Reporting Methodology

Basis of Preparation of the 2011 Sustainable Development Report:

a) Reporting tools

To avoid ambiguity, definitions of each parameter are communicated across the Cathay Pacific Group to ensure the quality and consistency of reporting. Data is collated via Swire's Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) Database for our operations in Hong Kong covering Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, 100% owned and 60% owned Hong Kong-based subsidiaries. Cathay Holidays Limited and outports reported separately via questionnaires.

b) GHG Emissions Accounting and Reporting Policies

The inventory of our greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions is reported in accordance with the World Resources Institute and World Business Council on Sustainable Development’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol (2004, Revised Editions).

Organisational boundaries

Cathay Pacific Group reported the greenhouse gas emissions of each of the subsidiaries below in proportion to their ownership percentage. The organisational boundaries for the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions include Cathay Pacific Airways and the following 100% and 60% owned Hong Kong-based companies (the “subsidiaries”):

  • Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Limited (KA)
  • Cathay Holidays Limited (CHL)
  • Cathay Pacific Catering Services (H.K.) Limited (CPCS)
  • Hong Kong Airport Services Limited (HAS)
  • Vogue Laundry Service Limited (VLS)
  • AHK Air Hong Kong Limited (AHK) (60% owned)

Other principal subsidiaries, as outlined on pages 96 to 97 of the Cathay Pacific Group 2011 Annual Report that are not included within the scope of this report, will be considered for inclusion in the future, where relevant.

Operational boundaries

The operational boundaries for the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions are as follows:

  • Scope 1 – Direct GHG emission, including global CO2 emissions from flights, ground vehicles and Towngas combustion
  • Scope 2 – Electricity and Towngas (production) indirect GHG emissions

The reporting period of the GHG data is the twelve-month period of 1 January to 31 December 2011.  Consistent with our 2010 Report, the 2011 Report uses 1998 as the base year for comparing the emissions profile of our flights over time. Please note there have been changes in organisation and operational boundaries over the years which will impact comparability.

Scope 1 emissions

Scope 1 emissions include fuel and Towngas usage from ground-based activities in Hong Kong covering Cathay Pacific and the subsidiaries.  In Hong Kong, the CO2 emission factors used follow the guidelines published by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HK SAR) Government in February 2010i. For CO2 emission factors for outport data, references have been made to the International Energy Agency (2010)ii.

In respect of our GHG emissions from aircraft fuel consumption, our scope includes all flight activities, including testing, training flights, dry lease and wet lease. As fuel density varies according to a number of factors, we use the Joint Inspection Group’siii recommended specific gravity of 0.80 kg/L to calculate the weight of fuel. We use the IPCC’s emission factor of 3.15iv to determine CO2 emissions from the combustion of aircraft fuel.

Scope 2 emissions

Our scope includes electricity consumption and Towngas production for our operations in Hong Kong covering Cathay Pacific and the subsidiaries. Emission factors used in our scope follow the guidelines published by the EPD of the HK SAR Government in February 2010 and the International Energy Agency (2010).

For GHGs, other than CO2, others including CH4, N2O, PFCs and SFs are either not applicable or not material to the overall GHG reporting.

Towngas is also used in the Cathay Pacific canteen. As this is operated by a third party, consistent with the previous year, it is specifically excluded.

Methodologies used to calculate or measure emissions

Refer to Endnote References.

c) Other indicators

Environmental indicators

The scope of this year’s reported resource usage includes operations in Hong Kong covering Cathay Pacific, the 100% and 60% owned subsidiaries, and five of our outports which were able to provide auditable numbers. We will continue to work on increasing the scope to cover all major outports in future reports.

Social indicators

Operations in Hong Kong covering Cathay Pacific and the 100% subsidiaries are included on the Social Indicators table. 

d) GRI Content Index

The GRI Content Index is prepared with reference to the applicable presentation requirements to meet the GRI G3 Guidelines V.3.1 A+ application level. The GRI content index does not reflect actual implementation of CX's sustainable development initiatives nor the value or quality of the report and its content. 

e) Other matters

FLY greener offsets

FLY greener offsets are calculated as the tonnes of CO2 purchased by all passengers (including staff), using either cash or Air Miles as a method of payment. One tonne of CO2 had a cash price of HK$54.04 in during the year ended 31 December 2011.  The average Air Miles price was 1,685.6 Air Miles per tonne of CO2 during the year ended 31 December 2011. The total tonnage was computed based on the amount paid during the year.  Cash received during the year related to flights taken in 2010 to 2011.

Fuel efficiency

Fuel efficiency is calculated as fuel usage per available tonne kilometre (ATK).  ATK is defined in the Cathay Pacific Airways Limited Annual Report 2011 as overall capacity, measured in tonnes available for the carriage of passengers, excess baggage, cargo and mail on each sector multiplied by the sector distance.

