Use and manage water responsibly


Water withdrawal

Group water footprint

Progress against targets1

1. 2030 target compares performance against a 2018 frozen efficiency baseline.
2. Includes subsidiaries covered by our 2030 target. Excludes business expansion and acquisition in 2023. Excludes SCCU which was disposed in 2023.

Companies, communities and ecosystems depend on access to reliable supplies of clean water. Population growth and economic development are putting increased pressure on the planet’s limited freshwater resources, with the UN forecasting a 40% shortfall by 2030. Today, climate change is primarily felt in changes to water, with extreme weather events and unpredictable rainfall impacting the availability and quality of freshwater.

Freshwater availability and quality are crucial to our business operations. We use water in the production of beverages, for cleaning and cooling our facilities, and providing services to our customers. It is important that we have sound water management plans and work with other water users to improve water security in our operating locations and protect this shared resource for the future.

Our strategy involves implementing measures to enhance water use efficiency, recycle and reuse water, utilise alternative water sources, and, where freshwater use is necessary, replenish water through partnerships.

SwireTHRIVE and our Sustainable Water Policy outline what we will do to use water responsibly and protect local water sources for the future.

Swire Coca-Cola received an A- rating in the 2023 CDP Water Security questionnaire.

Our goal is to be water neutral by 2050. This means that, at a minimum, our business activities should have no net negative impact on local water systems. We aim to achieve this by minimising freshwater withdrawal through reduced consumption, leak repairs, and maximising water reuse and recycling opportunities. There are cases where there is no feasible alternative for water. About 53% of the water withdrawn by our beverage division goes into final products, and there is no substitute for this water. To manage the impact of our remaining water footprint, we replenish natural water sources in strategic locations through partnerships.

Reduce our water use by improving efficiency and adopting new technologies

Recycle water and use alternative sources of water

Ensure our wastewater is safely discharged back to nature

Replenish natural water sources through partnerships

Chart data Tabular data

Water withdrawal by division
(thousand cbm)

Water withdrawal by division
(thousand cbm)

2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Property 2,011 1,759 1,778 1,639 1,726
Beverages 14,592 14,572 15,619 14,586 18,617
Aviation 449 417 398 385 345
Trading & Industrial 324 302 311 300 240
Marine Services 81 86 39 - -
Chart data Tabular data

Progress towards 2030 water target*

*Following the review of our report boundary in 2022, the 2018 baseline has been recalculated to exclude Cathay Pacific Group and HAESL.

Progress towards 2030 water target*

2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Frozen Efficiency Scenario 7,120 7,598 7,282 7,841 7,760 7,965
Target Scenario 7,120 7,408 6,918 7,253 6,984 6,969
Property 1,522 2,011 1,759 1,778 1,633 1,726
Beverages 4,663 5,365 5,535 6,105 5,045 5,056
Aviation 477 449 417 398 385 345
Trading & Industrial 347 297 276 283 275 214

To drive efficient water use in our operations, we set a target to reduce water use by 30% by 2030, compared to a 2018 frozen efficiency baseline. To date we have achieved an 8% reduction, we are below our 12.5% target reduction for 2023.

The baseline assumes our water use efficiency remains fixed at 2018 levels but allows us to factor in the projected increase in overall water demand as our business grows. There are trade-offs. Water-cooled chillers are more energy efficient than air-cooled chillers and so reduce carbon emissions. They are a central part of our decarbonisation strategy but will increase our water footprint.

Our target currently covers operating companies, which together make up 99% of the Group’s total water footprint. It reflects our efforts to reduce water use in our operations. The water in the beverages produced by Swire Coca-Cola (production volume or water consumption) is excluded (see replenishment initiatives for how we address water consumed).

The 2030 target was set based on the scope of our reporting boundary in 2020. It does not include Swire Coca-Cola’s new markets or business expansion in 2023, which will be covered under a new target which will be set in 2024.

