Reporting methodology

This report covers the 2016 calendar year.

The content of this report has been defined by a process of:

  • internal and external stakeholder engagement led by an external, independent facilitator;
  • identification of priority areas set out by aviation industry associations and the use of a materiality matrix;
  • reference to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 Guidelines and the AA1000 Accountability standard; and
  • benchmarking against other airlines and international companies.

Measuring our performance

We continue to report on our progress against our 20 commitments under the Sustainable Development Strategy.

Reporting tools

To avoid ambiguity, definitions of each parameter are communicated across the Cathay Pacific Group to ensure the quality and consistency of reporting. The majority of data is collated via the Swire Group’s sustainability management system Resource Advisor – a database for our operations in Hong Kong covering Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, 100% owned and 60% owned Hong Kong-based subsidiaries. Cathay Holidays Limited and our outports reported separately via questionnaires.

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

The Cathay Pacific Group reported the GHG emissions of each of its 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”):

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

Other principal subsidiaries and associates that are not included within the scope of this report, as outlined on pages 103 to 104 of the Cathay Pacific Group 2016 Annual Report, will be considered for inclusion in the future.

Operational boundaries

The operational boundaries for the reporting of GHGs 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 between 1 January and 31 December 2016. The year 2009 has been used as the base year for comparing the emissions profile of our flights in line with our 20/20 commitments. However, we continue to provide information from 1998 to ensure consistency with our previous reporting. Please note there have been changes in organisational and operational boundaries over the years which may 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. Canteens operated by 3rd parties within our buildings are excluded. In Hong Kong, the CO2 emission factors follow the guidelines published by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (HK SAR) in February 20101. For CO2 emission factors for outport data, references have been made to the International Energy Agency(2010)2.

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’s3 recommended specific gravity of 0.80 kg/L to calculate the weight of fuel. We use the IPCC’s emission factor of 3.154 to determine CO2 emissions from the combustion of aircraft fuel.

Scope 2 emissions

Scope 2 emissions include electricity consumption and Towngas production for our operations in Hong Kong covering Cathay Pacific and the subsidiaries. Canteens operated by 3rd parties within our buildings are excluded. 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 our overall GHG reporting.

Towngas is used in the Cathay Pacific canteen. As this is operated by a third party and to be consistent with previous years, this has been excluded.

Methodologies used to calculate or measure emissions

Refer to Endnote References.

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, energy consumption and greenhouse gas data.

Social indicators

Operations in Hong Kong covering Cathay Pacific and the 100% and 60% owned subsidiaries are included on the Social Indicators table.

GRI Content Index

The GRI Content Index is prepared with reference to the GRI G4 Guidelines ‘in accordance option’ core. 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.

Other matters

FLY greener offsets

FLY greener offsets are calculated as the tonnes of CO2 purchased by all passengers (including staff) who used either cash or Air Miles as a method of payment. One tonne of CO2 had the cash price of HK$25.51 in 2016. The average Air Miles price was 626 Air Miles per tonne of CO2 during 2016. The total tonnage was computed based on the amount paid during the year. Cash received during the year was related only to flights taken in 2016.

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 2016 as the overall capacity 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 by multiplying the load tonnes from the carriage of passengers, excess baggage, cargo and mail on each sector by the sector distance.

The fuel consumption figure shown on the Environmental Indicators Table only includes those generated by Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, for easier comparability with last year’s report.

The ATK of 30,462 million and RTK of 22,418 million used in this calculation are taken from the Cathay Pacific Airways Limited Annual Report 2016.

Recycled materials

In 2016, materials recycled from inbound flights to Hong Kong included plastic cups; plastic bottles; aluminium cans; and glass bottles. Materials recycled by the Cathay Pacific Airways and 100% owned subsidiaries included paper and cardboard, plastics, aluminium cans, waste lubrication oil, glass bottles and printer cartridges from Cathay Pacific City; and paper and cardboard, aluminium cans, plastic and printer cartridges from Cathay Dragon House. The amount of recycled materials refers to those recorded in either recycling vendor invoices or internal tracking records.

Food donation

In 2016, unconsumed food items such as unopened juices, cereals, and pre-packaged food from Cathay Pacific inbound flights to Hong Kong were collected for donation to a local food bank. The amount of donated food and beverages refers to those in the tracking records of the local food bank.

English on Air

English on Air is an educational programme which involves English-speaking Cathay Pacific staff volunteers from a wide range 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 by detailing the different inputs and then proceeding to establish the outputs and the impacts that these have achieved.

We evaluated the effectiveness of our English on Air activities run during the 2015/2016 academic year with reference to the London Benchmarking Group model. Using the areas indicated below, we developed questionnaires covering the areas indicated below and conducted surveys with the participating students and teachers. This allowed us to develop a scorecard providing insights for each of the following 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 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 have been engaging with third party consultants since 2006 to perform focus groups and interviews with selected groups of stakeholders that are chosen by Cathay Pacific and the third party consultants. Previously, the selected stakeholder groups provided comments and ratings on different areas, including

  • emerging issues facing the airline industry;
  • perceptions on the current corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance of Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, and the expected response from Cathay Pacific;
  • our reporting priorities;
  • the stakeholder engagement approach taken by Cathay Pacific; and
  • their views on Cathay Pacific’s Sustainable Development Strategy.

With these comments and ratings, we summarised stakeholders’ concerns into material issues. For each of the material issues, we evaluated the impact of the issue to Cathay Pacific and produced a materiality matrix, which helps to structure our Sustainable Development Report for the entirety of 2016.

Following the end of our five-year stakeholder engagement strategy in 2012, we carried out a comprehensive survey in 2013/2014. One of the objectives of this exercise was to create a baseline and a set of metrics on the following;

  • measure stakeholder familiarity with Cathay Pacific initiatives and performance;
  • assess stakeholder perceptions;
  • identify material issues for Cathay Pacific;
  • determine stakeholder expectations; and
  • evaluate Cathay Pacific’s strengths and weaknesses

The other objective was to develop actions based on these research findings.

  1. Environmental Protection Department. (2010, February). Guidelines To Account For And Report On Greenhouse Gas Emissions And Removals For Buildings In Hong Kong. Retrieved from
  2. International Energy Agency (2010). CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion – Highlights. Summary Table: CO2 emissions per kWh from electricity and heat. IEA.
  3. Formed 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.
  4. IPCC. (1999). Aviation and the Global Atmosphere. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.