Hong Kong’s Regal Hotels Group announced Monday its entrance into the metaverse with MetaGreen, a project to develop an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) themed plot of “LAND” in The Sandbox, a decentralised gaming virtual world and subsidiary of Hong Kong’s Animoca Brands.

As an estate LAND non-fungible token (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, Regal Hotels said in a statement.

Scheduled for completion by October 2022, it said MetaGreen aims to promote eco-friendly choices and foster a sustainable community to support a circular economy.

“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 likeminded partners co-creating a progressive green movement to inspire decarbonisation and behavioural changes in the consumer and business communities,” said Poman Lo, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of the Regal Hotels Group.

According to her, the metaverse, blockchain and NFTs are here to stay, and the group’s 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 likeminded partners who will co-create this path to carbon net zero with us, as we leverage the latest blockchain technology and immersive new media,” she added.

According to the statement, 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 (HKUST Business School) and UOB who have all already confirmed their presence and support.

Apart from the strategic partners, MetaGreen also has City Super Group as its sustainable retail partner.

According to the statement, 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.

It said 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.

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