In 2023, the Group withdrew 20.9 million cubic metres of fresh water, a 24% increase from 2022. Almost all (99%) of the water we used came from municipal water sources. Swire Coca-Cola withdrew the rest from groundwater sources. Swire Coca-Cola accounts for 89% of the Group’s water use. It tracks the efficiency of its manufacturing process using the water use ratio (WUR) metric (litres of water used per litre of finished product produced) and aims to achieve a WUR of 1.45 by 2030. In 2023, its overall WUR was 1.88, up 7% from 1.75 in 2022. Testing and commissioning new production lines in the Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and increased product variation impacted the water demand.

Swire Properties is the second largest water user, accounting for 8% of the Group’s water footprint in 2023. Water intensity at Swire Properties decreased by 9.4% and 26.8% in its Hong Kong and Chinese Mainland portfolios respectively, compared to a 2016 business-as-usual base year. At its hotels, water intensity decreased by 3.5% compared to 2018/2019 levels.

Water use decreased by 10% at HAECO and decreased by 20% in the Trading & Industrial Division year on year.

Water availability is highly location dependent. Each watershed may be exposed to different risks depending on its climatic conditions and changing demand of all water users drawing from it. Understanding location specific water risks can inform a more targeted and strategic approach to water management, allowing focus on sites with the highest risks.

We use the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas to assess the baseline water stress across our global operating locations. About 36% of the freshwater we use is drawn from sources that are classified as high or extremely high stress – indicating that demand from local water users is at risk of exceeding supply. When considering a 2030 business-as-usual scenario, 36% of our water demand is from highly stressed basins. Regions with high water stress in 2030 include locations in the Chinese Mainland (Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu). Hong Kong will also experience increasing water stress. The findings from the water risk analysis will contribute to the development of our water replenishment strategy.

Swire Coca-Cola evaluates site-specific water risks, including water quality and availability, for each bottling plant using The Coca-Cola Company’s Source Vulnerability Assessments (SVAs). Following SVAs, plants prepare water management plans (WMPs), which are updated every five years or as required by The Coca-Cola Company. Swire Coca-Cola aims to have SVAs and WMPs externally verified by 2025. Over 70% of the bottling plants had SVAs and WMPs prepared or reviewed by external water experts.

Swire Properties has done water risk assessments in Hong Kong, the Chinese Mainland and Miami, USA. Availability of water, operational risks associated with water use, the efficiency of its buildings, and the risk of higher water tariffs were assessed.


We monitor our water use to identify opportunities to adopt more efficient processes, repair leaks, install water flow regulators and use technologies that use less or no freshwater. Going beyond our direct operations, we seek to positively influence the behaviour of our suppliers, customers, and other water users in our local communities.

Swire Coca-Cola upgrades equipment, adopt new water-saving or water-less technologies and fix leaks to reduce freshwater demand of its facilities. It has installed water sub-meters at all of its bottling plants in the Chinese Mainland.

While Swire Coca-Cola does not have direct control of its co-packers’ operations, they contribute to the overall water footprint of the drinks it sells. To improve water efficiency of its co-packers, Swire Coca-Cola introduced a system to gather co-packer data on water consumption and production volume from. Co-packers’ performance are reviewed to uncover WUR improvement opportunities.

Swire Properties uses water meters, water flow regulators, automatic taps, and automatic flush toilets and water-free urinals at various locations. Water sub-metering has been installed in its Chinese Mainland portfolio. To further optimise water use practices, Swire Properties continued its partnership with Tsinghua University to study water use patterns and generate suggestions at different portfolios. Water leakage detection sensors have been installed in Cityplaza mall in Hong Kong, covering plant rooms and tenancy areas. Swire Properties also encourages tenants to adopt guidelines on the use of fresh and flushing water and support compliance with the Hong Kong government’s voluntary “Quality Water Supply Scheme for Buildings”.

HAECO dry washes aircraft, using 90% less water and saving more than 860,000 litres of water per year. Water meters have been installed in the aircraft maintenance hangars in Hong Kong to provide insights for water reduction opportunities. Optimisation of lavatory water flow at Xiamen is expected to reduce 180 tonnes of water use per annum.

Taikoo Sugar uses a water heat exchange system in syrup production which can reduce water consumption by around 3.5 cubic metres per tank compared with an air-cooling system.

We use recycled water and rainwater to reduce our need to draw on freshwater supplies.

