Sustainable Development Report 2020
SwireTHRIVE – Climate

Decarbonise our business and
build climate resilience

CO2e emissions 2020

8.4M  tonnes

↓57% from 2019

Group carbon footprint 2020

2030 target


emissions compared to 2018 baseline

2050 target

Net zero  emissions

Climate change is a defining challenge of this decade. The science is clear: to avoid the worst impacts of climate change the world must halve global carbon emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. Achieving this requires unprecedented levels of decarbonisation across all sectors. To put the scale of change needed into perspective, COVID-19 disruptions to trade and travel in 2020 resulted in a record drop in global emissions, but this still fell short of the annual reductions needed to 2030 to meet the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.

Cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a business imperative. But global warming is already shifting weather patterns, threatening water and food supply and affecting human health. To remain resilient, our businesses and the communities in which we operate must be prepared to withstand or respond to these changes. Our Climate Change Policy describes our commitments to mitigate and adapt to climate change.


Our ambition is to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. This will not be easy. We operate in the carbon intensive aviation and shipping sectors, which are difficult to decarbonise without breakthroughs in alternative fuel technology. Jet fuel consumption at the Cathay Pacific group accounted for 90% (over 7.5 million tonnes) of our carbon emissions in 2020. Over 90% of Swire Pacific Offshore’s 2020 emissions came from marine gas oil (MGO). Low-carbon fuels are not yet available at scale in the aviation and shipping sectors.

With a view to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, we are:

  • Setting ambitious 2030 targets to reduce absolute emissions in line with the Paris goals
  • Improving energy efficiency at our facilities and in our operations by using new technologies and with a view to being best in class
  • Increasing our use of renewable energy
  • Encouraging our suppliers and customers to decarbonise
  • Using low-carbon and energy efficient products and materials

Offsets will form part of our strategy, particularly in aviation and shipping. But our priority is to decarbonise our operations by improving efficiency and using new technology and low-carbon materials, products and energy.

The Group generated 8.4 million tonnes of GHG emissions in 2020, a 57% decrease from 2019. The decrease was largely due to reduced jet fuel consumption resulting from COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The Aviation Division accounted for 92% of the Group’s emissions from direct operations in 2020. Disregarding jet fuel, our Beverages and Property divisions accounted for 41% and 25% respectively of our 2020 emissions.

The Cathay Pacific group’s emissions included those of HK Express for the first time in 2020. The Aviation Division’s emissions decreased by 59% in 2020.

Despite including emissions data from significant new developments, our Property Division used 7% less energy than in 2019. This was partly due to energy saving measures in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland.

Our Beverages Division used 2% more energy in 2020 than in 2019. New lines contributed to the increase.

The emissions of Swire Pacific Offshore and our Trading & Industrial Division decreased by 3% and 17% respectively in 2020.

For full details of the scope of our data, please see our Reporting methodology.

Chart data Tabular data

Total GHG emissions by division without jet fuel
(thousand tonnes of CO2e)

Total GHG emissions by division without jet fuel
(thousand tonnes of CO2e)

Property 216
Aviation 155
Beverages 358
Marine Services 106
Trading & Industrial 29
Total 864

Electricity consumption is our second largest source of emissions. We used almost 1 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2020 and generated 621 thousand tonnes of indirect (Scope 2) emissions, a decrease of 5.6% from 2019. The reduction principally reflected COVID-19 reductions in business activity.

Chart data Tabular data

Indirect GHG emissions by division
(thousand tonnes of CO2e)

Indirect GHG emissions by division
(thousand tonnes of CO2e)

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Property 216 205 205 218 204
Aviation 158 157 148 142 117
Beverages 194 216 275 267 273
Marine Services 4 4 2.8 2.4 2.6
Trading & Industrial 46 50 37 28 24

Our 2020 target was to reduce GHG emissions by 8-10% compared with a 2015 frozen efficiency baseline (from which performance is projected assuming no improvement in current efficiencies). We reduced our emissions by 61.6% compared to the baseline, but this was due to COVID-19 related reductions in business activity.

