Cathay Pacific commits to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050
The Cathay Pacific Group has committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, becoming one of the first airlines in Asia to establish a timeline for making carbon neutrality a reality. The airline’s commitment precedes the release of the group’s Sustainable Development Report 2020, which details the group’s strategy and performance in environmental, social and governance aspects.
“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,” said Augustus Tang, Cathay Pacific CEO. “Climate change, potentially a much more disruptive crisis, calls for ramped-up efforts.”
While the aviation industry contributed less than 3 percent of the world’s man-made CO2 emissions prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cathay Pacific, as a leading airline, embraces its responsibility to lead the charge towards sustainable aviation and ensure future generations can experience the joy of travel.
“Our net-zero pledge aligns with the requirements laid out in the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 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,” Tang said.
The key focus areas to reach carbon neutrality include:
Investing in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)—The group is increasing its use of SAF with the aim of making it viable for mainstream adoption. Compared to traditional jet fuel, SAF can reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80 percent. In 2014, Cathay Pacific became the first airline investor in Fulcrum BioEnergy, a pioneer in converting everyday household waste into SAF. The group has committed to purchasing 1.1 million metric tons of SAF over 10 years, which will cover around 2 percent of its total fuel requirements from 2023 onwards.
Offsetting carbon emissions—Cathay Pacific’s carbon offset program, Fly Greener, gives passengers the opportunity to purchase offsets based on the CO2 emissions generated from their flight. These contributions go directly towards accredited third-party projects that actively reduce emissions. The group has also been offsetting all the emissions from its employees’ business travel since the launch of the program in 2007. To date, the program has offset more than 300,000 tons of carbon emissions.
Reducing emissions through efficiency enhancement—The group is constantly working to reduce aircraft emissions, such as by upgrading to a new fuel-efficient fleet and reducing engine use on the ground. The group is also committed to cutting ground emissions by 32 percent from the 2018 baseline before the end of 2030.
Full details of the Cathay Pacific Group’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions and its progress in sustainable development are available in its 2020 Sustainable Development Report, available here.