Q&A: Dr. Shirley Yeung, adviser ImpactNFT Alliance

June 22, 2022

By Tsering Namgyal

Dr. Shirley Yeung, the head of the business school at Gratia Christian College in Hong Kong, is a powerful voice in the global impact of NFT markets. She is a veteran corporate social responsibility practitioner, and has published extensively on global collaborations on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Dr. Yeung recently spoke to NFTMetta.com’s Tsering Namgyal about why she joined ImpactNFT Alliance as a board adviser:

Q: How can ImpactNFT Alliance help address the challenges of climate change?

A: In the past, most climate change projects they are working on are about behavioral change. Say for example, you need some money for projects, you meet some people in reducing carbon emissions in their daily life. You make commitments and get NFTs in return. This is a good business model. Because in the past 20 years, a lot of people when they say climate change that would mean behavioral change. For instance, you can turn off your air-conditioner or maybe instead of driving, you can take public transport. In the food industry, it is about eating vegetarian rather than meat. These two areas that a lot of people talked about already. But stepping into the Web 3.0 or when we talk about NFT art industry, the UNESCO declared the year 2021 as the year of the creative economy, which we can link up with the climate change. Impact NFT has a technology angle since it has a lot of emphasis on creative products. NFT becomes an incentive like gift for those people who would like to support climate change.

If we want to support a developing country, for example, Indonesia, the Philippines or maybe even India for cleaner water or to curb illegal fishing. I have a movie project in Jakarta Indonesia about stopping illegal fishing and also protecting sea plants in the ocean. The ideas may be explained like this: If someone (B party) supports project A in the developing country and have a project (climate change SDG No. 13 ) that is focused on stopping illegal fishing. You may contribute US$10 to support this project. So, the impact NFT would link with artists and you would get a ten-dollar reward like Asia Miles for Cathay Pacific in NFTs. This would keep the B party (someone) to keep on supporting project A and also give a job to the artists to keep painting dolphins or anything. A will be the behavioral change in developing countries (using clean water or stopping illegal fishing), and B will link up with artists in the developed world like, say, Germany. NFT would be another area. It is a triple win.

Q: What was your goal in joining ImpactNFT Alliance and how did you find them?

A: I am a professor teaching corporate sustainability and I include UNSDGs in my student assignments. I am also a professor in Hong Kong, visiting professor in Paris, and delivered lectures on SDGs, corporate sustainability, CSR, design thinking, quality management, and talent development in Baku, Indonesia, Philippines, UK, US…etc. and other parts of the world. I think SDGs has to be integrated into their daily life otherwise they would not know what SDGs are actually like. Also, we need to have collaboration in the different parts of the world. SDGs under the UN have 196 indicators. A lot of the people do not know too much about SDGs. They just say “I am doing a commitment” on wellness etc. They are just talking about their own businesses. SDG target 4.7 is about knowledge transfer. They require a wider mindset to do something because if you do not involve other countries, then you are really not doing UNSDG. For example, gender equality (SDG #5) or innovations (SDG#9). SDG Goal #9 is about innovation they are talking about writing a lot of research papers, also about gender equality (SDG#5) by women on boards, and also about women engaging in technology and women in R&D. I also got an award this year about inspiring the girls (https://www.thefewgroup.com/inspiring-girls-hong-kong) aged 10 to 18. We need people from different age groups, different occupations, different cultures, and different geographical regions to participate in a project in order to reach the SDG targets. If you are doing something by yourself or a local institution, it is not really SDG projects with impacts because a diversity of stakeholders are expected to contribute to the SDG-related projects. In my project, I am helping different countries, for example, SDSN-Kenya in my projects. I have also published over 20 books on SDGs for transformation during COVID-19. My program at Gratia Christian College (UN Principles for Responsible Management Education Advanced Signatory Institute) is Higher Diploma in Transformative Business Management (HDTBM) (http://www.gcc.edu.hk/business/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2019/09/Dr.-Yeung-Publication-APA-20210901-from-M-R.pdf). So, I want to find out more case studies involving HK companies like Meomorign Tourbillon Watch, Kam Kee Restaurant, Flemmingtech, and EL Healthcare. I also draw and paint in Chinese calligraphy style. So once I finished the painting, I did not know what to do with it. If I want to exhibit in a gallery that would be challenging because I am not a professional artist. I used my drawings as book covers. I am not just a writer, professor, and editor, but I am also an editor for a lot of international journals. Five years ago, I also used blockchain to publish my book. I think blockchain will be integrated in different parts of the world like healthcare, retailer, and also in art and painting.

