Since its inception, WildAid has worked to reduce global consumption of wildlife products and increase local support for conservation efforts with the motto, “When the buying stops, killing can, too.” Recently, the organization expanded its animal portfolio to include sharks.
According to WildAid, around 100 million sharks are slaughtered for their fins each year, with fins from approximately 73 million sharks ending up in soup each year. Over one-quarter of the world’s shark and ray species are threatened with extinction, putting the health of our oceans and fisheries at risk.
On November 2, WildAid continued its mission to protect wildlife and ecosystems around the world with the Global Shark Pledge campaign, to shed light on shark conservation. WildAid representatives and Sammy Leung, WildAid ambassador, singer and actor, announced the program at a launch ceremony in Hong Kong, calling on business leaders and major corporations in the food and hospitality industries in Hong Kong to join the movement.
As a thought leader in the industry for its sustainable practices, the Shangri-La Group was featured as an honorable guest and speaker at the campaign launch. Andy Chan, senior director of food and beverage for the Shangri-La Group, highlighted the importance of WildAid’s commitment to sharks and its alignment with Shangri-La.
“Shangri-La is honored to support WildAid’s shark fin conservation campaign,” said Chan. “This campaign aligns closely with our continued commitment to provide sustainable seafood choices to our guests and customers.”
In 2012, Shangri-La introduced its group-wide Sustainable Seafood Policy. As part of the policy, Shangri-La announced it would cease serving shark fin in all of its operated restaurants and for banqueting events.
“Even though this meant a substantial cut for our banqueting business, we believed in the policy and we did it because it was the right thing to do,” said Chan. “Today, we are still shark fin-free at our hotels and owned restaurants. This is especially important given that many of our customers are now more aware of their food choices and the impact they have on the environment.”
“We are encouraged to see more business leaders demonstrating their support for ocean conservation,” said Tom Stahl, chief operating officer of WildAid. “The only effective way to protect sharks is to end consumer demand and halt all trade in shark products with every industry’s involvement.”
Shangri-La has continued evolving its sustainable practices with the Marine Stewardship Council partnership, which was announced in June 2018.
“This summer, we became the first hotel group in Asia to form a corporate partnership with the Marine Stewardship Council and we have made a commitment to sustainable seafood sourcing,” explained Chan. “Fifty-three hotels in China have now achieved this MSC certification.”
By participating in the Global Shark Pledge, the Shangri-La Group reaffirms its No Shark Fin policy as well as pledges to promote shark conservation publicly.
“We know we have an obligation as a company, and as a food and beverage operator myself, to help customers make sustainable food choices,” ensured Chan. “Of course, [guests] can be assured that we will not compromise on taste and quality.”
As a group, we look forward to offering our guests high quality and diverse culinary experiences that do not sacrifice our planet and the creatures that inhabit it.