2017 Sustainability Report


Use and manage water responsibly

Water is one of the world’s most precious and vital resources. But as populations grow, so does the pressure on water resources.

Our businesses depend on water. Some of them use it extensively. Water stress can affect our suppliers as well as the communities and biodiversity of the areas in which we operate. We aim to use water responsibly and sustainably, and to protect our water sources. We abide by all local wastewater treatment laws, and in many cases exceed them. By doing this, we will protect our own resources and help the communities in which we operate to have access to safe, good quality water.

Water is one of the world’s most precious and vital resources and it is under significant pressure. We are committed to ensuring that we use water responsibly and, ultimately, sustainably.

The demand for drinkable water is increasing. Climate change and increased agricultural and industrial use of water threaten supply. The United Nations expects two-thirds of the world population to be short of water by 2025. The World Economic Forum has identified water crises as one of the risks which will have the biggest impact on the world over the next ten years. Businesses which use a lot of water will be scrutinised and need to address these issues. For Swire Beverages, this is already a priority topic it is committed to leading on. More information on its approach to water management can be found in its Sustainable Development Report. Other businesses, for example Swire Properties, understand that long-term access to water depends on its responsible use.

Using water efficiently and in accordance with best practice will reduce costs and contribute to global efforts to provide clean, safe and affordable water.

Group performance

Water consumption by division (thousand cubic metres)

The Beverages Division accounted for 67.8% of our water use in 2017. In 2017, we consumed 11.05 million cubic metres of water, an increase from 10.9 million cubic metres in 2016. This increase is due to an increase in the operations of our Qinyuan bakery business.

Performance against SwireTHRIVE target
(thousand cubic metres)

*The divisional performance from 2013 to 2016 shown in the chart above is a projection used to create the frozen efficiency curve. For actual consumption data, please refer to the performance data section of this report and previous sustainable development reports.

We set water intensity targets and encourage operating companies to use water more efficiently. We aim to reduce our water consumption by 3-4% from its 2015 frozen efficiency baseline (a frozen efficiency baseline being one from which performance is projected with the assumption of no improvement in current efficiencies). The reduction target takes into account projections of water consumption at Swire Beverages’ recently acquired bottling plants. Our 2018 report will include actual consumption at these plants.

Water risk

Water availability or scarcity can depend on the effect of local climate conditions on watersheds. Each watershed needs to be assessed and managed. Our businesses need to understand local water policies and to engage and collaborate with others about water management.

Swire Beverages assesses water risk for each of its bottling plants. It prepares Source Vulnerability Assessments and Source Water Protection Plans. See our Climate resilience section for more information.

In 2017, Swire Properties started to study water risks for its operations in Hong Kong, Mainland China and Miami, USA. The results of the study will guide its approach to water management and conservation.

Case study

Swire Beverages – Taiwan water stewardship

2017 was the tenth anniversary of a Swire Beverages water stewardship project in Taiwan. The project began as a public education campaign intended to raise awareness of water conservation. Education classes have been held for more than 10,000 students. Community projects are sponsored, including partnerships with NGOs for wetland conservation and rainwater harvesting programmes in a remote area. Opportunities to invest in water conservation in mountainous areas in Taiwan are being explored.

Sustainable water resource management

The Group approach to sustainable water resource management is focused on three guiding principles: Reduce through water efficiencies, Recycle by reusing wastewater where we can, and Replenish water through community and watershed projects.

We manage our water use with a view to reducing water consumption and increasing efficiency. Our operating companies implement a wide range of water conservation initiatives in their operations and buildings, including automatic taps and automatic flush water basins and urinals. They use meters to monitor consumption.


Swire Beverages is committed to achieving world-class water use performance in each of its bottling plants. It uses more water as its business grows. But its use of water has become 41% more efficient since 2004. It has a target of a 25% improvement in water efficiency by 2020 compared to 2010 levels. In 2017, its water intensity, which reflects the amount of water needed to produce a litre of beverage, decreased slightly. This resulted from replacing and repairing pipes, better cleaning and reusing more wastewater.

Swire Beverages uses dry lubricants instead of soapy water to lubricate bottle conveyors (saving approximately 1.1 million litres of water per year) and rinses bottles and cans with air instead of water. Better processes for switching beverage types on production lines in Hong Kong and Fuzhou saved 16.69 million litres of water in 2017.

