2017 Sustainability Report


Protecting and enhancing biodiversity

We operate in cities, on coasts and in the country. Biodiversity is vital to maintaining a resilient natural environment. A resilient natural environment is vital to the sustainable development of our businesses.

It is our policy that our operating companies will pay due regard to biodiversity considerations in their operations. We will ask them to identify key biodiversity risks and to take steps to mitigate them.

Biodiversity is key to a resilient natural environment. We need to protect and enhance the ecosystems we operate within, and impact upon, to help nature flourish.

The United Nations has estimated that human activities cause the extinction of three animal or plant species every hour – or 30,000 species a year. We are dependent on biodiversity. Up to 40% of the global economy is based on biological products and services. Ecosystem services provided by nature (pollination, climate regulation and leisure) have been valued at up to USD$145 trillion per year.

Group activity on biodiversity

Biodiversity has been made a key element of SwireTHRIVE because its loss affects every area of our business.

We are already taking positive steps to protect it. Swire Pacific Offshore (SPO) has equipped its vessels with ballast water treatment systems. Swire Properties uses sustainably certified timber in its developments. Cathay Pacific has stopped carrying ivory and shark fin. We can do more. We can design buildings so that they support wildlife better. We can help to combat the trade in endangered species.

As part of SwireTHRIVE, we have adopted a Biodiversity Policy. It is the policy of Swire Pacific to:

  • Ensure that all companies in which Swire Pacific has a controlling interest undertake biodiversity assessments where relevant to their operations
  • Minimise the adverse impact of its operations on biodiversity and ecosystems, including protecting endangered species and promoting the sustainable use of natural resources important to biological diversity
  • Encourage its operating companies to support relevant and appropriate biodiversity and conservation initiatives and to participate in industry-specific working groups related to biodiversity and conservation
  • Promote awareness of biodiversity and conservation issues among our employees, customers, suppliers and others with whom we do business
  • Promote the restoration of ecosystems, where important to the areas in which our businesses operate

Supporting biodiversity through sustainable procurement

We have catering, food manufacture and hospitality businesses. We recognise it is our responsibility for our food procurement practices to be sustainable. Biodiversity can be conserved by not purchasing unsustainable food items.

Our Sustainable Food Policy gives guidance about foods that should not be served at our own events or to customers. We do not serve shark fin or black moss. The policy is in line with the World Wide Fund for Nature Seafood Guide and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Case study

Cathay Pacific Catering Services – Sustainable seafood

In 2017, Cathay Pacific Catering Services (CPCS) purchased 379 tonnes of certified sustainable seafood, representing 52% of its total seafood purchases. CPCS purchased cod, lobster and scallops approved by the Marine Stewardship Council and shrimp and sea bass certified by Best Aquaculture Practices, Global Good Agricultural Practice and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council. CPCS aims to increase its sustainable seafood purchases, in cooperation with its airline customers.

Supporting biodiversity through sustainable transport

Many animals and plants are threatened with extinction because of the international trade in rare or endangered wildlife and associated products. Airlines can help to combat these threats. Cathay Pacific does not carry ivory, hunting trophies, shark fin or racing greyhounds. It has a cargo policy designed to prevent the carriage of illegal or endangered species. It is a signatory to the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce Buckingham Palace Declaration, which aims to reduce the illegal trafficking of wildlife with the support of aviation and shipping industry companies and organisations. As such a signatory, Cathay Pacific is committed not to facilitate or tolerate the carriage of wildlife products, where trade in those products contravenes CITES.

Case study

Cathay Pacific – Sustainable development cargo carriage policy

Cathay Pacific’s sustainable development cargo carriage policy (which was published in 2017) is designed to ensure that the airline will not knowingly facilitate trade in flora or fauna or associate products that may threaten the sustainability of any species. In developing the policy, Cathay Pacific worked with industry associations, conservation organisations, academic institutions and others. The policy has regard to CITES, IATA’s Live Animal Regulations, IATA’s Perishable Cargo Regulations, the IATA Wildlife Taskforce Initiative and the United for Wildlife Taskforce Initiatives.

The Cathay Pacific Greyhound carriage policy was developed with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Hong Kong. The development of the Cathay Pacific shark and shark related products carriage policy was assisted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Trade Records Analysis of Flora and Fauna in Commerce.

Suporting biodiversity through philanthropy

In 2017, the Swire Trust contributed over HK$20 million to academic institutions and NGOs to fund projects that support marine life and biodiversity. HK$23.2 million (23% of total philanthropic giving by the Swire Trust and Swire Pacific) was contributed to environmental causes.

Photo courtesy of Swire Pacific Offshore

Case study

Swire Pacific Offshore – Conserving threatened forests in Paraguay

SPO works with the World Land Trust and Guyra Paraguay in Paraguay. The REDD+ project reduces emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, thereby helping to conserve threatened forests. The project supports livelihoods, maintains ecosystem services and preserves wildlife.

The project is playing a vital role in preserving the rich wildlife in Paraguay that is dependent on the forest as its habitat. Cameras have been installed in several locations to monitor biodiversity. This contributes to the collection of data that enables SPO and its partners to measure and demonstrate the biodiversity benefit of the project and provides a glimpse of the spectacular but shy local wildlife.

SwireTHRIVE approach

It will take time to develop a group plan for protecting and enhancing biodiversity, given the broad geographical spread of our operations. This is how we propose to do it.

Step 1

Biodiversity assessments

We want to understand how our businesses affect biodiversity. Having done this, we will be able to develop mitigation plans. Our businesses expect to have conducted biodiversity risk assessments by 2020 in order to identify biodiversity issues of relevance to their facilities, their operations, and their value chain.

Step 2

Project planning

After doing risk assessments, our businesses will make plans and set targets for internal approval and senior management endorsement. Planned projects may be done alone or in conjunction with other organisations. The projects may be small or large but must be thorough and have a positive impact.

One of the easiest ways to protect and enhance biodiversity is to ensure that such issues are considered at the beginning of any major project. Swire Properties is therefore looking to establish guidelines around how to integrate biodiversity considerations into its new developments.

Step 3

Guided philanthropy

We place significant emphasis on the value and impact that philanthropy and CSR activities can deliver. As part of SwireTHRIVE, we will request businesses to include biodiversity protection and enhancement in their philanthropic activities.

Looking ahead

We are developing a basic but robust biodiversity risk assessment and reporting process in accordance with our biodiversity policy. The process will be designed to help our businesses to identify key biodiversity issues of concern and biodiversity opportunities, to develop mitigation plans and to report on activities.