Marina Bay greens its seafood supply

SINGAPORE  31 October 2017: Marina Bay Sands is working with a World Wide Fund for Nature Singapore project by supporting for four aquaculture farms in Malaysia.

WWF attempts to raise sustainability standards within Asia’s hospitality industry, starting with ocean conservation and a supply of fish from farms rather than ocean catches.

Through the partnership, Marina Bay Sands aims to have 50% of its total seafood by volume responsibly sourced by 2020.

That’s tall order for the massive hotel and casino project, which is often viewed as a symbol of what is not sustainable in tourism and hospitality.

Asia consumes two-thirds of the global fish catch, with Singapore’s per capita seafood consumption of 22 kilogrammes exceeding the global average of 20 kg.

Overfishing to meet such demands is now the single biggest threat to oceans. In Singapore, three out of four common seafood species are unsustainable.

Marina Bay Sands is now touting its efforts to change all that, although critics would say that by its very presence it promotes consumerism and unsustainable levels of food consumption, no matter what chorus it sings.

But WWF Singapore is happy to recruit even the worst offenders if it results in a more sustainable source of food and savings in the long-run.

“Marina Bay Sands procures seafood in the millions of kilogrammes each year. Given its sheer volume, the move to sustainability has the potential to benefit marine ecosystems and local communities in this region. Its investment in current and future supply chains through sustainable aquaculture raises the bar for how other large-scale businesses should be sourcing,” said Elaine Tan, Chief Executive Officer, WWF-Singapore.

Marina Bay Sands spins its stewardship of responsible business in the areas of green buildings, environmentally responsible operations, green meetings and sustainability education and outreach.

“Marina Bay Sands is committed to sustainability across every aspect of our operations, along the entire supply chain, says Ian Wilson, Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations, Marina Bay Sands.

It claims to be Singapore’s largest hotel with a 1.3 million sq ft convention centre and is home to a luxury shopping mall and casino where sustainable development goals are not on the table. Consumerism on display through its halls and lobbies brings with it considerable waste.

This was evident at ITB Asia hosted last week at the hotel’s convention centre, where tons of wasted print material, unopened boxes of daily trade newspapers were stacked ready for the garbage truck a day after the delegates left.

If ITB Asia continues to encourage two competing publishing houses to print thousands of daily newspapers that end in the garbage each day it will lose sight of becoming a truly low-carbon footprint event. Delegates had an option of reading the daily online, or downloading editions to their mobiles, while the ITB Asia App kept them up to date on events.  Plainly show dailies should be relegated to this history books as trade show embrace sustainability and eco-values.

Or as one worker hired to clear the mess told TTR Weekly “ you would think after 10 years they (publishers) would know by now to cut the print supply in half and be more environmentally friendly.”

As long as tons of waste exit through the service doors of hotel and convention centres it tells a story that challenges all the efforts of the hospitality and tourism industry to claim eco-friendly green status.

On the seafood front Marina Bay Sands says it is progressively increasing the responsible sourcing of its seafood by volume from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified sources.

By 2018, it hope to have 70% of its Top 10 priority seafood species procured from MSC- and ASC-certified sources: a target that it hopes to increase to 100% by 2020. In the same year, it aims to have 50% of all seafood by volume sourced responsibly, amounting to an estimated 2 million kilograms of responsible seafood.