2018 Sustainability Report


SWIRE THRIVE - Use and manage water responsibly

Responsible water management

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, our communities and the biodiversity of the areas in which we operate.

We aim to use water responsibly and sustainably and 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 that will have the biggest impact on the world over the next ten years. Businesses that use a lot of water will be scrutinised and will need to address these issues. Our businesses understand that their long-term access to water depends on their responsible use of this resource.

For Swire Coca-Cola, this is already a priority. More information on its approach to water management is in its Sustainable Development Report.

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


In 2018, we consumed 17.13 million m3 of water, a 38% increase from 2017. This increase is mainly due to the inclusion of 11 additional bottling plants at Swire Coca-Cola. Swire Coca-Cola accounts for 78.5% of our water use.

Water consumption at Swire Properties increased due to the inclusion of the US Miami portfolio in this year’s reporting boundary. Water consumption at the Trading & Industrial division decreased, mainly due to the disposal of the Swire Pacific Cold Storage business in August 2018. Water consumption at the Marine Services division decreased, due to the reduction in dock work at Hongkong United Dockyards. Water consumption at Swire Pacific Offshore is immaterial and is not included in the report.

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 Coca-Cola’s recently acquired bottling plants. We exceeded our 2018 target by 2.63%.

Water consumption by divison (thousand cubic metres)

Performance against SwireTHRIVE target (thousand cubic metres)

Water risk

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that for every 1°C increase in global temperature, 7% of the world’s population face decreased freshwater availability. Water availability is dependent on local climate conditions in the watershed. Climate change can disrupt the natural water cycle. Our businesses must understand local policies and collaborate with others to facilitate water management.

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

In 2018, Swire Properties studied its exposure to the following water risks.

  • physical risks associated with water stress and low groundwater availability
  • regulatory risks from new regulations on water use
  • operational risks associated with water efficiency in its buildings
  • economic risks from higher water tariffs

The study’s findings will be incorporated into its climate risk assessment.

Source vulnerability assessments

Swire Coca-Cola – Source vulnerability assessments

The majority of Swire Coca-Cola’s operations are in areas of medium-to-high water risk, indicating the need for efficient operation in order avoid a negative impact on water resources. Below are some water risk maps.

Managing water resources requires a local approach, including understanding local policies and collaboration with others. Swire Coca-Cola makes Source Vulnerability Assessment and Source Water Protection Plans in line with this approach.

Swire Coca-Cola’s US operations are in dry areas, where the principal water risk is scarcity. Water quality is the principal risk in Mainland China. See the water section of Swire Coca-Cola’s sustainability report for more information.

Sustainable water resource management

The Group has three guiding principles for water resource management: Reduce through water efficiency, Recycle by reusing wastewater where possible, and Replenish water through community and watershed projects.


Swire Coca-Cola’s bottling plants are committed to achieving world-class water use performance.

“In 2018, Swire Coca-Cola’s water use ratio (WUR) decreased to 1.74 from 1.77 in 2017.”

In 2018, Swire Coca-Cola’s water use ratio (WUR), which reflects the amount of water needed to produce one litre of beverage, decreased to 1.74 from 1.77 in 2017. The WUR varies by market. More water is used (because of the need for cleaning) if there is more switching from the manufacture of one product to another. There is more such switching (and therefore a higher WUR) in Hong Kong and Taiwan than in Mainland China and the US.

HAECO group companies use automatic taps and water-saving nozzles. HAECO Hong Kong uses rainwater to flush toilets. HAECO Xiamen and HAECO Americas have modified their toilet flushing systems to use less water. TEXL modified its chemical cleaning process to reduce the use of solvents and water.

Swire Properties has developed guidelines on fresh and flush water to aid its compliance with the Hong Kong government’s “Quality Water Supply Scheme for Buildings” so as to encourage employees and tenants to save water. Following tests designed to reduce water consumption at its One Island East development the previous year, in 2018 Swire Properties installed water flow restrictors in some of its shopping malls and office buildings. It monitors consumption using water meters, water flow restrictors, automatic taps and automatic flush water basins and urinals.

