Civic Exchange is an independent Hong Kong public-policy think tank established in 2000.
We use in-depth research and dialogue to inform policy and engage stakeholders on addressing environmental and development challenges in Hong Kong. Our research covers four areas that make up a liveable city: environmental, economic, social, and governance. Civic Exchange has been ranked among the top 50 environmental think tanks in the world by the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania since 2011.
How We Operate
Civic Exchange was founded in 2000 by Christine Loh, who later became Hong Kong’s Under Secretary for the Environment, and environmental researcher Lisa Hopkinson. It was among the first organisations to conduct in-depth surveys on Hong Kong and Pearl River Delta residents’ environmental behaviours and attitudes.
In 2006, Civic Exchange produced Hong Kong’s first comprehensive air-management policy and published a groundbreaking report on local versus regional pollution sources. That was followed up in 2007 with the first report on climate change in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta.
From 2009-2012, Civic Exchange was involved in the development of the Hedley Environmental Index, which tracks the financial and human cost of pollution.
Civic Exchange was also instrumental in crafting The Fair Winds Charter, which was adopted in 2011 to encourage shipping lines, cruise liners, and outliners to use fuel with lower sulphur content.
In 2016, Civic Exchange hosted the first international Walk21 conference to be held in Asia. Walk21 Hong Kong attracted 156 speakers from all over the world, 600 delegates, and 300 participants in public forums.
Civic Exchange’s work on water resources in the Pearl River Basin started in 2009. The “Illusion of Plenty” report, published in 2017, received widespread attention in the media, the general public, and the government.
Civic Exchange published the “Managing Vibrant Streets” report, outlining noise and other street problems as well as policy recommendations for devising a comprehensive street-management policy in Hong Kong. The report generated extensive media coverage and sparked public discussions, particularly in reference to the closure of the Mong Kok pedestrian zone. We are also conducting further in-depth research on the quality of public open space with the aim of improving the city’s urban design.