ISSUE 14 l JUNE 2023

Taking Flight Towards a Green Recovery

The aviation industry is witnessing a remarkable recovery after the turbulence caused by the pandemic. Our passenger traffic at HKIA has regained momentum and is gradually approaching pre-pandemic levels, indicating a strong rebound in air travel. This resurgence is attributed to people's eagerness to reconnect, explore, and engage in business activities, signalling a renewed confidence in the safety and convenience of air transportation. As we celebrate the positive signs of recovery, we are also making concerted efforts with our business partners to enhance our sustainability efforts. I am pleased to provide the following updates on our key initiatives:

  • HKIA Carbon Management Senior Executive Roundtable – this luncheon brought together leaders of the airport community to discuss the latest trends in carbon management. This year's event focused on the importance of green recovery for the aviation sector. Further details can be found in the ‘What’s happening’ section.
  • Onsite solar study – AAHK conducted an airport-wide study to investigate and maximise the opportunities to implement onsite solar and increase renewable energy generation at HKIA.  The study will develop a solar roadmap along with a realistic solar target for AAHK, to complement the HKIA's 2050 Net Zero Carbon Pledge and 2035 mid-point target.
  • Food TranSmarter – we commenced a trial of the Food TranSmarter system in the HKIA Community Building in March 2023. Food waste collected from the staff canteen in the HKIA Community Building is converted into slurry onsite for biogas production and electricity generation offsite at the Government’s O.Park 1 facility. Further details can be found in the ‘Spotlight’ section.
  • Preparation for Municipal Solid Waste Charging – in preparation for the implementation of MSW charging, AAHK is collaborating with the tenants, airlines and airport business partners to implement a practical charging scheme for the non-recyclable waste.
  • Awards and Recognitions – we are delighted to share our recent achievements which showcase AAHK's sustainability leadership.
    • S&P Global Ratings – AAHK received a rating of 75 out of 100 for its environmental, social and governance performance from the second Standard & Poor Global Ratings. This rating is well above the global average of 65 and the Asia Pacific average of 60.
    • ACI Asia-Pacific Green Airports Recognition 2023 – Gold Award in the “over 35 million passengers per annum” category for accelerating the reduction of single-use plastics.
    • CEEQUAL Whole Team Award – Excellent rating under Civil Engineering Environmental Quality Assessment and Award Scheme’s (CEEQUAL) Sustainability Performance Assessment for Whole Team Award.
    • Hong Kong Association of Customer Service Excellence (HKACE) Customer Service Excellence Award 2022 – Bronze Award under Program Award - Excellence in Environmental, Social and Governance.
As we move forward, we remain committed to enhancing our sustainability efforts and contributing to a green recovery of the aviation sector.


Peter Lee
General Manager, Sustainability
Airport Authority Hong Kong

Transforming Food Waste into Energy: TranSmarter System at HKIA

Q & A with Stephen Chan, Manager, Sustainability, AAHK

Q: What is Food TranSmarter?

A: The Food TranSmarter is a food waste pre-treatment jointly developed by the Hong Kong Productivity Council and AEL (International Holdings) Limited that converts food waste into slurry which could be used for power generation through mechanical and biological reactions.
Q: What are the environmental benefits of using Food TranSmarter?

A: Food TranSmarter can reduce the carbon footprint associated with transporting food waste. Before the introduction of Food TranSmarter, food waste generated required at least daily collection for hygienic reasons. With Food TranSmarter, the slurry generated can be stored on-site for an extended period before collection, thus reducing the need for frequent food waste collection and helping to reduce carbon emissions.
Food TranSmarter also contributes to the generation of renewable energy. The slurry produced is transported to O·PARK1, the first organic resources recovery centre in Hong Kong, for biogas production and electricity generation.
Q: Can you share with us the details of the HKIA Food TranSmarter pilot?

A: Food waste accounts for over 20% of the waste handled by the waste collection system of AAHK. To address this issue and reduce our waste footprint, a major focus of our waste reduction efforts is to reduce food waste from our catering outlets or collect it for re-use. The Food TranSmarter is currently handling food waste from the staff canteen at the HKIA Community Building, and we are exploring the potential for expanding the use of the technology in other catering areas at HKIA. We recognise that the success of this initiative depends on the commitment and participation of our frontline staff. Therefore, we have implemented a comprehensive training program to ensure that frontline staff are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to separate food waste and operate the system effectively and efficiently.
Q: Are there any other initiatives in place to manage the food waste generated at HKIA
Since 2003, AAHK has implemented the food waste recycling programme. This programme provides free recycling bags to terminal building tenants for the separate collection of food waste generated from their daily operations. AAHK also funds the collection and delivery of food waste from over 15 airport business partners. The food waste collected from terminal building and business partners is then sent to O·PARK1 for biogas production and electricity generation.
Furthermore, AAHK has partnered with a local NGO, Food Angel, to implement the HKIA Surplus Food Rescue Program since 2013. This programme collects surplus food from restaurants and caterers at HKIA. The collected surplus food is then transformed into hot meal boxes that are distributed to the needy. The programme has expanded over the years to cover several major airport business partners and tenants.

