ISSUE 13 l MARCH 2023

Prospects for 2023

With the relaxation of travel restrictions and the launch of the Government’s global tourism campaign, we are delighted to welcome back travellers from around the world and provide them with an enjoyable travel experience at HKIA. As we resume operations, we will continue to work closely with our business partners to ensure that sustainability remains at the forefront of our operations. Recently, we are proud to have achieved Airports Council International’s Airport Carbon Accreditation Level 4 “Transformation” – a noteworthy advancement from our previous ACA Level 3 “Optimization” recognition. In addition to achieving this new accreditation, I am pleased to provide the following updates on our key initiatives:

  • Second green bond issuance – we received an overwhelming response on the US$3 billion bond sale. The five-year tranche comprises US$1 billion green bond which specifically earmarks the proceeds to be used for projects in the Eligible Project Categories set out in AAHK’s Sustainable Finance Framework.
  • Senior Executive Roundtable – the luncheon event will resume this year, where we bring together leaders of our airport community to discuss the latest trends in carbon management. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to engage with our peers on this important topic.
  • Continuous contribution to marine ecology – we have completed the 12-month monitoring programmes to evaluate the effectiveness of the artificial reef and shellfish reef deployment pilots. Further details can be found in the ‘Spotlight’ section.
  • Food TranSmarter – a Food TranSmarter has been installed in our HKIA Community Building. It handles food waste from the new staff canteen and restaurant and converts food waste into slurry on-site for delivery to Government facilities for biogas production and electricity generation off-site. 
  • Awards and Recognitions – we are delighted to share our recent achievements. These awards showcase AAHK's sustainability leadership. 
    • Hong Kong Awards for Environmental Excellence 2021 – Gold Award - Public and Community Services. This is the fifth time AAHK has won this Hong Kong's most prestigious environmental award.
    • Sustainalytics’ 2023 Top-Rated ESG Companies List – Recognized by Sustainalytics as one of the top 50 companies in the Regional Top-Rated category of the 2023 Top-Rated ESG Companies.
    • The Asset Triple A Country Awards – AAHK’s inaugural green bond was recognised as the "Best green bond – Quasi-government" at the award for Sustainable Finance 2022.

Progressing in 2023, we look forward to exploring new opportunities to collaborate and innovate together with our airport business partners to drive positive change and create a more sustainable and resilient airport. 

Peter Lee 
General Manager, Sustainability 
Airport Authority Hong Kong  

Artificial reef and shellfish reef deployment pilots show way forward

Q & A with Martin Putnam, Senior Manager, Biodiversity, AAHK

Q: What is AAHK's strategy for enhancing marine ecology? 

As part of the Three-Runway System (3RS) Project EIA approval process, AAHK is committed to formulating and implementing a Marine Ecology and Fisheries Enhancement Strategy (MEFES). The MEFES comprises both statutory and voluntary initiatives with the desired outcome to enhance the marine environment for the benefit of marine ecology and fisheries resources.

Q: Please briefly explain the voluntary pilot enhancement measures implemented by AAHK​.

The MEFES committed AAHK to voluntarily explore a range of marine ecology and fisheries enhancement measures in waters around the airport to determine any potential for enhancing and adding diversity and richness to the marine environment and fisheries in Lantau waters.

The first step was to complete a number of feasibility studies to scope out the enhancement initiatives that may add most value to the marine environment near HKIA. The feasibility study recommended that AAHK should explore smaller-scale pilots on an artificial reef deployment and a fish fry release exercise to help quantify marine ecology and fisheries resource benefits to determine the potential for future larger-scale implementation.
In mid-2021, AAHK deployed 100 artificial reef (AR) units on the seabed to the west of HKIA’s South Runway. Two types of AR were trialled with the units designed to sit on novel bamboo platforms on the seabed to ensure the ARs did not sink into the seabed. AAHK also replicated a small-scale shellfish/oyster reef along a section of the newly completed seawall to the north of the new North Runway. Around 400 tonnes of limestone were added to the sloping seawall with shellfish (oysters) deployed and seeded amongst the limestone. As well as learning about the micro-marine habitats formed on both deployments, the intention was to see any broader potential for enhancing marine ecology and fisheries resources in the vicinity of the pilots. Monitoring programmes were undertaken over the period of 12 months to evaluate the effectiveness of the ARs and shellfish (oyster) reefs.

Q: What were the key achievements of the voluntary pilot enhancement measures? 

Monitoring over the 1-year period after deployment has demonstrated positive ecological benefits in both cases. Higher species numbers were recorded on deployed shellfish reefs and ARs at the end of the monitoring period compared to the start. For example, shellfish reef units recorded 5 times and 4 times more species compared to the start of the project and at the control boulders of the shoreline respectively. Similarly, artificial reefs recorded 5 times more species compared to the baseline period right after AR deployment. 

Both shellfish reefs and ARs were found to be efficient at increasing species diversity and AAHK is therefore now planning to scale up these enhancement initiatives on a larger scale in North Lantau waters.

Q: Has AAHK implemented other initiatives to enhance marine ecology?

AAHK has implemented several other initiatives, we have deployed six passive underwater acoustic monitoring (PAM) devices in northeast and northwest Lantau waters calibrated to pick up clicks and whistle noises from dolphins. Data from recent years shows that dolphins are generally more active during night-time, including in areas where day-time sightings are very rare. We have also installed over 500 ecologically enhanced seawall blocks along the new vertical and sloping seawalls to encourage elevated biodiversity and species richness within the restricted area around HKIA where vessel traffic is largely prohibited.