Our target is to reduce emissions from direct operations (Scope 1 and 2, excluding jet fuel emissions) by 50% by 2030, compared with a 2018 baseline. Our long-term goal is to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Target reduction in GHG emissions

2030 target

(from 2018 baseline, scope 1 & 2 only (excluding jet fuel))

2050 target
Net zero

All our businesses have set 2030 targets. They are aligned with science-based targets, nationally determined contributions or, in the case of our aviation and shipping businesses, international industry commitments. Swire Properties was the first real estate developer in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland to set science-based targets, which were approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) in 2019. Swire Coca-Cola’s science-based target was approved by SBTi in 2020. Both companies have signed up to Business Ambition for 1.5°C.

We excluded Cathay Pacific’s jet fuel emissions from our 2030 target because they contribute such a large share of our GHG footprint that even small changes in jet fuel consumption (due to changes in business activity) would affect our performance trends disproportionately and make it difficult to see the progress we are making in decarbonising our other operations. Our airlines are committed to being leaders in the aviation industry’s decarbonisation efforts and have a separate strategy for tackling emissions from jet fuel.

In 2020, Cathay Pacific set the difficult but necessary goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It supports the aviation industry’s target of carbon neutral growth from 2020.

Improve fuel efficiency

  • Improved fuel efficiency by 32% since 1998
  • Took delivery of ten new fuel-efficient aircraft this year, including three A350-900, one A350-1000, two A321-neo and four A320-neo

Support the development of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which has 80% lower lifecycle emissions than traditional jet fuel

  • First airline investor in Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc., which makes SAF from municipal solid waste
  • Committed to buying 1.1 million tonnes of SAF over 10 years (approximately 2% of its fuel requirements from 2023 onwards)

Prepare for Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)

  • Assessed the potential impact of CORSIA and ready to respond once China participates
  • Completed and verified first emissions report, which was submitted to Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department in 2020

Digitisation to reduce unnecessary weight

  • Electronic flight folders (which are digitised inflight manuals) can avoid up to 4,000* tonnes of carbon emissions per year. In 2020, the project received an Innovation Award under the Hong Kong International Airport Carbon Reduction Award scheme.

*based on 2019 activity

Engaging in industry initiatives

  • Participated in the technical working group supporting development of the aviation sector’s approach to science-based targets
  • Member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group Asia and of the Round Table on Sustainable Biomaterials
  • Member of ICAO taskforces on market-based solutions and alternative fuel

Engaging passengers – Fly Greener

  • First Asian airline to introduce a voluntary carbon offset programme for passengers
  • In 2020, 41,134 tonnes of Gold Standard accredited offsets (supporting projects that address climate change and benefit communities) purchased through Fly Greener in 2020
  • Over 300,000 tonnes of carbon offsets sold since its introduction in 2007

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) estimates that around 36% of emissions reductions required to meet the sector’s decarbonisation targets can be achieved through technical and operational measures to improve fuel efficiency. The remaining 64% will need to come from alternative fuels. Swire Pacific Offshore is committed to reducing its emissions in line with the IMO target of at least a 50% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050 compared with 2008.

Improve energy efficiency

  • Latest vessels are certified by DNV GL for Clean or Clean Design (or equivalent)
  • Vessels over 400GT have a ship energy efficiency management plan
  • Use smart fuel management software to optimise performance

Test alternative fuels

  • Assess low or zero carbon fuels for maritime sector (feasibility study for hydrogen fuel in Project Hafnium (2017-19))
  • Explore feasibility of shore power supplied from renewable sources


  • Invested in a Verra certified carbon offset REDD+ project in Paraguay since 2010, designed to generate 10,000 carbon credits per year for 20 years
  • Purchasing other certified carbon credits, providing environmental benefits and social value for communities

Reduce other air emissions

  • All SPO vessels use MGO: a low-sulphur/ low particulate matter fuel in accordance with the latest fuel standard, ISO 8217:2017 and the IMO 2020 low-sulphur regulations
  • Latest vessels have low-NOx main engines

As the cost of electricity rises, making our buildings and operations more energy efficient is a priority.

Green building certification

Our Sustainable Building Design Policy requires new and substantially renovated buildings to obtain the highest or, as a minimum, the second highest international or local building environmental certification.

At the end of 2020, 97% of Swire Properties’ existing buildings were certified green buildings under HK BEAM, BEAM Plus, LEED, WELL, China Three Star or Green Mark independent rating systems. Swire Coca-Cola has five LEED certified bottling plants in the Chinese mainland and the US.