I searched “SDG” and ”Impact”, and suddenly I saw Impact NFT Alliance. When I looked at the mission statement, it is exactly what I am doing. So, it’s about the shared vision. As a professor, my curiosity and my lifelong learning and wide learning is very important. If you are just satisfied with what you are doing, then there is no change going further. Because I love to explore and for teaching, I like case studies I want to explore painting, NFT and blockchain, and SDG going forward. ImpactNFT Alliance really appreciated my interest and they returned my call immediately. I realize later that the projects that they are working on are very good but they do not know a lot about SDGs. They are doing a lot of work in Carbon Base, and the Ukraine war but not a lot of case studies about SDGs. I have been working on SDGs for about ten years. So when I talked to them we agreed that we need more integration of SDGs into this platform. Finally, I became their advisor.

Q: How technology can be used to address climate change?

A:  For example, blockchain apps can be used to measure how many miles you have been walking. Using the apps for one’s wellness, nutrition, and quality of sleep, is one area. Now you can have apps installed on the phone and know about your well-being record. The second area is using blockchain to trace vaccinations, confirmed cases, or geographical areas that is Covid-infected so that you can try to avoid going to that area. Under COVID-19, a lot of people were ordering food from Uber from foodpanda a lot of waste is being created because of the packaging for food deliveries. But it seems there is not a lot of technology for instance in fighting food waste. How the hotels are wasting food and how are you going to reduce the waste. And on the other side will be about people. If you are going to order a lot of food and the packaging that you are going to throw away to reduce the packaging that is something that we can explore under COVID-19. I teach market research in blockchain because of traceability, immutable records, and smart contracts, I think we can do something about the waste. Water is not so serious in Hong Kong because water is quite clean here. Food waste and packaging are quite prevalent in Hong Kong.

Q: How do all of these link up to the UN SDG Goals especially the work done by Impact NFT Alliance?

A: I think SDG#17, is about partnerships because Impact NFT Alliance has members from different countries. It is quite diverse. So building a partnership would be good. Because there needs to be multi-disciplinary knowledge. You can see from the advisory members of the Impact NFT Alliance, that somebody is good in cryptocurrency, climate change, corporate governance, and education. So (SDG#17), they are also performing, and so for climate change (SDG#13) they need to have some kind of metrics or formula how are you going to use those to measure how the projects from their members are addressing climate change. So at this, they are not quite mature yet.

Q: Can you tell us more about some of the projects?

On May 4th, 2022, a Side Event of Metaverse Mindset Project, was convened and chaired by me. Our honorable speakers include: Mr. Song Yang, founder of SYART, Mr. Sam Ngan, CEO of Popsible Limited, Founding President of Association of Metaverse (AOM), and Herman Wong, Vocalist of a local band The Hertz, and Co-Founder of RockStar Baby NFT.

The key takeaways from their presentations include Mr. Song of SVART Super Crossover Achievement. It is the era of the Mobile Internet, also known as the era of intelligent interconnection – people, things, and information can all be connected to each other. Super crossover is to connect more content by relating more industries, hence breeding a new species of product – super IP.

Mr. Sam Ngan, CEO of Popsible Limited, Founding President of Association of Metaverse

Popsible NFT/ESG Marketplace focused on providing users with a convenient and consistent all-in-one APAC NFT marketplace experience.

