2018 Sustainability Report


SWIRE THRIVE - Turn today's waste into tomorrow's resource

Today’s waste is tomorrow’s resource

Reducing pollution and protecting natural resources helps us thrive. Recovering materials and reusing them at the end of their lives helps achieve this.

We aim to minimise waste and treat it as a resource to improve efficiency, lower cost and reduce our impact on the environment. We aim to recycle and reuse waste, converting it into energy or safely returning it to the environment, as much as possible.

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.

As the world’s population and affluence increases, so does waste. Landfills are reaching capacity. Governments are taxing waste, increasing business costs. We operate in different places which are at different stages of development in recovering and recycling waste.

By reducing waste, we reduce the cost of packaging, waste management and disposal. The circular economy is creating new markets. There is increasing awareness of waste recycling, particularly of plastics and post-consumer waste. Recycling waste could become a valuable revenue stream for us.


Waste disposed by division (tonnes)

Marine Services
Trading & Industrial

In 2018, we disposed of 12.3% more waste than in 2017. Swire Properties (including its tenants) generated more than 40% of our 2018 waste. The 11 new bottling plants in our beverages divisions generated much of 2018’s increase.

Waste recycled by divison (tonnes)

Marine Services
Trading & Industrial

In 2018, we recycled 34.1% more waste than in 2017. Swire Coca-Cola accounted for 50% of the waste recycled in 2018.


We encourage operating companies to improve procurement and operations by using less packaging and more sustainable materials.

Cathay Pacific Group

In 2018, Cathay Pacific Catering Services served 35.4 million passengers more than 30 million meals – an average of 82,000 meals for an average of 201 flights per day. It is reducing food waste by delivering meals to aircraft closer to their departure time. With Hong Kong International Airport, Cathay Pacific analysed passenger check-in and transit data in order to determine how many meals are needed on departing aircraft. Meals are now initially ordered by reference to 90% of expected passengers instead of the previous 95%. Revisions can then be made in the period before departures on the basis of more up to date and accurate numbers of expected passengers. All this reduces waste.

With the Hong Kong Productivity Council, Cathay Pacific has participated in a pilot waste charging scheme ahead of the introduction by the Hong Kong government in 2020 of a municipal solid waste charging scheme. The pilot scheme involved 145 flights and dealt with the logistics of implementing the charge at Hong Kong International Airport. A breakdown of cabin waste was done and audited, identifying areas for improvement and providing a baseline for future audits. All findings and data collected will inform its waste reduction strategy in 2019.

Swire Properties

“In 2018, Swire Properties diverted 21.1% of its commercial waste from landfills. Its 2020 target for Hong Kong is 25%.”

Swire Properties’ waste management policy deals with the design, planning, construction and operations of its buildings. Waste management taskforces from its Hong Kong, Mainland China and hotel businesses coordinate waste reduction and diversion.

In 2018, Swire Properties diverted 21.1% of its commercial waste from landfills. Its 2020 target for Hong Kong is 25%. In Mainland China, it recycled 23% of its waste. Its 2020 target is 25%.

Swire Properties is preparing for the introduction of municipal solid waste charging in 2020 in Hong Kong. It has done a six-month trial of volume and weight-based charging with 131 tenants at its Cityplaza and East developments and has provided information about the results to the Environmental Protection Department of the Hong Kong government.

In 2018, Swire Properties extended its voluntary waste charging trial to include food and beverage tenants at Pacific Place, Citygate Outlets, and Island Place, and introduced green guidelines for event management and the production of collaterals.

Swire Coca-Cola

Swire Coca-Cola minimises the weight of its bottles, cans and other packaging. This process is called lightweighting. This reduces raw material usage. Since 2010, it has been lightweighting its aluminium cans and plastic bottles.

Swire Coca-Cola is providing 300 Bonaqua water refill stations in Hong Kong in 2019.

Lightweighting results in Hong Kong since 2010

Other areas

At Swire Hotels used bed linens are used by housekeeping as cleaning cloths or donated to design students for upcycling. Lightly used linens and towels, along with unused or partially used soaps, body washes, lotions and hair products, are recycled and donated to disaster-relief and humanitarian aid organisations. Swire Hotels uses reusable laundry bags at the Opposite House in Beijing. There are recycling bins at EAST, Hong Kong.

Swire Resources is a signatory of the Hong Kong Green Building Council’s Green Shop Alliance Programme. It avoids excessive promotional decoration and packaging and participates in waste reduction programmes.

Reducing waste

Swire Properties – Reducing waste at our community events

At the Tong Chong Street Market, Swire Properties provided recycling bins and, with green ambassadors from WWF, advised on recycling practices. Participants could wash and reuse food containers, borrow utensils and tableware and get discounts from stalls for doing so.

At the White Christmas Street Fair and the annual Swire Properties 10K run, single-use plastic was discouraged and the use by participants of their own utensils and tableware was encouraged. Drinking water refill stations and recycling and food waste bins helped participants to adapt. 10K runners received e-certificates instead of paper certificates.


