Becoming Key Drivers of Green and Sustainable Development
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Gary Chan has experienced significant professional success with the establishment of the company – Korean Corner, and its GREEN Project.
After gaining invaluable experience from the family business, Gary moved to New York in 2008 and with limited resources, developed both businesses in 2015 with a special focus on teamwork, overall awareness and synergy. With an emphasis on individuality and performance of the team, each member is able to accomplish tasks with a clear willingness and cooperation of collaboration to produce incredible outputs.
“my philosophy is to place every person in the right position through the right organizational form to maximise the potential”
This philosophy is obviously paying off for Gary and the team, having attracted multiple overseas investors to establish branches in South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, the United States and Australia.
Korean Corner’s GREEN Project commits to promoting eco-friendly, environmentally awareness and sustainable practices through working with other companies including several well-known international corporations. Their key focus is to encourage people from all walks of life to understand the importance of eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable practices to better serve society.
The GREEN Project is an end to end sustainability project that not only adopts 10 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, but also aims to reduce waste, energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change. Gary actively encourages organisations to donate the used environmentally friendly paper products to continue the lifecycle and use of the product.
From pre-school to Universities, the GREEN Project aims to promote the concept of environmental protection and serving the community via unique and creative strategies and products.
In 2016, the GREEN Project broke the Guinness World Record for the largest cardboard sculpture after creating a 100% recyclable cardboard castle maze for a Hong Kong shopping mall. The castle maze was at the mall for 6 months, with thousands of families interacting with it during that period. After the event, they donated the maze to many local organisations for reuse and educational purposes.
Further demonstrating the use of reusables, in 2017 Korean Corner collaborated with agnès b. and brought a 4-meter tall 100% recyclable cardboard dinosaur slide to her boutique at SOHO New York. Not only did thousands of children receive endless hours of enjoyment, parents were fascinated by the sturdiness of the cardboard slide and the stories behind the GREEN Project.
Every year, Korean Corner is involved in more than 100 events, workshops, team building activities and birthday parties that continue to educate consumers on the idea of eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable to different sectors of the community. With the use of GREEN Project, Korean Corner works in tandem to reuse or recycle event collateral and arrange for further reuse opportunities or donation to avoid the possibility of unnecessary waste and environmental damage.
“Hong Kong, as a small city in comparison, has more than 10,000 events every year” Gary explains. The equation therefore is simple: approximately 2 tons of material per event x 10,000 events equals 20,000 metric tons of material being dumped per year. When you calculate this on a broader scale across the globe, there are billions, if not trillions of tons of used materials being dumped into landfill each year, creating enormous pressure on planet earth.
On the contrary, if we can reuse or donate that 2 tons of recycled paper via the GREEN Project concept, we can save two tons of materials for re-use or donations, avoiding the billions of tons worth of unnecessary landfill each year.
“we should always find ways to contribute to our future generations. I find this very important because in doing so, we are able to help our community”
As a small-medium enterprise (SME) in pursuit of greener development, Gary stresses that environmental work requires close and careful consideration in every step of business development. With SME’s emerging role on sustainability, Gary believes they can become key drivers of green and sustainable development if they can learn to reconsider and rethink strategies and ensure their operation procedures are fully aligned with environmental sustainability.
Words by Caitlin Judd