2018 Sustainability Report


SWIRE THRIVE - Protect and enhance biodiversity

Protecting and enhancing biodiversity

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

It is our policy that our operating companies pay due regard to biodiversity. We 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 is a key element of SwireTHRIVE because its loss affects our business. We take positive steps to protect it. Swire Pacific Offshore 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 always do more. We can design buildings so that they better support wildlife. 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 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. Our food procurement practices need to be sustainable. We can conserve biodiversity 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, blue fin tuna or black moss. The policy is in line with the WWF Seafood Guide and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Cathay Pacific Catering Services (CPCS) – Sourcing with care and respect

Cathay Pacific Catering Services (CPCS) – Sourcing with care and respect

In 2018, CPCS purchased 417 tonnes of certified sustainable seafood, representing 60% of its total seafood purchases. This represents an 8% growth in weight compared with 2017. 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 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.

Cathay Pacific has made the WildAid Global Shark Pledge. WildAid supports shark conservation efforts and calls on business leaders and corporations in Hong Kong to join the Global Shark Pledge and help create a shark fin-free Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific first banned shark fin soup in 2002 and in 2012 was the first airline to ban shark products as cargo.

Cathay Pacific 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.

Unite for Wildlife
Cathay Pacific – Implementing the sustainable development cargo carriage policy

Cathay Pacific – Implementing the sustainable development cargo carriage policy

In 2017, Cathay Pacific published its Sustainable Development Cargo Carriage Policy. The policy was developed with reference to international regulations and initiatives:

  • IATA’s Live Animal Regulations
  • IATA’s Perishable Cargo Regulations
  • IATA’s Wildlife Task Force initiatives
  • United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce initiatives

Cathay Pacific’s greyhound carriage policy was developed with The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Hong Kong. The International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN) and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, helped Cathay Pacific to develop its shark and shark-related carriage policy. Any policy is only as good as it is practicable and enforceable. Cathay Pacific engages with its customers and agencies with a view to ensuring that its carriage policies are understood and supported. Cargo is screened to combat misdeclaration. Agents are risk profiled.

Supporting biodiversity through philanthropy

In 2018, the Swire Trust contributed over HK$5.5 million to academic institutions and NGOs to fund projects that support marine life and biodiversity. The Trust supports World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong’s Sea for Future project. The project aims to safeguard Hong Kong’s marine life and to restore fisheries by increasing marine protection areas to at least 10% of Hong Kong’s waters. 31 hotspots have been identified and assessed.

Swire Pacific Offshore – Paraguay Forest Conservation Project

Swire Pacific Offshore – Paraguay Forest Conservation Project

Swire Pacific Offshore 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 to monitor biodiversity. This contributes to the collection of data that enables Swire Pacific Offshore and its partners to measure and demonstrate the biodiversity benefit of the project and provides a glimpse of the spectacular but shy local wildlife.

Photo credit: @Guyra Paraguay

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 achieve it.

Step 1

Biodiversity assessments

In order to develop mitigation plans, we want to understand how our businesses affect biodiversity. We expect our businesses to have conducted biodiversity risk assessments by 2020, so as to identify biodiversity issues relevant to their facilities, their operations and their value chains.

Step 2

Project planning

Following risk assessments, our businesses will make plans and set targets. Planned projects may be carried out alone or in collaboration 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 consider such issues at the beginning of a major project. Swire Properties intends to establish guidelines on how to integrate biodiversity considerations into its new developments.

Step 3

Guided philanthropy

Philanthropy can have a major positive impact on biodiversity. As part of SwireTHRIVE, we will request businesses to include biodiversity protection and enhancement in their philanthropic activities.

Looking ahead

We are updating our sustainable food policy. We are putting in place a biodiversity risk assessment and reporting process for our operating companies. We are designing the process so as to help our businesses to identify key biodiversity concerns and opportunities, to develop mitigation plans and to report on their activities.

Our Head of Sustainable Development has been appointed as Chairman of the Asia Pacific Transport Taskforce for United for Wildlife, the first regional sub-grouping of this initiative. The taskforce aims to raise greater public and private sector awareness of illegal wildlife trafficking issues, and to encourage more transport companies to become signatories to the Buckingham Palace Declaration.