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At Cathay Pacific, we are committed to putting the safety and well-being of our people and customers first, contributing to the communities we fly to and continually improving our environmental performance.

Below are our positions on some of the pertinent issues that are relevant to our business and stakeholders.

While Cathay Pacific supports emissions trading as one of the interim solutions to reduce aviation’s emissions, we do not support the imposition of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to carriers based outside of Europe for several reasons. These include distortion of the market, additional bureaucracy and costs, but most significantly, no guarantee that revenues generated from the scheme will be directed into funding much needed climate change initiatives.

Since 2008, we have been calling for aviation emissions to be regulated under a global sectoral scheme under the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) - as opposed to regional schemes such as the EU ETS - which we believe is more appropriate for the global nature of the industry.

In 2013, ICAO has agreed to develop the necessary building blocks towards a global market based measure in order to regulate emissions from international aviation for implementation from 2020. It is worth highlighting that this is the first comprehensive agreement on climate change for any global industry.

Nonetheless, we remain in full compliance with the EU ETS regulation but our commitment is towards seeking a global MBM solution that is fair, equitable and avoids market distortion.

Cathay Pacific supports the plan and believes the third runway is of critical importance to the long-term prosperity and well-being of the people of Hong Kong. Connectivity with the rest of the world has made Hong Kong what it is today so we must be clear on how we can maintain and grow these links to ensure the long-term competitiveness of the home hub.

While we acknowledge that aviation has an impact on the environment and climate change, the industry is working to ensure that we are also part of the solution in its commitment to achieve sustainable long-term growth, reduce its environmental impact whilst continuing to generate significant benefits for societies, tourism, world trade and economies.

Substantial reductions in global carbon emissions are urgently required to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Cathay Pacific acknowledges that:

  • Aviation is estimated to contribute to approximately 2% of man-made carbon dioxide emissions
  • Improved efficiency can be achieved through technological improvements, operations controls and improved air traffic management systems
  • Absolute missions will continue to rise as the industry grows

We are already making a very positive contribution towards addressing climate change by:

  • Measuring and reporting openly on our emissions
  • Working with industry partners and lobbying regulators to support route improvements and address inefficiencies in air traffic management
  • Maximizing efficiency through operational efficiency drivers and fleet development
  • Addressing climate change through the development of a carbon management plan and a carbon offset project

We support the following:

  • The important role that carbon trading schemes can play to help secure the required reduction in global carbon emissions at minimum cost
  • The funding of carbon emission reduction strategies on the ground from any revenues raised through economic instruments
  • The leadership by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in establishing a carbon trading scheme for international aviation

Cathay Pacific will continue to work through the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and other industry partnerships to facilitate such action.

Our Climate Change Position has enabled us to clarify our approach towards addressing climate change through three key principles:

  1. Maximising fuel efficiency and reducing fuel wastage through fleet modernisation, technical improvements to our existing fleet, weight management and the implementation of operational efficiency drives.
  2. Addressing inefficiencies on air traffic management through collaboration and by supporting industry lobbying efforts.
  3. Acknowledging the role of market-based measures such as offsetting and emissions trading.

In 2009, Cathay Pacific joined the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG) - an airline-led industry working group united by the need to accelerate the commercialisation of aviation biofuels by developing robust, global sustainability criteria and best practices for the aviation biofuel markets.

The Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group was formed in September 2008 with support and advice from the world's leading environmental organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels (RSB). The group is focused on accelerating the development and commercialization of sustainable aviation biofuels.

Like all SAFUG members, Cathay Pacific has signed a Sustainability Pledge, and believes that a key driver to a carbon neutral industry is advancing and adopting sustainable aviation biofuels. Sustainable aviation biofuels will perform equal to, or better than, petroleum based fuels and will have a carbon neutral lifecycle - production through use. According to the pledge, these fuels should:

  • Exhibit minimal impact on biodiversity
  • Meet a sustainability standard with respect to land, water, and energy use
  • Do not displace or compete with food crops
  • Provide a positive socioeconomic impact
  • Do not require any special fuel handling equipment, distribution systems, or changes to engine design

To mark an important step in our increasing interest in the development and use of biofuels, in 2014, Cathay Pacific announced a strategic equity investment in a US-based biojet fuel developer pioneering in the development and commercialisation of converting municipal solid waste into low-carbon fuels.

According to Fulcrum, jet fuel produced by their waste-to-fuels process will reduce lifecycle carbon emissions when used in aircraft or road transport by more than 80% when compared to traditional fuels derived from crude oil and other fossil sources. This process also reduces the amount of municipal solid waste destined for landfill and resulting methane gas emissions.

Environmental Affairs Department
Cathay Pacific City
8 Scenic Road
Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong

Email: environment@cathaypacific.com