Lighting Up Lives Across the Centuries

Sep 19, 2019 9:30 AM ET
Newsletter

Hong Kong is one of the most dynamic and advanced cities in the world. It crackles day and night with energy and ambition – and it is hard to remember that just a generation ago, something as simple as a basic electricity supply had the power to transform lives.

As recently as in the 1960s, the late Lord Lawrence Kadoorie would go to switching-on ceremonies in remote parts of the New Territories and hand out kettles and other appliances to villagers through which they got to enjoy the wonder of electricity in their homes for the very first time.

Those ground-breaking days of the Rural Electrification Scheme saw communities in the countryside transformed, and made the drumbeat of progress, opportunity, and prosperity heard in even the furthest-flung corners of Hong Kong.

A desire to look after people left behind by the march of modernity has characterised the work of the Kadoorie family since the 19th century – and it is a mission CLP is today carrying forward into a new era of technology and super-connectivity in the 21st century.

The charitable ethos has become an integral part of the CLP culture, empowering employees in Hong Kong, Mainland China, India, and Australia to use their expertise not just to fulfil their daily duties but to improve people’s lives.

Caring for the communities in which we live and work is a core value of CLP, and our efforts are focussed on four pillars: Environment, Education and Development, Community Wellbeing, and Arts and Culture.

“At CLP, our relationship with the communities we serve is much more than a business transaction,” explains Chief Corporate Development Officer Quince Chong. “By providing reliable, safe, affordable, and clean electricity to our customers, we are supporting the economic and social development of the communities in which we operate.

“Members of the Kadoorie family have been philanthropic leaders in Asia for generations and still continue to support many good causes. They have influenced and inspired us to contribute to the communities in which we live and work.”

The Kadoorie family’s philanthropic tradition can be traced to the 19th century, when it set up schools in the Middle East including the first girls’ school in Baghdad that would later play an important role in the emancipation of women. When the family moved to the Far East, it continued that tradition, helping communities wherever it went.

The family’s philosophy in philanthropy is to help others help themselves. The Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Association (KAAA) set up in 1951, for instance, helped farmers in post-war Hong Kong become self-sustaining.

Drawing from the Chinese proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”, the KAAA taught farmers pig-raising techniques and over the years gave out 50,000 animals to create new livelihoods.

Projects such as these created a bond between the family and the communities they served. In 1901, the family founded the Ellis Kadoorie Chinese School Society which opened schools in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Guangzhou to train Chinese students in English so they could have more job opportunities.

The family’s rich heritage of sharing their good fortune is celebrated through Sir Michael’s creation in 2007 of the Hong Kong Heritage Project, which draws together a unique historical archive from CLP, the Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, and other Kadoorie businesses and interests involved in Hong Kong’s social and economic development, and makes them available to the wider public.

Inspired by how the family contributed to societies, our vision at CLP is to be the leading responsible energy provider in the Asia-Pacific region, from one generation to the next, and a vital element of that mission is to maintain and build upon our community ties.

Our community initiatives, sponsorship and donation activities complement other elements of our operations to earn and sustain trust from our stakeholders, using our skills and resources for programmes that have a positive impact on community development.

Going forward, we will continue to frame the way we serve our communities around the four pillars, as we recognise that our long-term success depends on the support of strong and thriving communities.

“CLP takes great pride in being a responsible corporate citizen, and we will continue to do everything we can to contribute to the community in a positive way, both today and into the future,” says Quince.

To learn more about CLP’s connection with society, please check out the latest issue of CLP.CONNECT.