Return to Stories
New single-use plastic reduction target amongst sustainability goals

New single-use plastic reduction target amongst sustainability goals

Cathay Pacific’s Sustainable Development Report charts milestones in areas of environmental, social and governance

The Cathay Pacific Group released its 2019 Sustainable Development Report, providing a comprehensive overview of Cathay Pacific and its subsidiaries’ approach and performance in the areas of environmental, social and governance.

Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Officer Augustus Tang writes: “At the time of preparing this report, a public health emergency has rocked the global economy. It feels more important than ever to foster positivity, to protect our people, to strengthen our communities and to confront the major challenges we face. We are very determined to play our part in this hugely important undertaking; one which requires us to be financially successful but in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. Our commitment to developing sustainably with transparency and accountability is undiminished.”

With a focus on climate change, the efficient use of resources, waste management, and supporting our people and community, the Report sets out the Group’s efforts in moving towards greener aviation. Some highlights from 2019 include:

New single-use plastic reduction target: We have set the target to reduce our single-use plastic (SUP) footprint by 50% by the end of 2022, removing nearly 200 million pieces of SUP from our operations annually. In 2019, we removed more than 32 million pieces of SUP from our annual operations. We continue to explore closed-loop opportunities and alternative materials to replace other single-use plastic items.

Resources management: Our vision is to reduce our reliance on resources when possible, and aim to capture and reuse the value in materials when they have served their primary purpose. From our flights, we recycled nearly 2,500 tonnes of waste and donated 563 tonnes of surplus food to charities. The carpets in our aircraft are made from regenerated nylon waste materials. We also recycle or repurpose around 90% of all aircraft we retire.

Sustainable aviation: We have introduced new efficiency initiatives, added six new, more fuel-efficient Airbus A350s to our fleet. Cathay Pacific is committed to buying 1.1 million tonnes of Sustainable Aviation Fuel over 10 years. Since 2016, all 34 brand new Airbus A350 aircraft have been delivered from Toulouse to Hong Kong using a blend of biofuel made from sustainable sugar feedstock. Our efforts have yielded a 27% cumulative improvement in fuel efficiency since 1998.

Carbon offsetting: In 2019, a total of 33,922 tonnes of carbon emission produced by our operations were offset by our voluntary carbon offset programme, Fly Greener. To extend the reach of Fly Greener, for two months in 2019, we tripled all carbon offset made by our customers globally. In the Netherlands, we also partner with the travel agency Travel Essence that is committed to offsetting all their customers’ travels. Since the beginning of this partnership, 55,000 tonnes of carbon has been offset through Fly Greener.

Diversity and inclusion: Our core vision is to be one of the most progressive airline groups in the world. Initiatives such as the Cathay Female Pilot Advisory Group, Cathay Women’s Network, and Fly With Pride are amongst activities that map to our key focus areas that include gender, LGBT+, and intergenerational differences.

Plant-based ingredients: We became the world’s first airline to incorporate OmniPork – a plant-based protein – in our inflight menu. Since 2018, our award-winning The Pier First Class Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport has been offering Beyond Meat as a plant-based alternative for recipes.

For more information, please read the full Sustainability Development Report 2019 at