Energy saving measures

In 2020, Swire Properties optimised heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, installed high-efficiency chillers, replaced lighting with LEDs and used a smart energy management platform. Since 2008, Swire Properties has reduced its annual energy consumption by 77.8 million kWh in Hong Kong and 28.1 million kWh in the Chinese mainland, which is in line with its 2020 targets.

ISO 50001:2011 certifications have been obtained for Swire Properties’ energy management systems in all of its Hong Kong properties, and in its Taikoo Hui, Guangzhou, INDIGO, Beijing, Taikoo Li Sanlitun, Beijing, and Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li, Chengdu properties in the Chinese mainland.

Swire Properties – Smart energy management platforms

Swire Properties and Schneider Electric developed a cloud-based smart energy management platform. The platform was introduced in 2019 and will be used in all Swire Properties’ major projects in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland.

The platform uses the Internet of Things, big data analysis, artificial intelligence and cloud computing. It uses building operations data to generate information about energy management and saving.

Since 2011, Swire Properties has worked with Tsinghua University through the Joint Research Centre for Building Energy Efficiency and Sustainability to develop and test methods of increasing energy efficiency and improving the environmental performance of its properties.

Swire Coca-Cola has worked with Tsinghua University to investigate opportunities to improve energy efficiency at five of its bottling plants in the Chinese mainland. In 2020, a refrigeration system at its Huizhou Plant was retrofitted. This is expected to save 7,776,000 MJ, and more than HK$1.4 million in costs annually.

Swire Coca-Cola replaced air compressors at its Guangdong and Zhanjiang plants. Refrigeration and compressor air systems have been improved at its Hefei, Xiamen, Hainan and Zhanjiang plants. These initiatives are expected to save over 2,989,000 MJ annually.

HAECO Hong Kong has an ultra-high efficiency hybrid power chiller plant and phase change material thermal energy storage system. Annual savings in electricity and costs of up to 5,400 MWh and up to 40% respectively are expected.

Cathay Pacific Catering Services has replaced high bay lights, low bay lights and light tubes with LEDs, saving an estimated 200 MWh annually.

Over 20 million kWh of electricity was generated from renewable energy sources at Swire Properties, Swire Coca-Cola and HAECO Xiamen in 2020.

In Sichuan, enterprises can procure electricity generated by hydro, solar and wind power from registered power retailers. Swire Properties’ Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu development became 100% powered by renewable electricity under this scheme. This reduces the development’s emissions by approximately 7,000 tonnes per year. Over 36% of the electricity used by Swire Properties in the Chinese mainland is from renewable sources.

At One Taikoo Place, Swire Properties installed solar PV panels and a waste-to-energy tri-generation system. These are estimated to supply renewable energy equivalent to approximately 2% of the landlord’s building energy.

Swire Coca-Cola – Aiming for 100% renewable electricity

Swire Coca-Cola has set a goal to use 100% renewable electricity for its core operations by 2026. It will install onsite generation systems and enter into power purchase agreements.

Swire Coca-Cola’s Yuma distribution centre in Arizona installed a 324 kW rooftop solar PV system, which is expected to produce over 560,000 kWh of renewable electricity per year. This represents 100% of the energy required to power the building. Swire Coca-Cola installed a solar PV system at its Taiwan plant, which is expected to generate approximately 560,000 kWh per year.

Since earlier this year, Swire Coca-Cola’s bottling plant in Yunnan, which accounts for 4% of Swire Coca-Cola’s electricity consumption in the Chinese mainland, has used only renewable electricity.

HAECO Hong Kong and HAESL installed solar PV systems in 2020, which generated 34 MWh per month on average. Rebates are received from the electricity supplier’s feed-in-tariff scheme for the electricity generated.

Emissions from packaging and the electricity consumed by its cold drinks equipment (CDE) accounted for around 60% of Swire Coca-Cola’s emissions in 2018. To meet its target of reducing emissions across its value chain by 30% by 2030, Swire Coca-Cola needs to reduce its emissions from packaging by increasing its recycled content and promoting post-consumption recovery and recycling. In 2020, Swire Coca-Cola started to use 100% recycled PET for Bonaqua water bottles in Hong Kong and increased the proportion of recycled aluminium in packaging in the Chinese mainland and the US to 10.8% and 77% respectively. All new CDE will have high energy efficiency ratings and use natural refrigerants.

