The Environment

Environmental Performance

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Environmental Performance

As a responsible business, effectively managing and continuously improving our environmental performance is important to us. It is our commitment to identify the relevant areas for action and reporting by engaging and responding to our stakeholders.

We are developing performance targets for ground activities, including our CO2 emissions, energy efficiency and resource consumption, to help us better manage our carbon and resource use. These targets will be adopted and reported in 2011.

Key issues raised by stakeholders on our Environmental Performance
Overall performance. Inflight waste. Resource efficiency. Air quality and noise impacts. Responsible sourcing.

Minimising hazardous waste

Hazardous chemicals are used in our ongoing operations, such as in fire extinguishing equipment or paints. Staff receive training and updates to ensure we follow defined handling procedures on the use and disposal of these chemicals, equipment and waste. In order to reduce the production of hazardous wastes, we continue to explore the introduction of more sustainable products or processes into our operation. In 2010, we moved to using chromatefree primer throughout Cathay Pacific and Dragonair's Airbus fleet.

Waste management in our subsidiaries

In 2010, a Waste Management Plan was developed and implemented by HAS, with training included in required induction courses to all new staff. The main types of wastes for HAS comprise chemical, office and cafeteria waste.

Waste minimisation measures include preventing overstocking of items, streamlining document circulation by using electronic platforms and eliminating non-essential printing. This programme has won HAS the WasteWise label for the seventh year running.

Vogue laundry uses 2.5 million garment hangers per year. Through a rebate programme, private and corporate customers return and reuse rate for hangers in 2010 was 64.6%, up from 62% in 2009.

CPCS prepares an average of 60,000 meals per day. In the food preparation process, on average approximately 335 kg of food waste was unavoidably created daily in 2010, consisting mainly of the odds and ends of meal ingredients. In an effort to reduce the amount of food waste, CPCS implements tight food portioning control processes. After conducting hygiene and logistics studies, CPCS launched a programme to donate food waste to a local pig farm. Since the programme's inception in 2008, over 830,000 kg of food scraps have been donated to the farm, reducing the overall amount of food waste sent to landfill by up to 1,000 kg per day.

In addition to minimising food wastage, CPCS also collects and recycles its waste cooking oil to produce biodiesel. Approximately 30 litres of cooking oil are collected each day. Since the initiative was introduced in 2008, this practice has reprocessed over 27,000 litres of cooking oil.

Inflight Waste Recycling (Kg)

Reduce, reuse, recycle inflight

We continue to sort and reuse or recycle newspapers, inflight magazines, plastic and aluminium beverage containers and cutlery. We request that our caterers operate similar recycling systems in their operations where possible.

A recycling system for inflight aluminium cans and water bottles was implemented in 2006, and the airline began recycling plastic cups the following year. In 2010, with the help of our cabin crew, 33,244 kg of aluminium cans, 29,609 kg of plastic bottles and 22,050 kg of plastic cups were recycled on board Cathay Pacific flights. Similarly, 1,477 kg of aluminium cans and 9,052 kg of plastic bottles were recycled on board Dragonair flights.

We have been examining ways to reduce leftover food and have developed protocols to load less food on late night flights. Inflight food waste is reduced by a careful process of planning, forecasting and consultation, and by surveying passengers and obtaining feedback from cabin crew to ensure the right types of products are loaded on board. As a result, we have adopted an improved portion packaging of food to prevent the need to throw away certain types of food and reduce the weight carried onboard.

This year, we also streamlined the materials we bring on board to ensure equipment that can be used for similar meal services are utilised on both outbound and inbound flights. By aligning our services in this way, no unused or unnecessary equipment is being carried on board.

Retiring our aircraft

Following the dismantling of the Boeing 747-200 and 747-300 Classics in 2009, this year we retired one Boeing 747-400. When an aircraft retires from our fleet, we work closely with the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA) to find ways of salvaging, recycling or reusing aircraft parts and materials. A large proportion of the components can be re-certified and reused during maintenance, or sold on to other users. Cathay Pacific is committed to supporting aircraft manufacturers' efforts to improve end-of-life recycling in the next generation of aircraft purchased by the company. In particular, the Boeing 747-8F and Airbus A350-900 have been designed to ensure high rates of material and component recovery at the end of their useful service lives.

Jettisons and fuel spills

The jettisoning of aviation fuel from an aircraft is an extremely rare event. This only takes place when there is a need to reduce aircraft weight mid-flight, so that its weight reaches the level recommended by the ircraft manufacturer to enable it to land safely, for example during an emergency landing. In 2010, 16 instances of fuel jettisons were recorded for Cathay Pacific flights, leading to 897 tonnes of fuel being released. There were no such cases from Dragonair. In an emergency, fuel can be released from the aircraft's wingtips and, when activated from the cockpit, a fuel dump system can release fuel into the air, if necessary. It is recommended that jettisoning fuel is carried out over the sea, or, if this is not possible, at above 10,000 feet to allow it to evaporate before it reaches the ground.

Fuel spills refer to the accidental spillage of fuel at airport sites. In 2010, there were three major spills reported to regulators, including one case in Hong Kong and two at outports. For safety purposes, a 'major' spill is defined as an incident involving 20 litres or more fuel, or covering an area of more than five square metres. These are cleaned up using a liquid vacuum machine.