Under the leadership of the transformative business, Mr. Sam Ngan is working on a new ecosystem to meet societal needs with business opportunities, providing a platform to share the fruition of talented artists through Popsible’s technology and the passion of his team members

Mr. Herman Wong, vocalist of local band The Hertz, Co-Founder of RockStar Baby NFT

being an independent artist and musician himself, Herman recognized the infinite possibilities the Web 3.0 ecosystem could bring to the music scene and the overall creative industry. He is dedicated to creating a platform with RockStar Baby NFT to gather, nurture, support and connect talented musicians around the globe, while celebrating the passion for music with the general music lovers.

I presented research models on Metaverse Mindset and EduTechnology which echo to the practices of invited speakers.  Forum participants came from different countries in Asia Pacific and Africa (i.e. Kenya, Egypt, Japan, UK and China, Hong Kong). They enjoyed such an insightful knowledge exchange platform with guest speakers for transformation.

The second project is Artaverse Event which was held between June 3- 12, 2022

ImpactNFT Alliance with Gratia Christian College, School of Business as a Supporting Organization. (#SDG3/4/8/9/17)

During the Artaverse event, paintings of HDTBM student and teacher/ affiliates of BSSI was displayed with NFT the event with appreciation from celebrity and industry practitioners from different sectors. On 6th June, 2022, I was invited by the organizer as moderator/speaker for a panel on “Talent Development and Job Opportunities” with invited speakers, Dr. David Hanson, Founder, CEO, Hanson Robotics Limited, and Mr. Tony Chan, CO-founder and Chair, HK NFT Association.

Besides, in the past two years, I published over 20 books. Books engage with my students and people from different parts of the world. I organized nearly 35 webinars, and I also produced 6 movies on “Cross Generation Transformation via SDGs” supported by UNESCO HK Association, SDSN-Kenya, Syart…etc., which are already launched (http://www.gcc.edu.hk/business/cross-generation-transformation-via-sdg3891617/). It is all about engaging women and engaging youth. All these figures we need to engage and we need to show in an annual report. (https://www.unprme.org/gratia-christian-college) Otherwise, you cannot tell them their impacts.

NFT Impact Alliance has advisers, and members from around the world working together. So that is SDG# 17. But you don’t have a measurement to show what impact they had and where and what. It is important to focus on one thing. If you are thinking about climate change, climate change on what? If you want to focus on food waste, then we need to look at projects addressing food waste in Hong Kong. You need to align with somebody. They have a lot of concepts and projects but may need to have a metric for measurements. That is why I prefer to have a focus area, measurement, and stay in one particular area first. Otherwise, it is difficult to be outstanding in one particular area.

Q: How technology and NFTs are creating jobs for young people?

A: In Hong Kong, we launched a big event called Artaverse. I delivered a talk there, which is about talent development and also job opportunities. I did research on JobDB (employment data-base) in the past year, and a lot of jobs were coming up like “NFT adviser”, “project designer”, “storyteller”, “video producer” and also about community engagement officer.

Young people need to look from two angles. One angle after COVID-19 is that they are scared and they are not happy. They pick up a lot of art-related things like singing, and drawing and they are also losing jobs. One area is how to get a job if I am working in the arts sector. The second thing is that young people need to immerse themselves in reading different kinds of books to broaden their minds with multi-disciplinary knowledge. That is why I love to draw and love to produce movies. They love visual art. We need to follow the trend of young people using pictures. And then they are looking to find their own self-identity. On the one end, the young people are losing jobs, but on the other hand, they love to enjoy visuals and drawings. Talking about NFTs, there are a lot of jobs are coming up, for example, in minting NFTs, how to explore OpenSeas, and different kinds of NFTs. They do know how to engage with cryptocurrencies such as setting up a crypto wallet etc. I am still a learner in this area so that is why I think regulations are important. I need to educate young people on how to invest in NFTs. If you are using it for marketing purposes it is good and more channels for NFT to link up with the arts. But you need to care about investing. I am very prudent about investing. I love to play with the art in NFTs but I don’t invest in all those currencies because I do not know exactly what is the story behind them. So, platforms need to educate people about what is cryptocurrency. For example, how governments view cryptocurrencies. So NFT linking up with the artifacts is great but when it comes to investment I am very prudent.

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