Sustainable Development Report 2020

Assessing materiality

Assessing materiality

The coverage of our annual sustainable development report is determined by reference to a detailed materiality assessment. The assessment identifies and evaluates the sustainability issues most important to our businesses and stakeholders, for the year under review and in the near future.

In line with the GRI definition, a topic is material if it could have a significant economic, environmental or social impact on our businesses, or could substantively influence the assessments and decisions of our stakeholders.

In 2019, we engaged with our senior managers and employees, and consulted external sustainability experts to understand the topics that matter most to them.

Our materiality assessment had three phases:


A list of potential material issues was produced with reference to the GRI Standards, sustainability ratings questionnaires and the sustainability reports of our operating companies


An external consultancy conducted one-on-one interviews and focus group discussions with members of management and external stakeholders to consider the issues


The results were validated by the finance and staff directors and those with management responsibilities for sustainable development, public affairs and legal matters (see the materiality matrix).

Importance of sustainability factors to the
business and external stakeholders

In 2020, we reviewed the materiality matrix with senior executives and department heads and adjusted some of the issues along the x-axis.

Materiality matrix Materiality matrix
Importance to stakeholders
Importance to business





Click on the materiality assessment map to view and learn more about the material issues

The table below shows:

  1. GRI indicators which correspond to the material issues identified for 2020
  2. Whether they have an impact inside our organisation, outside our organisation, or both
  3. The Swire Pacific group businesses where they have a material impact
Topic GRI reference Impact
Swire Pacific group business
Energy use and GHG emissions GRI 302 Energy

GRI 305 Emissions
Cathay Pacific, Swire Coca-Cola and Swire Properties
Unstable geopolitical context GRI 102-15 Key impacts, risks, and opportunities All
Climate resilience GRI 201-2 Financial and other climate risks All
Environmental impact of products and services GRI 301 Materials

GRI 302 Energy

GRI 303 Water

GRI 304 Biodiversity

GRI 305 Emissions

GRI 306 Effluents and waste
Diversity and inclusion GRI 405 Diversity and equal opportunity

GRI 406 Non-discrimination
Governance GRI 102-18 Governance structure All
Management of water resources GRI 303 Water Swire Coca-Cola and Swire Properties
Material and resource use GRI 301 Materials Swire Properties and Swire Coca-Cola
Cyber security GRI 418 Customer privacy All
Privacy and data protection GRI 418 Customer privacy All
Employee wellbeing N/A All
Workplace health and safety GRI 403 Occupational health and safety All
Anti-corruption GRI 205 Anti-corruption All
Waste management GRI 306 Effluents and waste Swire Properties, Cathay Pacific and Swire Coca-Cola
Impact of technology GRI 102-15 Key impacts, risks, and opportunities All
Talent recruitment and retention GRI 401 Employment

GRI 404 Training and education
Business ethics/ fair business practices GRI 206 Anti-competitive behaviour All
Regulatory compliance GRI 307 Environmental compliance

GRI 419 Socioeconomic compliance
Sustainable consumption GRI 301 Materials

GRI 302 Energy

GRI 303 Water

GRI 304 Biodiversity

GRI 305 Emissions

GRI 306 Effluents and waste
Swire Properties, Cathay Pacific and Swire Coca-Cola
Unstable local context GRI 102-15 Key impacts, risks, and opportunities All

In 2019, unstable local and geopolitical conditions were identified as a material topic. In 2020, the topic was split into two topics. There are still trade tensions between the US and China. Social unrest in Hong Kong has decreased.

Global pandemics are a material topic. They are not in the matrix because COVID-19 did not have a material impact until the validation phase of our original assessment. Because of the impact of COVID-19 on public health and economic activity, we deal with COVID-19 in the Risk management, Health and safety and Communities sections of the report.

The review for 2020 resulted in increased importance being given to cyber security, privacy and data protection, workplace health and safety, management of water resources, waste management, talent recruitment and retention, and employee wellbeing. Employment, human rights, supply chain management and biodiversity were not considered material. We still disclose information about them because they are considered important to the future sustainability of our businesses.

Stakeholder engagement