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

Cathay Pacific is part of the IATA cabin waste working group, which aims to address airline cabin waste management. In 2018, the airline recycled 467 tonnes of plastic, 1,983 tonnes of paper and cardboard and 463 tonnes of glass 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.

At its Two Taikoo Place development, Swire Properties intends to divert 80% of its construction waste from landfills, in order to meet its BEAM Plus ratings requirements.

“In 2018, Cathay Pacific recycled 467 tonnes of plastic, 1,983 tonnes of paper and cardboard and 463 tonnes of glass on inbound flights to Hong Kong.”

HAECO Hong Kong and HAESL implemented waste segregation programmes and better contractor controls to ensure waste wood was sent to an appropriate recycler. At HAECO Hong Kong, the recycling rate increased from 2% in 2016 to 39% in 2017. This level was maintained in 2018.

With St. James Settlement Upcycling Centre, Cathay Pacific Catering Services turns old rice packaging into household recycling bags.

In 2018 Cathay Pacific retired six old aircraft and introduced four new A350-1000 aircraft. This improves fuel-efficiency. It worked with aircraft manufacturers, the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association’s accredited companies, and other end-of-life specialists to salvage spare parts and recycle or reuse parts and materials. A large proportion of components can be re-certified, reused or sold to other users. Under PAMELA (Airbus’ Process for Advanced Management of End-of-Life Aircraft), retired Airbus A340 aircraft were recycled with up to 90% of their components reused or recovered. Hazardous waste, mainly lubrication oil, is sent to specialised waste handlers for proper disposal. A B777-200 was donated to a museum.

Food waste recycling

Swire Properties – Food waste recycling

In 2018, Swire Properties joined the Steering Committee of the Food Smart Partnership Programme to address and provide leadership on food waste issues in Hong Kong. Swire Properties supports Food Angel and the Foodlink Foundation, two Hong Kong charities that donate excess food to people in need, and the Green Council, which raises awareness of food waste.

Swire Properties has guidelines for shopping mall tenants to separate food waste for collection. At its shopping malls in Mainland China, it has electronic scales and refrigerated storerooms to facilitate the collection of food waste from tenants. It gives training to tenants on handling and separating food waste. In 2018, it collected more than 4,500 tonnes of food waste from its Hong Kong and Mainland China tenants for recycling. In Hong Kong, most of the food waste collected goes to the Hong Kong government’s Organic Resource Recovery Centre in Siu Ho Wan to be converted to compost and biogas.

Swire Properties’ tenants in Hong Kong have started to collect coffee grounds for recycling. Collected coffee grounds are converted to fertiliser for landscaping, creating a closed loop system.

Swire Pacific Offshore – Sustainable ship recycling

Swire Pacific Offshore has a sustainable ship recycling policy. It states that all vessels at the end of their working lives will be recycled at shipyards certified by a reputable independent third party. This is in compliance with the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmental Sound Recycling of Ships. This policy ensures that SPO recycles its assets in a sustainable, safe and environmentally-responsible way. A video about SPO’s recycling can be viewed here.


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

Swire Coca-Cola is a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Group. The group aims to reduce the environmental footprint of plastics through packaging innovation and consumer engagement on better recycling practices. Swire Coca-Cola is a signatory of the New Plastic Economy Global Commitment, which has ambitious 2025 targets to address plastic waste and pollution at source.

Cathay Pacific Catering Services reprocesses used cooking oil into vehicle biodiesel. In 2018, it converted 31,964 litres of oil and recovered 1,358.5 tonnes of food waste for conversion to animal feed. It donated 283 tonnes of surplus food from inbound flights to people in need through Feeding Hong Kong. It donated 4.59 tonnes of surplus bakery goods and bottled water to Food Angel, which feeds senior citizens of Hong Kong.

“In 2018, CPCS converted 31,964 litres of oil and recovered 1,358.5 tonnes of food waste for conversion to animal feed.”

Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong obtained government approval to send the organic by-products from its bottling plant to Hong Kong’s Organic Resources Recovery Centre where its organic waste is converted to compost and biogas. It provides wastewater sludge and damaged wooden pallets to be used as biomass fuel by a recycler in Hong Kong. All this reduces the proportion of waste going to landfill. In 2017, 49% of Swire Coca-Cola’s waste in Hong Kong went to landfills. The percentage fell to 19% in 2018. It is intended to reduce the percentage further.

Partnering to recover plastic waste

Swire Coca-Cola – Partnering to recover plastic waste

Swire Coca-Cola is forming a joint venture with ALBA Group Asia and Baguio Waste Management Recycling to operate a plastic recycling facility in Hong Kong. The facility will process PET and HDPE plastics from post-consumer beverage and personal care product containers. Collected containers will be sorted, processed and converted to food grade rPET flakes and non-food grade rHDPE pellets. End-products will be traded internationally, with the intention that the food grade rPET flakes will be used as food grade primary packaging. The facility will be able to process approximately 100 tonnes of post-consumer PET and HDPE per day.