Swire Coca-Cola – Water-saving measures

Swire Coca-Cola – Water-saving measures

Swire Coca-Cola’s bottling plants minimise water consumption during the manufacturing process by implementing several measures.

At Swire Coca-Cola, dry lubricants have replaced soapy water to help conveyor belts move cans and bottles along production lines. Ionised air is used for rinsing instead of water when switching a production line from one beverage type to another.

Swire Coca-Cola’s Jiangxi bottling plants have introduced ultraviolet disinfection, which will save 7,200 m³ of water per year. Upgraded sub-meters are being installed in water-intensive areas in Mainland China.


We discharge water into nature in a clean and pure condition that meets or exceeds legal requirements in almost every territory in which we operate. We are committed to wastewater treatment standards which require returning all water used in our manufacturing processes to the environment at a level that supports healthy aquatic life.

Swire Coca-Cola’s bottling plants in Mainland China and Hong Kong have their own on-site wastewater treatment systems. Treated wastewater is reused in cooling towers, cleaning, irrigation and toilet flushing. Backwash water is sent to condensing towers from pump seal cooling lines and ozone generator cooling systems for reuse.

In 2018, Swire Coca-Cola recycled 886.4 million litres of water, 195 million litres more than in 2017. Swire Coca-Cola considers its need for wastewater treatment based on quality and reuse purpose. It adheres to The Coca-Cola Company and World Health Organisation standards, and any local requirements when discharging wastewater from bottling plants.

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, with 8% of water withdrawn being reused.

Cathay Pacific Catering Services collects condensate water from air handling units for use by chillers. This recovers 730 tonnes of water annually (representing 0.15% of its total water consumption), generates 9,000 kw/yr, and reduces CO2 by 4.6 tonne/yr.

Some of our operations use rainwater for irrigation and cleaning.

Water-saving in its property portfolio

Swire Properties – Water-saving in its property portfolio

In Hong Kong, Swire Properties installed a grey water treatment and recycling system at Oxford House in Taikoo Place to collect, treat and reuse kitchen wastewater from office tenants for irrigation and car park cleaning. It estimates that this system can recycle 1,825 m³ of grey water annually.

In 2018, Swire Properties installed around 500 high-efficiency water flow restrictors for bathroom faucets at Taikoo Li Sanlitun and INDIGO in Beijing, lowering each faucet’s flow rate by around 60%. It has installed a rainwater recycling system at Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu to collect rainwater for flushing and irrigation. The system is capable of recycling 6,300 m³ of rainwater annually.


We support programmes that ensure healthy watersheds and sustainable water supplies for the communities in which we operate with the goal of balancing water used in our finished beverages.

Swire Coca-Cola has collaborated with The Coca-Cola Company to establish water replenishment projects in Mainland China and the USA. Its goal is to return the same amount of clean water to natural water systems as it uses in its beverages. The projects helped Swire Coca-Cola to fulfill this objective, with the additional benefits of local community engagement, water and soil erosion control, greater support for sustainable agriculture and wetland protection and rehabilitation. Swire Coca-Cola’s treated water has helped replenish Shanghai’s Chongming Dongtan Wetland, home to migratory waterbirds.

Swire Coca-Cola – Willamette river water replenishment project in Oregon, USA

Swire Coca-Cola supports the ecological recovery of Willamette watershed by supporting the costs of habitat management for The Bonneville Environmental Foundation and by replenishing the Willamette River with 121 million litres of treated water every year.

The programme comprises four projects along the river to improve water quality and quantity and develop a healthy ecosystem that can support wildlife. The programme is supported by other organisations and offers benefits to the community by providing volunteering opportunities to the general public.

Looking ahead

We are finalising a group water management policy. The policy will guide our approach to sustainable water resource management. We are improving the collection and monitoring of our water consumption data with data protocols. These provide operational boundaries and preferred calculation methods. We aim to establish ambitious water intensity targets for 2030.