Swire Coca-Cola uses recycled water and water-free alternatives such as dry lubricants and ionised air where possible. Wastewater from manufacturing is reused for cleaning, irrigation, and toilet flushing. Water used in cooling lines and systems is reused in condensing towers. In the Chinese Mainland, reusing rejected reverse osmosis (RO) water and backwash water from activated carbon filter tanks contributed to the significant freshwater use reduction. Once this best practice is rolled out, 90% of backwash water is expected to be reused.

Swire Properties treats and reuses pantry wastewater and rainwater for toilet flushing and irrigation. Several Chinese Mainland properties including Taikoo Hui, INDIGO, Taikoo Li Chengdu, and HKRI Taikoo Hui have installed systems to collect and treat wastewater and rainwater for toilet flushing and plant irrigation. In Hong Kong, rainwater and greywater recycling systems at One Taikoo Place and Two Taikoo Place, together with the RO system to recycle process water from the cooling tower, total freshwater demand can be reduced by over 52%.

HAECO reuses rainwater for toilet flushing in Hong Kong. In 2023, with the support from the Swire Pacific Sustainable Development Fund, HAECO piloted a new wastewater treatment system in the composite maintenance and repair plant in Jinjiang, Fujian, China. The treatment system has provided high quality water for reuse applications such has gardening, solar PV washing and component cleaning. Feasibility studies will further be conducted to explore additional applications for the reclaimed water.

Taikoo Motors uses an automatic car wash system that recycles up to 40% of the water used in each wash.

Swire Coca-Cola – Leading water efficiency in Vietnam

Vietnam is best performing market of Swire Coca-Cola for water efficiency, with a WUR of 1.43 in 2023. It is also the top performer out of Coca-Cola bottlers in its region. Over the last five years, the team has implemented multiple projects to drive down its WUR by 13% versus 2019. These projects included implementing meticulous leak detection and repair, and optimising the reverse osmosis system. In 2023, upgrading the sand filter generated 600 cbm in water savings. Changing the chemicals used in the wastewater treatment process Da Nang is expected to save 2,800 cbm per year. Optimising the clean-in-place process by using a CIP ball is expected to reduce water consumption by 7,500 cbm per year.

Pollution affects the quality of local water sources, so it is important to ensure that all water we discharge back to nature is safe and, at a minimum, meets local regulatory requirements.

All of Swire Coca-Cola’s bottling plants comply with local water quality regulations and meet the wastewater quality standards of The Coca-Cola Company and the World Health Organisation. Performance is monitored. In the Chinese Mainland, an online monitoring system is used to track wastewater compliance.

Where necessary, Swire Coca-Cola bottling plants and companies in the HAECO group have onsite wastewater treatment facilities. HAECO Xiamen uses heavy metal monitoring equipment and detectors to check effluents before discharge.

We strive to minimise freshwater withdrawal by reducing water consumption and maximising water reuse and recycling whenever feasible. There are cases where there is no substitute for water, such as the water that goes into our final beverage products. For the remaining water footprint, we replenish natural water sources through partnerships.

Swire Coca-Cola commits to returning a litre of clean water to natural water systems for every litre of water used in its beverages. It collaborates with The Coca-Cola Company on community and watershed protection projects to replenish water in the Chinese Mainland. In line with The Coca-Cola’s Company’s 2030 Water Security Strategy, Swire Coca-Cola will set context-based targets. It has identified nine plants located in vulnerable water sources where it will prioritise its replenishment efforts. These locations represent 26% (4.9 billion litres) of its water use in 2023.

Swire Properties – Water Neutrality Study

Swire Properties conducted a study to investigate current and past water replenishment efforts in Hong Kong and six of its our Chinese Mainland locations: Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Sanya, Shanghai, and Xi’an. The study generated case studies on land cover restoration, Water, Health, and Sanitation (WASH) for replenishment purposes, enabling Swire Properties to identify potential project types and partners for piloting water replenishment projects in the future.

Our Water Working Group will continue to improve the collection and monitoring of our water data, refine the roadmap for achieving our 2050 water neutrality goal, and explore partnership opportunities for water replenishment projects in locations where we operate.