Over the past 25 years Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF HK) have been running the ‘Change for Good’ in-flight fundraising programme in Hong Kong, which is a global signature partnership between UNICEF and the international airline industry. The year 2016 marked the 25th anniversary of the partnership and raised a total of HK$165 million since 1991. The amount collected was used to support UNICEF’s programmes, helping children in more than 150 developing countries around the world. Read in detail on more such philanthropies from the airline’s end –
Cathay Pacific is an award-winning airline, servicing more than 188 destinations in 51 countries and territories around the world. The airline has had a presence globally for over 70 years. They currently operate passenger services from Hong Kong to Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad, while the recently rebranded sister airline Cathay Dragon flies to Bengaluru and Kolkata.
Cathay Pacific has a long standing commitment to play a role in a more sustainable world. It is one of the first airlines in the world to raise the awareness of the un-sustainability of the global shark trade. The airline has not approved any shipments for shark’s fin for the past year since it instituted a policy agreed with two highly respected international shark conservation agencies. The policy states that any request for shipment of shark or shark products must be assessed by an external panel of acknowledged experts. Based on its procedure for assessing whether shark products are sustainably sourced, the airline has rejected all 15 shipment requests for shark-related products in the last 12 months. Cathay Pacific understands the community’s desire to promote responsible and sustainable marine sourcing practices, and this remains important to its overall sustainable development goals. Therefore, on the issue of shark’s fin, with immediate effect the airline is happy to agree to ban the carriage. Cathay Pacific will continue to review this practice, as it does all its sustainable development policies.
Many other new initiatives have been unveiled apart from ‘Change for Good’ to help transform the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children to an even greater extent. Following a remarkable and highly successful collaboration, Cathay Pacific and UNICEF HK are giving the inflight fundraising programme a face-lift and expanding Cathay’s contributions to a series of UNICEF’s innovative education projects. Cathay Pacific adopted a new plan to support the UNICEF’s Schools for Asia initiative by contributing 30 per cent of the programme’s annual donation to two of the Schools for Asia countries, China and India, in 2016. Cathay Pacific Director Corporate Affairs Arnold Cheng said “Cathay Pacific has been focusing its community efforts on education, as we believe quality education is essential for child development, and it has a positive long-term impact for future generations and the society at large. Therefore, we are especially excited about the new initiative to support those marginalised children who are deprived of a basic education.”
Worldwide, 61 million children of primary school age are not enrolled in schools – around one-third of who are Asian. To address the issue, UNICEF launched the Schools for Asia initiative in 2012, aiming to provide a better education for the most marginalised children in the 11 Asian countries it has identified as being most in need of increased funding and support. The programme focuses on four programmatic areas: early childhood development, quality learning, equity, and education in emergencies, in order to provide young children with trained teachers and a child-friendly learning environment that is safe, protective, gender-sensitive and inclusive.
Cathay Pacific acted promptly to the Nepal Earthquake
Over the years, the Cathay Pacific Group has responded swiftly to help communities affected by major natural disasters. And so they did back in April 2015 at the time of the tragic Nepal earthquake that shook the nation, downsizing its infrastructure and economy by 50%, not to mention the lives that were lost and endangered. With more than 7 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, Cathay Pacific and Dragonair announced that all donations collected on the flights will go towards the relief work of UNICEF Hong Kong (UNICEF HK) in Nepal, and launched an appeal to invite passengers to support the in-flight fundraising scheme to support those in need. In addition, the Cathay Pacific Group launched a brief staff fundraising campaign, where all donations made by staff went directly to UNICEF HK to aid the organisation’s relief work. In November 2015, Airlink, a disaster response organization that links airlines with pre-qualified non-profit bodies, honoured the Cathay Pacific Group at the Airline Economics conference in Hong Kong for its work to support relief efforts in Nepal following the earthquake.
In September 2016, The Cathay Pacific Group and the Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF HK) announced that close to HK$20 million was raised from passengers through the Change for Good inflight fundraising programme and the Group’s staff appeal during the 2015 programme period. Of the total donation, HK$13.9 million has been used to support UNICEF’s ongoing efforts in improving the lives of vulnerable children worldwide, while HK$6 million has been used to provide life-saving supplies, services and other relief work in Nepal following the devastating earthquake that struck the country.
Enriching Lives – Shaping the tiny tots
The Cathay Pacific Airways Enriching Lives project is an umbrella project where the airline works towards the welfare of under privileged children all over India. With a vision to provide basic necessities to these children across the country, the airline works with various organizations in different cities. In the recent years, under this project , Cathay Pacific Airways along with sister airline Dragonair has worked with Habitat for Humanity in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, Muktangan in Mumbai, UdavamKarangal and BalaAshramam in Chennai, Naandi Foundation and Manchikalalu Organisation in Hyderabad, Butterflies in Delhi and Calcutta Rescue and Disha Foundation in Kolkata.
In May 2015, as part of the ‘Enriching Lives’ project, the Cathay Pacific Airways team in Mumbai invited over 40 children from Urban Community Development Centre (UCDC) to spend a day at their office. The children were treated to a movie screening in the conference room with snacks and refreshments. Urban Community Development Centre (UCDC) is a centre situated in Bandra, Mumbai and caters to the socio economic welfare that serves the weaker sections of society. Every year UCDC conducts an annual summer camp for the children of migrant workers and street children to keep them occupied during the summer vacation. Cathay Pacific Airways also sponsored the grocery and provisions to prepare meals for the children during the summer camp.
Waste Management and Sustainable Development for a healthy tomorrow
Being an airline, the Cathay Pacific Group demonstrates the realisation of the impact caused by the aviation industry on the world’s holistic health. The group has taken over the initiative ‘Together for Tomorrow’ with the purpose to deliver a lower Carbon footprint from their operations at the minutest level to inculcate –
- Optimisation of various operations and processes
- Scrapping and recycling of Airbus A340s from the fleet
- Engaging fuel efficiency
- Purchase of Airbus A350-900s, the most fuel efficient aircrafts in the world, equipped with new fuel saving tech, lower CO2 emissions and reduced noise levels.
- In 2015, CX’s total reduced engine operations amounted to over 6000 hrs. and saved over 3.8 million kg of fuel and reduction of carbon emissions by over 12 million kg
- Upgrade of all Economy class with innovative carpets made from recycled materials
- Determined efforts towards the transport of shark and shark products in a sustainable manner, and further incorporating these practices towards the handling and transport of all kinds of cargo
The effective management of resources and the reduction of energy consumption and wastage are important elements of Cathay Pacific’s sustainability strategy. This is an ongoing journey for the airline and a crucial part of its corporate social responsibility commitment towards uplifting the society, and safeguarding our environment and eco-system for future generations. The procurement, usage, disposal and possible recycling of materials such as paper, glass, plastic, food etc. is a necessary component of an airline’s complex operations. The airline has put in place a number of environmental in-flight initiatives to manage a range of waste materials, including glass bottles, aluminium cans, plastic and paper products, and blankets and sleeping suits.