Global hotel chain Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts announced recently that it is to serve MSC certified sustainable seafood in 53 of its hotels in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong this month, as part of its effort to protect the environment and species diversity in the ocean.
The hotel promised not to serve dishes that comprised of threatened or endangered species, shrinking its seafood options to 17 categories purchased from fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council - an international nonprofit organization dedicated to safeguarding seafood supplies - as sustainable.
Guests can identify these offerings by a special label on the menu and will be able to enjoy a seafood meal sourced sustainably at a reasonable price, said Andy Chan, a senior director of food and beverage for Shangri-La's China operations.
"One of the focuses of our corporate social responsibility is to reduce the impact on the environment," he said.
"Today's consumers are increasingly environmentally and socially conscious and there is a growing demand for a healthy lifestyle. We expect to improve customer experiences by optimizing supply chain management and providing food with traceable sources."
He added that the program will expand to more Shangri-La hotels worldwide in the future.
Overfishing has posed a threat to the ocean, said Rupert Howes, chief executive of the MSC, adding that commercial fishing has grown fivefold since the 1950s, with a third of all seafood being overfished, pushing some species close to extinction.
Sustainability means no overfishing, no large damage to the whole ecosystem of the ocean, including the habitats of other animals like seabirds, as well as the mature management of fisheries, Howes said.
"As more people become aware of the challenges the oceans face, they individually can make a difference," he said. "It creates incentives for people to say 'we want sustainable seafood' and that goes all the way down to the supply chain of fisheries and to encourage them to come into this voluntary process."
Shangri-La is the first hotel group in China committed to sourcing sustainable seafood, which may encourage others to follow in the long run, according to Howes.
"The move is good for the fishermen whose livelihoods depend on fisheries, the environment and everyone who loves eating seafood."
Founded in 1971, Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts currently manages more than 100 hotels in 22 countries and regions.
In 2010, it was the first hotel to remove shark fin from its menus. In 2014, its Rooted in Nature sustainable culinary initiative was launched to provide ethically and responsibly sourced food items. In 2017, 19.2 percent of seafood purchased by the hotel was sustainable, up 5.97 percentage points year-on-year, according to the hotel.