2017 Sustainability Report


Turning today’s waste into tomorrow’s resource

In order for our businesses and the environments in which they operate to thrive, pollution must be reduced, and natural resources must be protected. A circular economy, in which materials are recovered and re-used at the end of their life, helps to do this.

We aim to minimise our waste and to recycle, reuse, convert into energy or return safely to the environment as much of it as possible. Treating waste as a resource improves efficiency and reduces costs and our impact on the environment.

We are committed to turning today’s waste into a resource for tomorrow, contributing to the creation of a circular economy, where waste materials are no longer simply thrown away, but are retained and re-used as future resource.

Waste increases with the increase of the world’s population and its affluence. Landfills are reaching capacity. Governments are taxing waste. This increases business costs. The geographies in which we operate are at varying stages of development when it comes to facilities and systems for recovering and recycling waste. By reducing waste, we will reduce the costs of packaging and of waste management and disposal itself. Recyclable waste can generate revenue. As the circular economy starts to take shape, new markets are emerging for recyclable waste material that could form valuable new revenue streams for us.

Group performance

In 2017, we disposed of 11% less waste and recycled 7% more waste than in 2016. Swire Properties (including its tenants) generated more than half of our waste in 2017 and accounted for 33% of the waste which we recycled.

At Swire Pacific, our approach to waste management is based around the “3Rs” principle – reduce, recycle and recover.


We encourage operating companies to reduce waste by improving procurement and operations, and by using less packaging and more sustainable materials.

Cathay Pacific Catering Services (CPCS) produces over 30 million meals per annum. In 2017, Cathay Pacific’s Centre of Excellence team worked with Hong Kong International Airport to analyse data on passengers’ check-in and transit times. The analysis facilitated more accurate inflight meal ordering, thereby reducing delivery times and cutting waste.

Swire Beverages must use bottles, cans and other packaging for its products. To reduce waste, Swire Beverages uses lightweight packaging where possible. In Hong Kong, using less aluminium has reduced the weight of cans by 22%, saving approaching 300 tonnes of aluminium per annum.

Swire Resources (as a signatory to the Hong Kong Green Building Council’s Green Shop Alliance Programme) intends to avoid excessive promotional decorations and packaging, and to participate in waste reduction programmes.

As part of its SD2030 strategy, Swire Properties has a waste management policy dealing with the design, planning, construction and operation of its buildings. It has waste management taskforces in Hong Kong, Mainland China and in its hotel business to develop coordinated approaches for waste reduction and waste diversion.

Swire Properties has the following waste reduction targets:

2017 progress update

2020 KPI

20% commercial waste diversion rate from landfills for its Hong Kong portfolio
By 2020, achieve a 25% commercial waste diversion rate from landfills for its Hong Kong portfolio
Not Available, as there were no applicable projects in Hong Kong that generated demolition waste in 2017
By 2020, achieve a 80% demolition waste diversion rate from landfills for its Hong Kong projects
61% construction waste diversion rate from landfills for its Hong Kong operations
By 2020, achieve a 60% construction waste diversion rate from landfills for its Hong Kong projects

Case study

Swire Properties – Tenant waste charging trial

The Hong Kong government is expected to start charging for waste in 2019. We are preparing for this.

In 2017, Swire Properties charged tenants at Cityplaza and East Hotel in Hong Kong for waste on a six-month trial period. Waste was reduced by 18%. Recycling increased by 15%. Food waste recycling increased by 30%.


We aim to recycle more paper, plastic, metal, glass, construction material, food and electronic items.

Cathay Pacific participates in the International Air Transport Association cabin waste working group, which aims to address airline cabin waste management issues. In 2017, the airline recycled 11,834 kg of plastic cups, 19,138 kg of plastic bottles, 23,377 kg of aluminium cans and 474,432 kg of glass bottles on inbound flights to Hong Kong. Waste on outbound flights is not recycled. It cannot be carried back for hygiene reasons. Regulations often prohibit recycling of waste from international flights.

Case study

Swire Pacific Offshore – Sustainable ship recycling

Almost 100% of a ship can be recycled. But ship recycling is often unsafe for workers and polluting. Swire Pacific Offshore aims to recycle its vessels in a safe and non-polluting way at independently certified and competent yards despite this adding to costs. Any facilities which it uses must comply with the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. It encourages the operators of the facilities to improve social conditions and uses its own people to monitor safety. In 2017, Pacific Bear was recycled in this manner in Alang in India.

