Bupa4Life

    From 5 to 31 July 2021, Bupa Hong Kong will hold its first One Health Step Challenge through the Bupa4Life wellness app, encouraging our staff and Bupa individual members to take steps aiming to leave a smaller trace on the planet. Steppers are able to earn various health and sustainability rewards. Steps will be recorded and collectively transformed into trees growing in a virtual woodland.

  • Partnership with The Green Earth

    Starting from July, Bupa Hong Kong will become an official partner of The Green Earth. Together, we wish to collect 10 million steps for the virtual woodland from One Health Step Challenge, encouraging real behavioural change through gamification. Steppers can also learn from The Green Earth interesting topics related to local biodiversity, practical advice on sustainable living and waste reduction.

    Bupa Hong Kong and The Green Earth will jointly host educational and experiential events, including workshops on recycling and waste management, volunteering and guided clean-up activities in the city.

    Focusing on public education, the two organisations will also launch a zero-carbon lifestyle e-book, outlining the close connection between the health of people and the planet. The e-book will cover different topics, such as biodiversity and practical tips for sustainable and healthy living.

  • Environmentally friendly measures at Bupa Hong Kong and Quality HealthCare

    Bupa encourages paperless transactions through digitalisation. Over 88% of our clinical claims are now processed through our online customer service portals. Together with other streamlined operations, we are reducing over 2.3 million pieces of paper a year, the equivalent of nearly 300 trees.

    Bupa's medical provision arm, Quality HealthCare, is replacing physical films for X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and PETs with digital versions at all western medicine and diagnostics and imaging centres. This operational change will save around 10 tonnes of plastic films a year, the equivalent of around 400,000 plastic bottles.

"To be healthy people, we need to have a healthy planet," said Penny Davis, Director of Brand, Customer and Corporate Affairs at Bupa in Hong Kong. "Our One Health survey revealed that some people have made proactive steps to live more sustainably, but others are looking for more information and support. They expect meaningful action from government and businesses. As one of the world's largest healthcare companies, Bupa has a role to play and a responsibility to act. We want more people to understand that their own health is closely connected with environmental sustainability. From July, we will be launching a series of One Health initiatives. We want to empower Hongkongers with the knowledge and incentives to live more sustainably, which in turn, will help them to live longer, healthier, happier lives."

Penny added: “People are also calling on the government and business sectors to do more to drive environmental sustainability. Government policies that provide more incentives for the public and measures that encourage green culture amongst corporates can make a big difference in driving changes and progress. For Bupa, we are pleased to announce two pledges and three actions, setting carbon reduction targets and reducing the impact of our own operations. It is our commitment to keeping people well and supporting a healthier planet for our employees, partners, customers and communities.”

For more information about Bupa’s One Health campaign and the survey, please visit: http://www.bupa.com.hk/OneHealth




1 World Health Organization – One Health: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/one-health
1 Centre for Food Safety – What is One Health: https://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/multimedia/multimedia_pub/multimedia_pub_fsf_125_02.html
2 Weighted based on the demographic variables in accordance with the latest population data

Bupa – A global healthcare specialist

Bupa's purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives and making a better world.

We are an international healthcare company serving over 31 million customers worldwide. With no shareholders, our customers are our focus. We reinvest profits into providing more and better healthcare for the benefit of current and future customers.

In Hong Kong, we are known as the health insurance specialist. We have gained the trust of more than 400,000 individuals and 3,200 companies. We have provided quality health insurance for Hong Kong's civil servants for more than 20 years.

Bupa also provides primary care services through Quality HealthCare Medical Services (QHMS), one of Hong Kong’s largest private clinic networks.

 

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