TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In a recent episode of ESG Talks, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) discussed Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) with Taiwan News.
Ko said Taipei will try to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 in line with the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We hope to achieve 70% green transportation by 2030,” he added.
Asked how he plans to go around implementing the strategy, Ko said his team follows a methodical and gradual approach.
“First of all, you must decide your goals, then you must decide how to achieve your goals,” he said. “Then keep going, do it one by one.”
“First you set up the hardware, then based on the hardware, you set up the software. Finally, you have a solution, and you can spread it to all people who can use this system.”
Taipei City’s six key net-zero emissions include smart carbon emission buildings, green transportation improvement, transport vehicle electronification, rapid development of solar photovoltaic power generation facilities, construction of a green innovative investment environment, and promotion of low-carbon sustainable procurement. These policies will form the basis for future climate actions to achieve the vision of realizing a net-zero emissions city.
The city government set up a Sustainable Development Committee (SDC) in 2004 to draft its master development strategy and action plan for sustainable development. The government continues to promote SDGs through its SDC via a public-sector-led approach.
Ko pointed to many examples of the city’s progress in sustainable and smart urban management, including YouBikes, online education portals, recycling programs, and electric buses.
“We prohibit buying gasoline buses,” Ko added. “Only electronic buses can be bought (now).”
The IMD Smart City Index 2020, collated by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) at the Singapore University of Technology and Design, already ranks Taipei as 8th in the world.
Last year, Ko’s team conducted internal discussions and implemented rolling adjustments to their strategy, leading to four additional goals: Quality Education (SDG 4); Gender Equality (SDG 5); Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8); and Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure (SDG 9). Also, following the global trend of carbon emission reduction, Taipei City Government has placed Climate Action (SDG 13) at the heart of its strategy.
Ko offered some unique pearls of wisdom on urban planning:
“It is impossible to change the whole world in one day. So what you need to do is keep going.”
“Don’t sacrifice long-term well-being for short-term interest,” he said. “Don’t sacrifice the majority for some individual’s benefit.”
Having an open and transparent attitude is most important, he concluded.