“We are very happy to continue to work to build capacity at the best and most willing recycling facilities, and particularly in a transparent way, so that the others can see what is possible and cost effective and learn by adoption.”
Ron Mathison, Managing Director of Swire Pacific Offshore

Case study

Cathay Pacific – Retired aircraft

To stay competitive, Cathay Pacific undergoes regular fleet modernisation to make their fleet more fuel efficient and technologically advanced to better meet their customers’ needs and high expectations of flight quality.

When Cathay Pacific retires an aircraft (nine in 2017), it salvages, recycles or reuses as much of the aircraft as is practicable. When an aircraft retires from its fleet, Cathay Pacific (together with aircraft manufacturers, the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association and others) salvages spare parts and recycles or reuses aircraft parts and materials. Many components can be re-certified and reused by Cathay Pacific or sold to others. Some major components (engines, auxiliary power units and avionics components) can be retained as spares.

Lubrication oil and other hazardous waste is sent to specialist waste handlers.

Under Airbus’ PAMELA initiative (Process for Advanced Management of End-of-Life Aircraft), up to 90% of an aircraft’s components can be recycled, reused or recovered.


The management and use of waste can be potential business opportunities. Our investments in Swire Waste Management and Fulcrum Bioenergy are good examples.

Swire Beverages supports the concept of the circular economy concept in addressing the issue of post-consumer plastic waste. In 2017, Swire Beverages joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy group. The group wants to reduce the environmental footprint of plastics by innovation in packaging and to engage with consumers about better recycling

Case study

Cathay Pacific Catering Services – Food waste

With Food Angel, a Hong Kong food bank, CPCS donates unopened bottled water and bakery products to the needy. 6.1 tonnes of unused food were donated in 2017. CPCS also generates significant waste food processing oil each day. As a responsible business, they dispose of used food processing oil properly in compliance with the law and regulations. Since 2004 it has collaborated with a biodiesel company to reprocess used cooking oil into vehicle biodiesel. In 2017, 31,964 litres of food processing oil were collected and turned into biodiesel.

CPCS donates unopened food and beverages (255 tonnes in 2017) from inbound flights to Hong Kong to Feeding Hong Kong. CPCS participates in the Hong Kong Airport Authority’s food waste recycling scheme, with the waste (approaching 1,300 tonnes in 2017) being converted into animal feed.

Container weight reduction after lightweighting since 2010

Case study

Swire Beverages – Post-consumer plastic waste

Mainland China has banned the import of certain types of waste. This will affect our Hong Kong and USA operations.

Swire Beverages appreciates its role, as a beverage bottler, in the consumption of plastics. It is dealing with the associated challenges in line with The Coca-Cola Company’s World Without Waste strategy.

  1. 100% Recyclability

    The aim of Swire Beverages is for all its primary packaging materials to be 100% recyclable by 2025. Most of them are technically 100% recyclable already. But without local infrastructure and consumer incentives, recycling often does not happen.

    In Hong Kong in 2017, we helped to instigate a broadly representative group of stakeholders, called #Drink Without Waste. This group comprises NGOs, soft drink producers, retailers, and recyclers. The group has commissioned an independent study which will make recommendations intended to keep soft drink packaging out of landfills. The results are due in late 2018.

  2. Use of recycled material in primary packaging

    We can promote recycling by buying recycled products. In 2017, Swire Beverages trialled the use of 100% recycled PET (rPET) for Bonaqua water in Hong Kong. It aims to use 100% rPET packaging for all Bonaqua water in Hong Kong by the end of 2018. The use of recycled materials for food packaging is not permitted in Mainland China or Taiwan.

  3. Innovative packaging design

    In Hong Kong, Mainland China and the USA, Swire Beverages has decreased the weight of its PET containers, bottle caps and bottleneck lengths for packaged water. It is difficult to reduce the weight of packaging for sparkling and hot beverages, because of the pressure exerted by carbonation and heat.

    More information can be found in the Swire Beverages sustainability report.

Looking ahead

In 2018, we are developing a group waste management policy which will guide our approach to reducing waste. We are improving our collection and monitoring of information on waste. We are developing and recommending comprehensive data protocols – including data collection and calculation methodologies – as well as setting operational boundaries.

As part of SwireTHRIVE, we are developing a roadmap for minimising our adverse impact on the environment caused by waste. This roadmap will include developing 2030 targets for the percentage of our waste diverted from landfill and for percentages of our waste recycled, reused and recovered.