One of the key focal points for Cathay Pacific, as a leading airline, is to embrace its responsibility to lead the charge towards sustainable aviation and ensure future generations can experience the joy of travel. The Hong Kong based airline announced its commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, becoming one of the first Asian airline’s to establish a timeline for making carbon neutrality a reality.
Cathay Pacific’s Regional General Manager - South Asia, Middle East and Africa, Mark Sutch said, “While we wade through the detrimental impact of the pandemic, mitigating climate change and finding solutions for sustainable aviation has also been an imminent focus for the business. We endeavour to operate sustainably and incorporate multiple social and environmentally friendly practices into all aspects of our business.”
Below are the key focus areas and progress made so far:
Safety: The airline continues to put safety at the forefront for its employees, customers and other stakeholders. In 2020, Cathay Pacific introduced Port Restart Process enabling the safe return of passengers and employees along with implementing a slew of COVID-related safety precautions for its passengers and people. Going forward the airline continues to focus on maintaining and updating COVID-related safety measures to protect customers and people along with implementing stringent port restart process ensuring the safety and compliance as ports reopen.
Climate Change: The airline made a commitment in 2020 to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, thus aligning the initiatives with both, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Paris Agreement. While the airline strategize its fleet planning by taking delivery of ten new fuel-efficient aircrafts last year, it also continues to devise plans to meet its goals and strengthen its carbon off-set solutions through its Fly Greener programme along with investing in Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
Sustainability in Operations: Cathay Pacific aims to embed an environmentally responsible mind-set in its culture and sustainable practices across operations. It has taken a holistic approach to reduce waste and the consumption of natural resources by exploring alternative materials. In 2020, the airline removed over 43 million pieces or 11% of single –use plastic items and continues to work towards its target of reducing single-use plastic usage by 50% from the baseline by the end of 2022.
Biodiversity: The airline has implemented policies that protect against legal animal trade and serve sustainable seafood on-board. In 2020, the airline’s catering arm served over 58 tonnes of certified sustainable seafood, representing around 55% of the total volume of seafood purchased. Through the airline’s Sustainable Development Cargo Carriage Policy, embargoes have been placed on an increasing number of animals and wildlife products to restrict opportunities for their shipment and thus supporting movements aimed at stopping animal cruelty and biodiversity loss. Going forward, Cathay Pacific will continue to review its Sustainable Food Policy and work with the civil society to prevent illegal wildlife trades.
Conscious food distribution practices, managing infrastructure, inflight waste management, minimal on-ground and aircraft emissions, digitalising systems to go paperless, reducing on-ground engine operations and sustainable procurement are various other measures taken by the airline to fuel its vision of a greener and better tomorrow.
Full details of the airline’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions and the progress in sustainable development are available in the 2020 Sustainable Development Report.