Assessing Materiality

An in-depth approach, following the Global Reporting Initiative

In this report, a material topic is one which reflects the significant economic, environmental and social impact of our businesses or substantively influences the assessments and decisions of stakeholders. In identifying and assessing material topics, we follow guidance from and report with reference to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), including the requirement to report by reference to GRI G4 Aspects.

Our in-depth assessment

In 2015, we conducted an in-depth materiality assessment. Topics that reflect the internal and external impact of our businesses were initially identified by reference to our enterprise risk management (ERM) framework.

Since 2012, we have collected views from those with whom we engage in accordance with a 5-year plan. The views that we have collected do not always directly contribute to our reporting. However, they do help us to focus on the right things and to validate our materiality assessment.

We have obtained views from directors, managers and employees in the Swire Pacific group, financial institutions, regulators, non-governmental organisations, academics, communications professionals, other Hong Kong companies, the media and Hong Kong government departments and chambers of commerce. These stakeholders were invited to elaborate on the impact of what we do in the industries and regions in which we operate and to give their views on sustainability trends. We conducted interviews, focus groups and hosted conferences, including an annual Swire Sustainable Development Forum. We undertook routine media scanning and kept track of sustainability developments, in order to identify issues which may have affected or related to our businesses, for example carbon market developments and climate negotiations.

The output from this analysis is shown below:


Aligning our materiality assessment with the GRI

For 2016, we conducted a further materiality assessment, building on our 2015 assessment. We reviewed our existing GRI disclosures grouped by material topics. We identified the material topics that were considered as being most relevant for this year’s report, the boundaries of those topics and the GRI G4 Aspects which corresponded to them.

The table below shows the GRI G4 Aspects which correspond to the material topics which we identified for 2016 and whether they have an impact inside our organisation, outside our organisation or both.


For each of the eight material topics, we have provided a section in this report which indicates why the topic was material in 2016, our approach to managing the risks and opportunities associated with the topic and our performance in relation to the topic.

The sections of the report in which we discuss the sustainability performance of our divisions highlight the areas where they have a significant material impact on the Group, as follows:

New material topics in 2016

Supply chain and training and education are new material topics in 2016. Neither is among the most significant of our material topics. However, we consider it important that our suppliers adhere to high sustainability standards and that our commitment to remaining an employer of choice for our 90,000 plus employees should be demonstrated by reporting on our training programmes.

Boundaries and scoping

A list of companies and parts of companies which have provided information for this report, and a list of companies and parts of companies which have not provided information for this report can be found here Performance indicators are reported on a 100% basis and therefore do not make reference to Swire Pacific’s shareholdings in operating companies.

Looking ahead

Later this year, we plan to review our materiality assessment process and to update our material topics. Our intention is that our reports should continue to deal with topics which properly reflect the most significant economic, environmental and social impacts of our businesses.



In 2016, Cathay Pacific took delivery of ten Airbus A350-900 aircraft. These fuel efficient, technologically advanced long-haul aircraft are being used on the Auckland, Düsseldorf, London Gatwick, Paris and Rome routes.


HAECO Americas provides job shadowing opportunities to students at schools and colleges in Greensboro.


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