Cathay Pacific Airways has stopped shipping unsustainably sourced sharks and shark-related products as cargo. The airlines believes that it is inconsistent with its commitment to sustainable development. So I digged in the company’s mission/vision statements. And guess what, one of the lines state:
“We are a socially and environmentally responsible company”
Saying no to business because of concern for the environment and more importantly because of its values, is what the companies need to do more of. Walking the talk is a good thing to strive for, but difficult to do.
But it must be admitted that Cathay didn’t have this awakening on its own. Pressure from the environmental groups and various organizations forced the airline to make the change (one of the findings of GlobeScan/SustainAbility survey that companies trust NGO’s most in judging a company’s sustainability performance). And changed it did…particularly stating that this act of theirs is
“…inconsistent with its commitment to sustainable development”
This is where the company has scored high putting the responsibility on itself. It actually based its decision on scientific research provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN is an organisation that provides a neutral forum for governments, NGOs, scientists, business and local communities to find pragmatic solutions to conservation and development challenges.
Read more about it straight from the company’s Cargo Director, Nick Rhodes…here
Here’s a list of Cathay Pacific’s sustainability achievements:
- One of the first companies to monitor environmental performance and publicize the relevant reports (1997)
- In 2007, initiated FLY greener, the first carbon offset scheme by an Asian airline
- Uses biodegradable plastic bags inflight
- Reports its emissions (15,851 thousand tonnes CO2 emitted in 2011)
- Maximizes efficiency through operational efficiency drives and fleet development
- Supports carbon trading schemes
- 3rd year on FTSE4Good Global Index
Here’s a link to Cathay’s GRI checked A+ Sustainable Development Report for 2011
You can read and know all about the Cathay’s committment towards sustainability, but the fact is that before it stopped carrying, it carried 300 tonnes/year of the products concerned…which constitutes only a small portion of the shark fin trade. Earlier The Peninsula and Shangri-la hotel chains also stopped serving shark’s fin.
An endangered species deserves a bit more than that. Well, the talk has been walked and I sure hope it will be joined by many more.
- Cathay Pacific airline bans shark fin products (theprovince.com)
- World’s biggest air carrier bans shipping of shark products (edition.cnn.com)
- Cathay Pacific Airlines Bans Shark Fins (triplepundit.com)
(Photo credit: Simon_sees)