For further details on AAHK's waste management initiatives, please refer to Sustainability Report 2021/22.

Image by Freepik

Latest updates on single-use plastics ban

The Product Eco-responsibility (Amendment) Bill 2023 has been submitted to the Legislative Council in March 2023 for the regulation of disposable plastic tableware and other plastic products.

Prohibiting the local sale and provision of any disposable plastic tableware at catering premises

The amendment bill proposes a two-phase ban on local sales and provision of disposable plastic tableware at catering premises. The first phase prohibits the sale and provision of expanded polystyrene and small-sized disposable plastic tableware, and the provision of such tableware for dine-in and takeaway customers at catering premises. The second phase bans the sale and provision of all disposable plastic tableware at catering premises.
Regulating the manufacturing, selling and distributing of a series of disposable plastic products

The bill also regulates the manufacturing, selling, and distributing of disposable plastic products in two phases, and the first phase bans unnecessary plastic products and prohibits hotels and guesthouses from providing disposable toiletries and in-room plastic-bottled water for free. The second phase prohibits the sale and provision of select disposable plastic products, including multipack rings, tablecloths, non-medical use transparent gloves, plastic-stemmed dental floss, and earplugs at hotels and guesthouses.

The first phase will start six months after the passage of the amendment bill, expected in late 2023 or early 2024 at the earliest, while the second phase's timing will depend on the availability and affordability of non-plastic or reusable alternatives. The Environmental Protection Department has set up online information platforms for the trade, suppliers, and the public to facilitate their understanding of the regulation.
Learn More

Cathay Pacific collaborates with SPIC to support Sustainable Aviation Fuel production in Chinese Mainland
Cathay Pacific (CX) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC), covering four Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) plants under SPIC. The plants will use a pathway similar to “Power-to-Liquids” to generate SAF, converting renewable electricity into liquid fuels. The MoU aims to build and strengthen the SAF supply chain in Chinese Mainland, contributing towards achieving the decarbonisation of the aviation sector.
CX also released its Sustainable Development Report 2022 to showcase its ongoing commitments and progress in achieving sustainability goals. The Report covers CX's initiatives and milestones, from launching Asia’s first major Corporate SAF Programme, reducing the use of single-use plastics by 56% per passenger inflight compared to the 2018 baseline, to being the first commercial airline listed on Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.
Learn more

Hactl launched its first TCFD statement

Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) released its Sustainability Report 2022 to showcase its actions and achievements over the past year. In the Report, Hactl aligned its disclosures with Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations and launched its first TCFD statement.

The TCFD was set up to provide a framework based on a set of consistent disclosure recommendations for use by companies as a means of providing transparency about their climate-related risk exposures. This disclosure demonstrates Hactl’s commitment to managing and reporting climate-related risk, aligned with the Recommendations of the TCFD.
Learn more


HKIA Carbon Capacity Building Programme

AAHK launched the HKIA Carbon Capacity Building Programme in 2022, which is designed to ensure airport business partners have the necessary skills to effectively manage carbon and plan for carbon reduction initiatives. As part of this program, a training session was held in May to provide an introduction to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), practical advice on the criteria and steps involved in setting science-based targets, and experience sharing from a leading corporation that has successfully obtained approval from SBTi on their Net-Zero Targets to our business partners.

HKIA Carbon Management Senior Executive Roundtable

The HKIA Carbon Management Senior Executive Roundtable was successfully held on 6th June, bringing together the AAHK and 29 key aviation-related business partners who have joined the HKIA 2050 Net Zero Carbon Pledge.

Under the theme of "The importance of green recovery for the aviation sector", Fred Lam, Chief Executive Officer of AAHK, delivered opening remarks. He revealed on the successful initiatives throughout our decarbonisation journey over the decade, and also highlighted our recent efforts to support our business partners in reducing carbon emissions through the HKIA Business Partners Carbon Support Programme.

The Guest of Honor, Tse Chin-wan, Secretary for Environment and Ecology, delivered a keynote speech outlining the Government's plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Another speaker, Simon Ng, CEO of the Business Environment Council, emphasised the importance of collaboration to achieve green recovery and transition towards net zero.

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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