2017 Sustainability Report

Assessing materiality

Aligning with the Global Reporting Initiative

The content of our annual sustainable development report is determined by reference to a detailed materiality assessment. The assessment identifies and evaluates the sustainability issues that mattered most to our businesses and our stakeholders during the year under review and will matter most to them in the near-term future.

In this report, a material issue 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 issues, we follow guidance from and report with reference to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), including the requirement to report by reference to the GRI Standards.

The objectives of the materiality assessment are to meet external reporting requirements (GRI Standards and the HKEx ESG Guide) and to help to evaluate our sustainability performance in light of the expectations of those inside and outside our businesses with whom we engage.

Our in-depth assessment

Our materiality assessment has three steps: identification, prioritisation and validation (see below).

• Senior management engagement • Research and benchmarking• Impact mapping • Internal and external engagement• Analysis

  • Research and benchmarking
  • Impact mapping

During the Identification phase, we made reference to the following:

  • The GRI Standards
  • The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board Provisional Disclosure Standards
  • The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • The Dow Jones Sustainability Index
  • CDP
  • Reports from MSCI and Sustainalytics

Material issues were categorised according to their relevance to: the community, greenhouse gas emissions and energy, employees, the environment, ethics and governance, human rights, privacy and security, products, services and customers, and supplier practices.


  • Internal and external engagement
  • Analysis

In the prioritisation phase, internal stakeholders were asked to consider material issues in terms of their influence on business success, and external stakeholders were asked to consider material issues in terms of their importance to sustainability. We used a standard questionnaire in order to ensure systematic and consistent evaluation of material issues. An external consultancy conducted additional one-on-one interviews and focus group discussions with key stakeholders. The results are shown in the materiality assessment map below.


  • Senior management engagement

In the validation phase, senior managers — including those with responsibilities for sustainable development, risk management, human resources, public affairs and legal matters — reviewed and confirmed the assessment.


Materiality assessment map

Material issues and aspects

The table below shows:
(i) the GRI indicators which correspond to the material issues which we identified for 2017
(ii) whether they have an impact inside our organisation, outside our organisation or both
(iii) the Swire group businesses where they have a material impact

Material issue GRI indicator Boundary Swire group business
Impact inside Impact outside
Economic Performance G201 All
Anti-Competitive Behaviour G206 All
Anti-Corruption G205 All
Materials G301 Swire Properties
Emissions G305 Cathay Pacific
Energy G302 Cathay Pacific and Swire Properties
Effluents and Waste G306 Swire Properties, Cathay Pacific and Swire Beverages
Water G303 Swire Beverages
Biodiversity G304 Cathay Pacific and Swire Properties
Freedom of Association / Collective Bargaining G407 All
Diversity and Equal Opportunities G405 All
Training and Development G404 All
Occupational Health and Safety G403 All
Anti-Discrimination G406 All
Indirect Economic Impacts G203 All
Local Community G413 Swire Trust
Supplier Social Assessment G414 All
Socio-Economic Compliance G419 All

For each of the 18 material topics, we have provided a section in this report which indicates why the topic was material in 2017, our approach to managing the risks and opportunities associated with the topic, and our performance in relation to the topic.

Income inequality and human rights were identified as new material issues in 2017.

Scope of our reporting

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.