New World Development continues to be at the forefront of giving support to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak. Our executive vice-chairman and CEO, Adrian Cheng, has created a shared platform, called #LoveWithoutBorders, as part of the company’s global creating shared value (CSV) initiative to celebrate the power of love by providing essential support and creative and sustainable solutions to those in need in our community and around the world.
In the early stage of the pandemic, from February to April, New World Development distributed two million masks and 10,000 personal protection kits containing face masks, hand sanitizer gel and sanitizing wipes to low-income families and disadvantaged groups through about 50 non-profit and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) in Hong Kong.
We also set up an anti-epidemic fund of $10 million for Hong Kong-based families via New World Development’s charitable foundation. Furthermore, realising that face masks were an important protective tool in the fight against the coronavirus – but the fluctuation in price and unreliability of supply put quality face masks beyond the reach of many people – Cheng made the decision to start our own mask production lines in Hong Kong.
To help fight the COVID-19 epidemic and solve the shortage of preventative gear such as surgical masks, the company immediately established a professional internal team to look after the engineering, planning, construction, factory operation and R&D. All were from our group companies. We set up two automated mask production machines in our factory with cleanrooms, resulting in production capacity of more than seven million masks a month.
To ensure the people in need can receive the face masks easily and conveniently without having to wait in queues, we collaborated with our NGO partners and launched ‘Masks To Go’ dispensers in May. The dispensers have been installed in 37 designated centres across all 18 of Hong Kong’s district through partnership with 16 NGOs.
Qualified beneficiaries can register with an NGO to receive a smart redemption card, which they can use to get a pack of five masks every week until the end of December 2020, easing recipients’ anxiety about the shortage of masks. As of Oct 2020, over five million New World Made-in-HK masks have been distributed to low-income families and disadvantaged groups via the dispensers as well as other channels.
We also take care of our employees. We were one of the first corporates in Hong Kong to announce a work-from-home policy. We provided protection kits containing masks, hand sanitizer gel and disinfecting wipes for our colleagues, as well as free lunch boxes for employees so that they can minimise social contact with outsiders.
In the common area in our main office building in Central, we deployed our group company Humansa’s nano titanium photocatalyst coating service, which can destroy 99.99% of viruses and bacteria for up to a year. Since we started our mask production, our employees have been able to receive New World Made-in-HK masks and order them for their family and friends.
We are continuing to monitor the development of the pandemic closely and will respond proactively by launching programmes to support the community in combating the virus. In this way, together with the local community, we will beat the pandemic.