Tenant electricity consumption accounts for 50 to 60% of Swire Properties’ total building energy consumption. Swire Properties helps tenants to reduce their electricity use by offering free energy audits. Since 2008, free energy audits have covered 5.5 million square metres of commercial space, identifying potential annual energy savings of 9 million kWh.

Swire Properties measured the embodied carbon in construction materials used at One Taikoo Place, which informed the development of a carbon accounting tool for new projects. In 2020, Swire Properties participated in the World Green Building Council’s Project Taskforce, which developed and introduced the Asia Pacific Embodied Carbon Primer. The primer includes a case study about how it worked with supply chain partners to adopt low-carbon construction materials at One Taikoo Place and its enhanced material specifications.

All new Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong trucks can use B7 biodiesel and comply with Euro VI emission standards.

40% of Hong Kong Airport Services’ ground support equipment and vehicles are electric.


We need to prepare for the physical risks of climate change. This means designing buildings capable of withstanding extreme weather. Seaports and airports where we operate must be prepared to deal with the consequences of rising sea levels. Climate change can disrupt our operations and supply chains.

Stabilising global temperature increase at 1.5°C will require drastic action far beyond business as usual. Businesses will be expected to reduce emissions and to limit and adapt to climate change, which is likely to lead to stricter regulation and potentially carbon taxes. Energy availability and affordability will be affected. Regulators and investors increasingly expect companies to measure and report their exposure to climate risks to avoid financial shocks.

We have a Climate working group, which supports the implementation of our Climate Change Policy. A TCFD working group comprising sustainability, finance and risk team members was formed in 2020.

We require our operating companies to consider climate change risks when compiling their risk registers, and to take appropriate precautionary measures. Some of our operating companies build climate resilience into their operations. Swire Coca-Cola assesses water access, quality and quantity risks for all new bottling plants. In 2020, Swire Properties studied its climate risks and opportunities and Cathay Pacific held a climate risk workshop for senior managers.

We have started to assess the physical risks that climate change poses to our businesses. We use a specialised cloud-based platform provided by The Climate Service (TCS) to assess the financial implications of climate-related risks and opportunities under different climate scenarios. This assessment will help us to align our climate change disclosures with the recommendations of TCFD.

A low carbon economy will give rise to business opportunities. We are gaining experience in green technologies through equity interests in Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc., Avantium N.V. and NanoSpun Technologies Limited.

Swire Properties – Assessing physical and transition risks

In 2020, Swire Properties studied climate risks and opportunities under different climate scenarios from now to 2030 and from 2030 to 2100.

The study indicated that its properties are exposed to low to moderate levels of physical risk (flooding, heat stress, water stress and extreme wind). These risk levels are attributed to the relatively robust adaptive capacity and mitigation measures integrated into its buildings.

Transition risks (government policies and regulatory, market and technological trends) were studied. More stringent building energy codes and guidelines, and increased demand for green, energy efficient and climate resilient properties could have a financial impact.

The study will inform Swire Properties’ risk management and strategic planning.

Swire Properties includes sustainability considerations (including those relating to climate and emissions) when doing due diligence on projects.

Climate change threatens access to water and its availability and quality. Swire Properties assesses water risks to its properties in Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland and the US. Please see the Water section for more information.

We want to improve the capacity of our businesses, our employees and the communities in which we operate to adapt to climate change. This involves having, and helping to provide access to, information, skills and physical resources. Swire Pacific, Swire Properties and Swire Coca-Cola support the Business Environment Council’s Low Carbon Charter in Hong Kong.

Swire Coca-Cola provides bottled water to people affected by natural disasters as part of The Coca-Cola Company’s Clean Water 24 emergency plan. Within 24 hours of a natural disaster, Swire Coca-Cola will identify the nearest warehouse and arrange delivery, in collaboration with local governments, supporting organisations and NGOs. In 2020, Swire Coca-Cola donated over one million bottles of water and other beverages to local governments, frontline healthcare workers, and workers on hospital construction sites in the Chinese mainland. It also donated beverages in Hong Kong and the US.

Over the next three years, our Climate working group will develop a decarbonisation roadmap to support our net zero goal, will develop carbon offsetting guidelines and will consider internal carbon pricing. We will strengthen our TCFD reporting and will study our Scope 3 emissions. We will build on our renewable energy purchasing guidelines and will facilitate the sharing of information about renewable energy purchase agreements.