The Environment

Climate Change

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Climate Change

Mitigating the impacts of climate change remains one of our greatest environmental challenges as a business. We are dedicated to delivering on our commitments to carbon-neutral growth by continuously improving the sustainability of our flight operations, and continuing to call for a global industry agreement on climate change.

Key issues raised by stakeholders on Climate Change
FLY greener. Engaging passengers on offsetting. Being a leader in the industry and in Hong Kong and in carbon reduction, offsetting, biofuels, reporting. Footprint of supply chain. Cathay Pacific's overall strategy.
Our Approach - on the ground

We recognise that while the majority of our emissions are related to what we do in the air, we are also committed to reducing our emissions on the ground - this is part of Cathay Pacific's comprehensive commitment to reduce our climate change impacts. We are developing ground-based emissions targets and will aim to implement quantitative emission reduction targets starting in 2011. In 2009, we enhanced our GHG data collection and reporting system for all our 100% subsidiaries based in Hong Kong, and in 2010, we expanded this to include a number of our major outports, with a view to increasing this scope over time.

In December 2010, along with nearly 40 other HKIA business partners, Cathay Pacific joined the Hong Kong Airport Authority's Carbon Reduction Campaign to reduce the airport's carbon emissions collectively by 25% per workload unit by 2015 compared to 2008 levels, where a workload unit is equal to one passenger or 100kg of cargo. This marks not only the first airport wide carbon intensity reduction pledge among world airports, but also the first voluntary, sector wide carbon intensity reduction pledge in Hong Kong.

New Cargo Terminal ready to go in 2013
The following sustainability design features will be incorporated into the design of our new cargo terminal currently being constructed at Chek Lap Kok:
  1. ultra efficient AV Plant (tri-screw chillers using VSD technology with water cooling);
  2. automatic demand control of the chilled water circulation system, air supply in air conditioning system, and ventilation fans in the car park;
  3. demand control of fresh air supply with carbon dioxide sensors;
  4. heat recovery wheels for heat energy reclaim of exhaust air;
  5. T5 energy efficient fluorescent tubes with electronic ballast and lighting control by the Building Management System;
  6. light emitting diode (LED) type exit signs;
  7. heat pump for domestic hot water;
  8. service on demand control for escalators;
  1. automatic on/off switching of lighting and ventilation fan inside the lifts;
  2. building energy management system;
  3. regenerative power in the Material Handling System (MHS),i.e. reuse of energy generated from braking power;
  4. use of ultra high efficiency motors; and
  5. chilled ceiling air-conditioning system in office areas.

In addition, the following renewable energy technology and water conservation features will be installed:

- solar hot water system;

- condensation recycling system for irrigation and flushing; and

- photovoltaic panels on the roof(s).

To identify emission reduction opportunities, we are conducting a study looking at the feasibility of renewable energy and expanding the Group's electric vehicle fleet, trialling more energy-efficient equipment where appropriate, and developing a strategy to phase-out and replace old refrigerants in compliance with local and international requirements. In the past 10 years, we have implemented energy-saving measures such as an automatic lights-off policy and switching off equipment during non-peak hours when they are not used. We have installed energy-saving equipment such as energy-saving lighting systems, occupation sensors, integrated building management control systems, alternative renewable energy from solar heaters, and energy-efficiency enhancing technologies, including a heat recovery system and automatic tube-cleaning system to all seawatercooled chillers. More details are available in the Environmental Performance section of this Report.

FLY greener carbon offset programme

Among our efforts to tackle greenhouse gases, we introduced the FLY greener offset programme in 2007, the first of its kind by an Asian airline. Offset programmes allow participants to contribute to projects that reduce carbon dioxide and help raise awareness among passengers, who have the option of using cash or frequent flyer miles to offset the carbon emissions associated with their flight or make a lump sum contribution.

To date, the uptake has been small but growing, and in line with our peers' programmes. In 2010, we continued educating staff, making it easier for passengers to buy the offsets, and promoting the programme through inflight communications. FLY greener was launched in our duty free inflight sales in early 2010. We also promote the concept via partners such as the CCBF ( and, most importantly, have also reported on the benefits that such projects have brought to host communities in China to ensure that our passengers can see for themselves the positive impacts that are generated from offsetting their emissions through FLY greener.

In 2010, we announced our third purchase of offsets which, for the first time, included two projects that feed into the Southern China Power Grid. They are a run-of-river hydropower project in the Pearl River Delta region of Guangdong, and a set of 95 small run-of-river hydropower stations in Chongqing, Guizhou, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces that link the electricity generated into the Pearl River Delta region. The third project consists of a group of 23 wind turbines in Shandong. Since FLY greener's launch, Cathay Pacific and Dragonair have offset staff travel amounting to 43,300 tonnes of CO2. In total, 3,100 tCO2 ∆ of offset was purchased by our passengers and corporate customers in 2010, an increase of 6% from 2009, including Swire and several other companies in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. Cathay Pacific and Dragonair also offset staff travel amounting to 12,000 tCO2 ∆. All these offset credits are certified under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) or VER Plus. As part of our commitment to provide credible offsets, before investing in specific projects, we carefully evaluate the environmental and social impacts to ensure they provide maximum benefit to local communities.

Guangdong Run-of-River Project

A run–of-river hydropower station and its related infrastructure in Guangdong Province has transformed the lives of many local residents by providing a reliable source of electricity, giving local farmers better access to water, as well as opportunities for employment, training and education.

The project is generating emissions reduction of some 69,757 tonnes of CO2 a year, which is equivalent to the amount of CO2 that would be produced if the power station had been coal-fired.

The run-of-river Lankou hydropower project provides carbon offsets for Cathay Pacific's FLY greener programme

"We are pleased that the Guangdong project is bringing sustainability benefits to the town of Lankou. Our latest purchase of carbon offsets underscores our ongoing commitment to offset emissions from our flights and to provide an opportunity for our passengers to play their part in reducing their carbon footprint."

Mark Watson, Head of Environmental Affairs

Calculate your own carbon offset emissions by clicking on the FLY greener icon:
FLY greener

    Offsets can be calculated based on actual mileage flown or on average emissions divided into three categories:
  • Short (1-3 hours)
  • Medium (3-6 Hours)
  • Long (6+ hours)
    and then by travel class
  • Economy
  • Business
  • First