We also established the independent Marine Ecology Enhancement Fund (MEEF) and Fisheries Enhancement Fund (FEF) in 2016 with a total capital injection of HK$400 million to fund initiatives proposed by third-parties, such as non-government organisations, researchers and the fishery sector. Up to 2022, 6 years into the programme, the two funds have granted HK$69 million to a total of 50 projects. Further details can be found on our dedicated website for the 3RS Project here.

Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD)

Readers may have heard about the guiding framework developed by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), published in 2017 are now guiding the reporting and disclosure of material climate-related issues by different organisations and sectors. As economic activity and growth can also have a negative effect on biodiversity and ecosystem functions, a similar task force – the Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) is now in the process of developing a risk management and disclosure framework for organizations to report and act on evolving nature-related risks and opportunities.  The aim is to support a shift in global financial flows away from nature-negative outcomes toward nature-positive outcomes.

A complicating factor for developing disclosures on nature-related risks is that there is no equivalent to simple metrics such as global temperature or greenhouse gas emissions that have helped galvanize efforts to tackle climate-related risks. Nonetheless, the draft TNFD disclosure recommendations are being developed in accordance with the below four pillars:

  1. Governance: how do an organisation’s oversight and decision-making functions take nature-related risks and opportunities into account.
  2. Strategy: how are actual and potential effects of nature-related risks and opportunities factored into the organization’s business model, strategy and financial planning.
  3. Risk & impact management: how the organization integrates nature-related risks into its overall risk management approach.
  4. Metrics and targets: quantitative and qualitative performance indicators related to nature-related risk and opportunities, based on nature dependencies and impacts.

TNFD is gaining popularity amongst corporates and financial markets. Globally, over 900 institutions across different business sectors have joined the TNFD Forum to receive the latest updates on TNFD and provide support to the work of Taskforce. While the TNFD framework is still in its design and development phase, the Taskforce’s complete recommendations are expected to be published in September 2023. 

The TNFD framework can help companies identify and manage nature-related risks and opportunities. By disclosing nature-related risks and opportunities, it would help companies to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability to investors, customers and other stakeholders. Further information about TNFD can be found here.

Tradeport Hong Kong step up in removing single-use-plastic tableware and upcycle old uniforms

Tradeport’s canteen has replaced single-use plastics with biodegradable tableware and stopped providing plastic bags for takeaway from January 2023. To disseminate the concept of upcycling, Tradeport partnered with a local green organization, Dress Green, to transform Tradeport’s unused, outdated uniform to recycle bags which can be used by its staff and customers for various purposes including takeaway.  Dress Green also engaged with YWCA, a local NGO, to provide training and job opportunities for the elderly and housewives to assist in the recycling process. The project not only promoted environmental sustainability but also helped the development of an inclusive economy.

HAECO’s Energy Saving Ideas Competition

Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited (HAECO) organized The Energy Saving Ideas Competition aiming to raise environmental awareness among staff and garner support in creating a greener and more sustainable working environment. Ten energy-saving ideas were awarded in terms of energy-saving efficiency, feasibility, and creativity. Potential ideas will be implemented in HAECO, which include lightning control zoning, automatic lighting and air-conditioning system, and more.


Hactl's Zero Waste policy and eco-friendly red pockets

Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) has created eco-friendly CNY Lai See pockets for its customers, staff and friends to celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Rabbit. The Lai See pockets are illustrated with five enchanting blossoms, symbolising wealth and good fortune, and were hand packed by people with intellectual disabilities from St. James’ Settlement’s Rehabilitation Services. The pockets were made from FSC-certified, eco-friendly paper and printed with soy ink. In line with Hactl’s Zero Waste policy, the embossing molds used for printing the pockets were transformed into attractive vases.

AAHK participated in Business Environment Council EnviroSeries Conference

AAHK participated at the EnviroSeries Conference, organized by the Business Environment Council (BEC) as a panel speaker on 29 November under the theme of “Formulating Business Roadmaps Towards Net Zero”. 

During the panel discussion “Transport and Logistics – Towards Zero Emission”. Kristy Tan, AAHK Senior Manager, Climate Resilience shared AAHK’s efforts to reduce its carbon reduction and its pledge with key aviation-related business partners to achieve net zero by 2050. The panel discussion sparked conversations around the role of transport and logistics sector in reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change.

Call for applications for the HKIA Greenovation Fund 

AAHK is excited to announce a call for applications for our Greenovation Fund!  

Our Greenovation Fund is an integral part of the HKIA Business Partners Carbon Support Programme, designed to support the piloting of new technologies that can help to accelerate decarbonisation across the airport community. We are looking for innovative technologies that can be scalable and have a significant impact on reducing carbon emissions at HKIA. If you have an idea for innovative projects related to energy-efficient technology, renewable energy or alternative fuel, we encourage you to present your idea to us and apply for the fund. 

The Fund is open to business partners who have joined our HKIA Net Zero Carbon Pledge. To obtain further details about the Greenovation Fund and the application process, please contact us at

We are eager to share and showcase environmental and sustainability practices. Please contact Stephanie AuYeung and
Louis Or to discuss your ideas.
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