Sustainable Development

Cathay Pacific commits to net zero carbon emissions by 2050

Our promise today, for a sustainable tomorrow

We’re proud to be one of the first airlines in Asia to commit to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – a challenging, but essential goal in our ongoing efforts towards sustainable development.

“The unprecedented pandemic has shaken the world and showed us that ‘business as usual’ is not an option when dealing with an imminent global risk,” says Cathay Pacific CEO Augustus Tang. “Climate change, potentially a much more disruptive crisis, calls for ramped-up efforts.”

While the aviation industry contributes less than 3 per cent of the world’s man-made CO2 emissions, we recognise our responsibility to lead the charge towards sustainable aviation and ensure future generations can experience the joy of travel.

Investing in Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is a key pillar in our environmental ambitions: compared to traditional jet fuel, it can reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80 per cent. We are increasing our use of SAF, with the aim of making it viable for mainstream adoption. To date, more than 200 tonnes of SAF have been used for delivery flights of our new aircraft from Airbus’ Toulouse facility since 2016.

In 2014, we became the first airline investor in Fulcrum BioEnergy, a US-based company which is a pioneer in converting everyday household waste into Sustainable Aviation Fuel. We’ve committed to purchasing 1.1 million tonnes of SAF over 10 years, which will cover around 2 per cent of our total fuel requirements from 2023 onwards.

Offsetting our carbon emissions

Our carbon offset programme, Fly Greener, gives our passengers the opportunity to purchase offsets based on the CO2 emissions generated from their flight. These contributions go directly towards Gold Standard-accredited third-party projects that actively reduce emissions. We have also been offsetting all the emissions from our employees’ business travel since the launch of the programme in 2007. To date, the programme has offset over 300,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Reducing emissions through efficiency enhancement

We’re constantly working to reduce aircraft emissions, such as by upgrading to a new fuel-efficient fleet and reducing engine use on the ground. Launching paperless flights has also helped us cut back on 4,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

Ground emissions, which includes our fully owned subsidiaries with catering, laundry, cargo terminal, and airport services, are also under the spotlight. We’re committed to cutting our ground emissions by 32 per cent from the 2018 baseline before the end of 2030.

“Our net zero pledge aligns with the requirements laid out in the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Paris Agreement, and provides the focus we need in aligning our strategy – from fleet planning and carbon offsetting to further investment in Sustainable Aviation Fuel and the development of new technologies,” says CEO Augustus Tang.

Full details of our commitment to achieve carbon neutrality are available in our 2020 Sustainable Development Report.