The facility will use up to date wastewater treatment technologies, solar water capacity and renewable energy-generating photovoltaic cells. Its design will take advantage of local wind patterns for natural temperature reduction in the summer. Part of the facility will be an education and awareness area for visitors. The facility is expected to be in operation in the third quarter of 2020.

Plastic Waste

Plastics are versatile, cost-effective, lighter than most materials and important for our operations. But if their waste is not handled responsibly, they can harm the environment. We are conscious of the increasing global concerns about plastic waste and the environmental damage which it causes, particularly to the oceans. We aim to play our part in reducing the environmental impact of plastic waste.

“We are conscious of the increasing global concerns about plastic waste and the environmental damage which it causes, particularly to the oceans. We aim to play our part in reducing the environmental impact of plastic waste.”

This is how Cathay Pacific has reduced plastic use over the years.

  • 2019 No single-use straws or stirrers in lounges or on aircraft
  • 2018 No single-use plastic cutlery, bags, straws or stirrers in the employee canteen
  • 2016 Paper instead of plastic bags for duty-free purchases
  • 2014 33% lighter (and recyclable) economy class plastic cups
  • 2014 Cargo terminal collects plastic stretch wrap for recycling
  • 2013 200,000 economy class plastic cups phased out and sent for recycling
  • 2013 Reusable cooler bags instead of Styrofoam boxes for inflight ice cream storage, thereby reducing usage by 44%
  • 2012 Biodegradable plastic bags used for blankets, cutlery, duty-free purchases (since 2011) and inflight magazines
  • 2011 Corn-starch and cellulose toothbrushes and shoehorns in First and Business Class
  • 2007 Plastic cups and bottles collected inflight for recycling
  • 2002 Rebates for returning plastic hangers to Vogue Laundry
  • 2001 Economy class cutlery washed and re-used

Swire Properties is assessing the types and quantities of single-use plastics in its hotels and restaurants, and where feasible identifying alternatives. In 2018, its restaurants eliminated plastic straws and encouraged patrons to bring their own refillable cups. It has recycling bins in hotel rooms, has replaced plastic with glass bottles and has installed refillable dispensers in bathrooms.

Swire Properties has put recycling bins for umbrella bags and umbrella dryers in its Hong Kong malls and offices. In 2018, it installed a water refill station at Citygate Outlets. From October to December 2018, the station is estimated to have saved more than 5,000 single-use plastic water bottles.

Swire Coca-Cola has aligned its primary packaging goals with The Coca-Cola Company’s World Without Waste to aim for the following:

  • By 2025, 100% of primary packaging will be recyclable
  • By 2030, 50% of all primary packaging will comprise 50% recycled content
  • By 2030, for every bottle placed in the environment, one will be removed

For more information, read Swire Coca-Cola’s 2018 sustainability report.

Drink Without Waste

Swire Coca-Cola – Drink Without Waste

Drink Without Waste is a coalition of Hong Kong based organisations whose aim is to reduce waste generated from beverage consumption and to keep all soft drink primary packaging from entering landfills. Swire Coca-Cola is a founding member. Other members are major beverage producers, bottlers, retailers, NGOs and those engaged in waste management.

Hong Kong relies solely on landfills for municipal waste disposal, which are rapidly running out of space. More than 80% of beverage packaging and around 5.2 million plastic bottles end up as waste in Hong Kong’s landfills. In 2018, a working group commissioned a third-party consultant to conduct independent research into how Hong Kong could effectively manage single-use beverage containers.

Published in December 2018, the research covered an analysis of the Hong Kong beverage market and packaging management practices, a review of international best practice (in Germany, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan and California in the USA), engagement with 75 Hong Kong organisations on sustainable beverage packaging management and impact assessments for two potential future scenarios. The paper recommended pragmatic, inclusive solutions for redesigning, recovering and recycling single-use plastic such as beverage refill dispensers, regulating packaging standards, a cash-on-return scheme and provision of Hong Kong’s own recycling facility.

The working group will create a detailed strategy realisation plan. This will include public engagement and social media campaigns to build community awareness.

Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong intends to invest over HK$150 million in production equipment and packaging in the next five years to support the growth of refillable and reusable packaging such as returnable glass bottles, carboys and post-mix dispensers. Improving packaging design will continue so that primary packaging recycling rates will increase, including adding rPET into bottled water and carbonated drinks in PET packaging. Swire Coca-Cola will continue promoting public education, innovative business solutions and alternative packaging. It will contribute HK$2 million to developing collection facilities, reverse vending machines and other initiatives.

Looking ahead

In 2019, we are developing a group waste management policy, which will guide our approach to reducing waste.

We are improving how we collect and monitor our information on waste. We are developing and recommending comprehensive data protocols – including data collection and calculation methodologies – and setting operational boundaries.

As part of SwireTHRIVE, we are developing 2030 targets for the percentage of our waste diverted from landfill and for percentages of our waste recycled, reused and recovered.