Regal Hotels Group announced its entrance into the metaverse with MetaGreen, a project to develop an ESG – Environmental, Social, and Governance themed plot of “LAND” in The Sandbox, a leading decentralised gaming virtual world and subsidiary of Animoca Brands. As an estate LAND NFT within Mega City 2, MetaGreen will be the Sandbox’s first green metropolis and represent an exciting ecosystem that will positively harness blockchain, tokenisation, GameFi, play-to-earn and NFTs. Scheduled for completion by October 2022, MetaGreen aims to promote eco-friendly choices and foster a sustainable community to support a circular economy.
Poman Lo, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of the Regal Hotels Group explained, “Sustainability and technology have long been at the heart of our group’s DNA and passionately infused in our corporate initiatives and strategic investments. Web3 and metaverse technologies will not only disrupt every facet of our daily lives, but also empower socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable impact in the world. Accelerating the transition to carbon net-zero, MetaGreen is a collaborative ecosystem of like-minded partners co-creating a progressive green movement to inspire decarbonisation and behavioural changes in the consumer and business communities.”
“The metaverse, blockchain and NFTs are here to stay, and our investment in The Sandbox puts Regal Hotels among the first hotel groups in the world to take a bold and leading role in the next iteration of the internet. The MetaGreen project strives to inspire, educate and catalyse a more sustainable future by mobilising a green ecosystem of like-minded partners who will co-create this path to carbon net zero with us, as we leverage the latest blockchain technology and immersive new media.” The Group is acutely aware of the environmental impact of proof-of-work protocols, which spurred the careful decision to partner MetaGreen with The Sandbox, due to its current migration to the eco-friendly Polygon blockchain and its carbon offset pledges. As part of the Group’s own pledge, MetaGreen has already purchased more than double the verified carbon credits necessary to reverse its limited Ethereum emissions.
MetaGreen represents the Group’s three distinguishing strengths. First is Regal Hotels’ longstanding focus on customer-centric innovation to elevate guest experiences, such as in 2001 when www.regalhotel.com became the first hotel website in Hong Kong to offer online room booking, or in 2014 when iclub became the first hotel brand in the city to utilise mobile key technology. Second, the Group continues to demonstrate its enduring commitment to sustainability and purpose-driven business initiatives. In 2010, iclub Wanchai became Hong Kong’s first carbon-neutral hotel. The Group also seeks to connect with the environmentally conscious new generation by extending its environmental values into the metaverse. The final competitive advantage is the Group’s well-demonstrated collaborative network. MetaGreen already boasts a vast synergistic network of industry-leading partners including Hang Seng Bank, the School of Business and Management of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and UOB who have all already confirmed their presence and support.
Diana Cesar, Executive Director and Chief Executive of Hang Seng Bank, said, “We are excited to be part of the visionary MetaGreen project. This innovative concept resonates with Hang Seng’s strong aspiration to being a leading ESG driver in the local banking sector. We intend to become carbon neutral in our operations by 2030 and support our customers to transition to a low-carbon economy. Raising awareness, inspiring young people and encouraging them to take their future in their own hands is also key to making this happen. Hang Seng’s presence in the MetaGreen will provide a dynamic new venue for the Bank to encourage greater community collaboration, particularly among younger people, to address major ESG issues and global challenges such as climate change, with the vision of building a greener tomorrow. ”
Professor Tam Kar Yan, Dean of HKUST Business School, said, ” With the metaverse hailed as the Internet’s new frontier, we are excited to be a part of this industry partnership and explore through the MetaGreen platform the interplay between sustainability education, business and the metaverse, with a view to taking advantage of the metaverse’s immersive experience in opening new possibilities in business education and contributing to Hong Kong’s green future. ”
Christine Ip, CEO – Greater China, UOB, said, “Sustainability is now an imperative with collective will among community stakeholders to change business practices and lifestyles for the greater good. As a leading financial institution in Asia, UOB takes seriously our responsibility to forging a sustainable future. We strive to sharpen our focus on helping businesses to advance responsibly, steering consumer wealth to sustainable investments and fostering social inclusiveness and environmental well-being. We are happy to work with Regal Hotels Group to create value for our stakeholders from the art and cultural sustainability perspective. Our collaboration on MetaGreen provides a perfect opportunity for art and technology to converge as one. Through this artists and art enthusiasts can explore artwork and, participate in virtual art events like never before in this fast-paced digital world. ”
Apart from the mentioned strategic partners, MetaGreen is pleased to have City Super Group as our sustainable retail partner. Thomas Woo, President of City Super, said, “City Super Group is committed to bringing a premium quality of life to our customers with the core value of ‘crafting a better lifestyle’. We’re delighted to join forces with Regal Hotels Group, allowing us to create truly innovative eco-friendly experiences in MetaGreen, the first green metropolis in The Sandbox metaverse, for new and existing customers. ”
Regal Hotels have purchased what is known as an “estate” or a group of individual lands merged into a larger parcel, which will be a green virtual district in Mega City 2 and the first sustainability-themed metropolis in The Sandbox. At present, there are six uniquely interactive districts that make up the MetaGreen virtual estate:
Regal Hotels’ green hotel and residence will showcase the latest sustainable proptech innovations and promote financial inclusion in the world’s most expensive real estate market, where the Group will initially sell around 100 units in the form of NFTs;
MetaGreen Convention Center – as The Sandbox’s first MICE – Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions facility where ESG-related sustainability conferences will be hosted, demonstrating the next generation of interactive corporate events in the metaverse;
MetaGreen Mall – the first sustainability-themed metaverse shopping mall that will cater to Hong Kong consumers who prefer virtual shopping over traditional physical malls, while also offering immersive and creative O2O experiences;
Art Park – a green art gallery that will serve as a platform for both artistic innovation and sustainability awareness;
MetaGreen Academy – the first metaverse-based secondary school green curriculum, developed in partnership with HKUST Business School as a non-profit initiative of Bodhi Love Foundation, a Section 88 charity founded in 2013 by Poman Lo; and
Virtual eco-travel – a metaverse biosphere that promotes biodiversity and online-to-offline eco-farming.
Accessibility and inclusivity are core elements to MetaGreen, as The Sandbox requires only a laptop or desktop computer with an approach quite similar to a traditional computer game. Targeting everyone from Generation X to Generation Z and people of all genders, ethnicities, religions and professions, Regal Hotels sees approximately two thirds of Hong Kong’s population, a user base of 5 million, as potential MetaGreen netizens.
In the coming months, MetaGreen will announce more details regarding its pioneering decarbonise-to-earn model and continue to invite additional ecosystem partners who share their vision and intention of building a greener tomorrow.