RTK is defined as traffic volume, measured in load tonnes from the carriage of passengers, excess baggage, cargo and mail on each sector multiplied by the sector distance.

The fuel consumption figure shown on the Environmental Indicators Table only includes Cathay Pacific and Dragonair for comparability with last year’s report.

ATK of 26,383 million and RTK of 19,309 million used in this calculation are taken from the Cathay Pacific Airways Limited Annual Report 2011.

Recycled materials

In 2011, materials recycled from inbound flights to Hong Kong include plastic cups; plastic bottles; aluminium cans; and glass bottles (starting from September 2011). Materials recycled by the Cathay Pacific Airways and 100% owned subsidiaries include paper and cardboard; plastics; aluminium cans; waste lubrication oil; and printer cartridges. The amount of recycled materials refers to those recorded in either recycling vendor invoices or internal tracking records.

English on Air

English on Air is an educational programme which involves English-speaking Cathay Pacific staff volunteers from a wide variety of nationalities and backgrounds who encourage local students to speak English. Participating students are invited to Cathay Pacific City to meet and chat with volunteers during English-speaking sessions.

London Benchmarking Group

The London Benchmarking Group model is used by companies to assess and report on the value and achievements of their corporate community investment. It takes the form of a matrix that helps to summarise, and quantify, the achievements of a community activity. It breaks down the elements of the activity, detailing the different inputs, then going on to establish the outputs and, eventually, the impacts that these have achieved.

We evaluated the effectiveness of our English on Air activities run during October and November 2011 with reference to the London Benchmarking Group model starting from the 2011/12 academic year (i.e. September 2011).  We developed questionnaires covering the areas indicated below and conducted surveys with the participating students and teachers in order to develop a scorecard of these areas.

  • Leverage company resources
  • English opportunities
  • Increase confidence
  • School partnership
  • Awareness of aviation and Cathay Pacific Airways

Materiality matrix

The materiality matrix plots our corporate social responsibilities issues in terms of two dimensions: the importance of the issue to our stakeholders and the impact of the issue to Cathay Pacific.  In order to develop this we engaged with a third party consultant to perform focus groups and interviews on the selected group of stakeholders, chosen by Cathay Pacific and the third party consultant. The selected stakeholder groups provided comments on the six areas listed below and rated how their comments are important to them.

  • Emerging issues facing the airline industry in the future
  • Perceptions on the current corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance of CX and Dragonair, including the seven aspects: environment, airline safety, customer satisfaction, supply chain management, employee welfare, community development, and corporate governance.
  • Expected responses from CX
  • Reporting priorities
  • Stakeholder engagement approach taken by CX
  • Views on the five areas of CX’s sustainable development strategy

With the comments and rating, we summarised stakeholders’ concerns into material issues. For each of the material issues, we evaluated the impact of the issue to CX and produced a materiality matrix, which helps to structure our Sustainable Development Report for the year ended 31 December 2011.

2011 action items

The report includes details of commitments included in the 2010 Sustainable Development Report and the actions Cathay Pacific have taken in response to these.

IFE video

Refers to an in-flight entertainment video entitled “Cathay Pacific Working Towards a Sustainable Future” which covers a range of activities including new aircraft technology to help reduce emissions, maintenance, inflight catering and recycling, community engagement, carbon offsetting and sustainable biofuels.

SMS e-Learning package and knowledge test

Refers to an e-learning package with an assessment test available to all Cathay Pacific staff as part of the requirements pertaining to Safety Management System education and training.

Boeing 777 aircraft mock up

Refers to the interior fit-out model of a Boeing 777-300ER passenger airliner, with First, Business and Economy Class seats, for crew member training.

iEnvironmental Protection Department. (2010, February). Guidelines To Account For And Report On Greenhouse Gas Emissions And Removals For Buildings In Hong Kong. Retrieved from

iiInternational Energy Agency (2010). CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion - Highlights. Summary Table: CO2 emissions per kWh from electricity and heat. IEA.

iiiFormed by international oil companies, the Joint Inspection Group performs regular inspections of their airport facilities to ensure that they are operated in accordance with their procedures for handling aviation fuel at airports and upstream aviation fuel facilities.

ivIPCC. (1999). Aviation and the Global Atmosphere. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Font Size
  • Sustainable Development Report 2010[website | pdf]
  • Sustainable Development Report 2009[website | pdf]
  • Sustainable Development Report 2008[pdf]
  • Sustainable Development Report 2007[pdf]
  • Sustainable Development Report 2006[pdf]
  • Sustainable Development Report 2005[pdf]
  • Sustainable Development Report 2004[pdf]
  • Sustainable Development Report 2003[pdf]