In 2017, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimated that 70 percent of the fish population is fully used, overused or in crisis. The health of fisheries and ocean ecosystems are increasingly being put at risk by overfishing and illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing. In 2016, such practices accounted for one-quarter of all fish caught.
With this in mind, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts continues its commitment to conserving and protecting our ecosystems by making waves as a leader in sustainable and responsible business practices. On June 7, in advance of World Oceans Day, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts announced all 53 Shangri-La and sister-brand properties in Mainland China and Hong Kong achieved Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Chain of Custody certification. Shangri-La now has the greatest number of properties in Asia certified by the MSC.
“By being the first to partner with the MSC in Asia, we hope to galvanize others in the hotel industry to join us in offering certified sustainable seafood to make a positive impact in the world collectively,” said Shangri-La President & COO Oliver Bonke. “Providing our guests locally and ethically sourced food offerings has been a priority since we launched Rooted in Nature, our culinary sustainability initiative, in 2014. Our partnership with the MSC is the next milestone in our journey.”
With the continued rise of the sustainable food movement, more diners want to know where their food comes from so they can make informed decisions on what to eat or drink. Guests dining at Shangri-La and sister-brand restaurants can identify MSC-certified seafood with the blue eco-label placed next to the menu item. The label signifies that the seafood comes from a certified sustainable source and is safely tracked.
“We want to provide our chefs with the best possible ingredients, which are not only delicious but also sustainable so they can create inspiring culinary experiences for our guests,” Green Chen, Area CSM Manager, China. “We are providing our guests with more sustainable choices as these are the types of options they want, and we believe it is the right thing to do.”
Working to safeguard seafood supplies for the future, MSC is an internationally-accredited non-profit organization established to address the problem of unsustainable fishing. The recognized world leader in establishing a sustainable fisheries standard for wild capture fisheries and a chain of custody standard for seafood traceability, the MSC standards reflect international best practices in fisheries management and science. Developed in consultation with a wide range of experts including scientists, the fishing industry and conservation groups, the MSC standards protect oceans and assure consumers that seafood was responsibly sourced.
With the new partnership for Shangri-La properties in Mainland China and Hong Kong, the MSC Chain of Custody certification will signify that any menu items with the MSC eco-label are: fully traceable from a legal fishery, which has proven minimal impacts on the marine environment and other species, including threatened or endangered species and juvenile fish.
“We recognize our responsibility to know where our food comes from and how it is sourced,” said Chen. “This is why we are committed to promoting greater supply chain traceability and transparency and working with local and sustainable providers.”
The partnership follows previous progressive commitments as a leader in sustainability within the hospitality industry.
In late 2010, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts was the first hotel group to take shark fin off menus in its operated restaurants.
In 2012, Shangri-La introduced a Sustainable Seafood Policy and announced it would cease serving shark fin in all of its operated restaurants and for banqueting events.
In 2014, the group’s sustainable culinary initiative Rooted in Nature launched to highlight Shangri-La’s ethically and responsibly sourced food offerings.
Progress continued when, in February 2016, Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong and Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong officially became the first two hotels in the city to achieve MSC and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) Chain of Custody certifications.
“Shangri-La has been encouraging its hotels to procure MSC certified seafood since the launch of Rooted in Nature,” said Chen. “Our new company-level partnership with MSC takes that to the next level.”
Moving forward, by 2020, Shangri-La’s group-wide target is to provide 75 percent more sustainably- and locally-sourced items on the properties’ restaurant menus compared with 2013 through the Rooted in Nature culinary sustainability initiative.
Shangri-La looks forward to continuing to pave a sustainable and responsible path for the hospitality industry and anyone wishing to make a positive difference in our valuable ecosystems.