Companies in the HAECO group implement a wide range of water conservation initiatives in their facilities including automatic taps and water saving nozzles on taps. HAECO Hong Kong uses rainwater to flush toilets. HAECO Americas and HAECO Xiamen modified their toilet flushing system. TEXL modified their chemical cleaning process saving both solvents and water.

Swire Properties monitors its water consumption. It manages its use with meters, water flow restrictors and automatic flush water basins and urinals. At One Island East in Hong Kong, the effectiveness of water flow restrictors in reducing consumption (with sufficient water still being made available) was tested. A low-flow water closet has been installed in the employee common room at the Citygate mall on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. It uses 84% less water and 80% less energy than a conventional toilet. Swire Properties also encourage their employees and tenants to save water. In 2017, their World Water Day Campaign introduced employees to a water footprint calculator to help them measure their water consumption.

Case study

Swire Properties – Water saving in its hotels

At The Temple House in Chengdu, Mainland China, Swire Properties designed a grey water treatment and recycling system to collect and reuse shower water, cooling tower water and rainwater. This is estimated to save approximately 7,300 m3 of water annually and to reduce monthly consumption of irrigation and cleaning water by 10%. Also at The Temple House, and at East Hotel in Hong Kong, water flow restrictors are being installed on faucets in guest rooms. This is estimated to be capable of saving approximately 20,000 m3 of water annually and of reducing tap water consumption by 40%.


In almost every territory we operate in, it is now a legal requirement to discharge water into nature in a clean and pure condition. Some of our operations use rainwater for irrigation and cleaning. All wastewater is required to be treated so that it meets or exceeds legal requirements and can be returned to the environment.

We are committed to wastewater treatment standards which require returning all water that is used in our manufacturing processes to the environment at a level that supports healthy aquatic life.

Swire Beverages saves 121.5 million litres of water every year by reusing water purified by reverse osmosis in Mainland China. Reuse of water used to clean production lines and rinse containers in Taiwan saves 35.3 million litres of water a year. Reuse of water used to clean cooling towers in Hong Kong, Zhengzhou and Taiwan saves 14.72 million litres of water a year.

The principal companies in the HAECO group companies have wastewater treatment plants. HAECO Xiamen uses heavy metal monitoring equipment and detectors to check effluents before discharge. HAECO [Hong Kong] uses treated wastewater for irrigation, vehicle cleaning, toilet flushing and apron watering. TEXL uses treated water for toilet flushing. 8% of water withdrawn is reused.


Watersheds are being depleted and degraded. We support programmes intended to ensure healthy watersheds and sustainable water supplies for the communities in which we operate, with a goal to balance the water used in our finished beverages.

Its aim as part of the Coca-Cola global system is to return to the environment the same amount of water as it uses. It supports the restoration of watersheds, the protection of water sources and wetlands, and sustainable agriculture. Restoring watersheds helps to ensure long-term supplies of water. This is vital for the Swire Beverages business and for the local communities and environment in which it operates.

In 2017, The Coca-Cola Company and its bottlers (including Swire Beverages) replenished 155% of the water they used. In 2017, Swire Beverages replenished 748.1 million litres of water.

Case study

Swire Beverages – Water replenishment

In collaboration with Bonneville Environmental Foundation, Trout Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy, Swire Beverages restored stream flows in Chalk Creek, Utah and Jesse Creek, Idaho. A trout migration route was restored and improved by removing physical barriers and improving water flow. Juvenile Bonneville Cutthroat Trout are no longer trapped in canals when migrating. The irrigation system of surrounding farmland was upgraded.

Swire Beverages and TCCC have invested in a 10-year water replenishment project led by Colorado Water Trust to restore Skunk Creek, a tributary of the upper Fraser River. The project will restore water flows to Skunk Creek, and to downstream tributaries, during the summer months. After five years, the project is replenishing 316 million litres of water annually.

Looking ahead

We are developing a Group Water Management Policy to guide our approach to sustainable water resource management.

We are also improving our collection and monitoring of our water consumption by developing comprehensive data protocols designed to advise our businesses about data collection, setting operational boundaries and preferred methods of calculation.

We aim to establish ambitious water intensity targets for 2030.