Leading integrated resort (IR) Marina Bay Sands today announced a landmark partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature in Singapore (WWF) to raise sustainability standards within Asia’s hospitality industry, starting with ocean conservation.

Through the partnership, Marina Bay Sands and WWF have jointly developed measurable and achievable goals to improve responsible procurement within the IR and transform its supply chain. Under the programme, Marina Bay Sands is also supporting four aquaculture farms in Malaysia in their journeys towards sustainable farming – a first such collaboration for WWF-Singapore.

The partnership kicks off with a primary focus on seafood and ocean conservation, with Marina Bay Sands aiming to have 50 per cent of its total seafood by volume responsibly sourced by 2020.

Asia consumes two-thirds of the global fish catch, with Singapore’s per capita seafood consumption of 22 kilograms exceeding the global average of 20 kilograms. Overfishing to meet such demands is now the single biggest threat to oceans. In Singapore, three out of four common seafood species are unsustainable[1].

“Marina Bay Sands procures seafood in the millions of kilograms 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.

The WWF collaboration adds another layer to Marina Bay Sands’ global sustainability strategy – Sands ECO360°, which drives the 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. As an IR home to Singapore’s largest hotel, a 1.3 million sq. ft. convention centre, a luxury shopping mall and more, we recognise the significance and impact of our sustainability actions within Asia’s hospitality industry, and down the supply chain. In partnership with WWF, we have the opportunity to make great strides towards ensuring all the seafood served on our property comes from sustainable stock and is sourced responsibly. We hope to elevate sustainability standards, raise awareness among our guests and inspire other industry players to follow suit,” said Ian Wilson, Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations, Marina Bay Sands.

The goals announced today are centred on the responsible sourcing of seafood across the IR’s supply chain and its support for sustainable fishing practices through 2020. Subsequent campaigns will encourage Marina Bay Sands’ guests to embrace its sustainability initiatives. The goals of the partnership cover key areas like Responsible Seafood, Aquaculture Improvement Projects (AIPs) and Enhanced Green Meeting Packages.

Responsible Seafood

Marina Bay Sands is progressively increasing the responsible sourcing of its seafood by volume from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified sources[2]. By 2018, the IR aims to have 70 per cent of its Top 10 priority seafood species procured from MSC- and ASC-certified sources: a target that it hopes to increase to 100 percent by 2020. In the same year, it aims to have 50 per cent of all seafood by volume sourced responsibly, amounting to an estimated 2 million kilograms of responsible seafood.

Today, Marina Bay Sands does not offer any seafood from the AVOID list of WWF’s Seafood Guide across its own F&B operations. As part of this, the IR has taken the significant decision to remove the culturally popular red garoupa (a.k.a. coral trout) and blue fin tuna dishes from all menus. Marina Bay Sands currently procures 100 per cent of its salmon, tilapia, prawns, mussels, lobsters and oysters from sustainable sources. It will continue working with WWF to update its menus and review demand for resource-intensive seafood products to further improve responsible sourcing.

Aquaculture Improvement Projects (AIPs)

Under the AIP programme, Marina Bay Sands is supporting four aquaculture farms with WWF as they strive to become among the first in the world to be certified sustainable for popular species such as snapper, grouper and sea bass. As part of this process, these farms will also improve their aquaculture practices, which will support marine environments and provide secure livelihoods for communities across Langkawi, Penang, Perak and Selangor. At least three out of four farms will be ready to enter full assessment for ASC certification by 2020.

Enhanced Green Meeting Packages

Building on its status as an ISO 20121 certified venue, Marina Bay Sands is working with WWF to further strengthen its existing Sands ECO360⁰ meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) programme over the next year. As a first step, the IR today launched an updated version of its “It’s Easy Meeting Green” package – where Marina Bay Sands will donate S$1 per delegate to support the aquaculture farms in Malaysia[3]. In 2018, Marina Bay Sands will also launch a new Responsible Harvest Menu serving sustainable seafood options, made in collaboration with WWF. By 2020, the IR aims to host at least 300 green events that adopt sustainable packages and offerings supported by WWF.

Image: WWF-Singapore

To further engage and educate its guests and clients on sustainability, Marina Bay Sands is collaborating with WWF to design and execute tactical initiatives and campaigns around responsible seafood and environmental conservation. On average, the IR sees a hotel occupancy rate of over-90 per cent and hosts more than 3,000 MICE events at Sands Expo and Convention Centre each year, amounting to a visitation of 45 million across the property last year.

Marina Bay Sands’ commitment to responsible seafood first began in 2014 when it removed and stopped serving shark fin at all restaurants owned and operated by the IR, as well as at MICE events hosted at Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

Marina Bay Sands is also a member of the Responsible Seafood Group by WWF, an industry initiative to increase the adoption of sustainable seafood in Singapore. With 85 per cent of global fishing grounds fished up to or above their limits, WWF ensures resilient oceans and protects seafood stocks through sustainable seafood consumption and setting industry standards for sourcing practices.

[1] Data from FAO (2014) The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture and WWF report (2016) on sustainable seafood in Singapore
[2] Seafood that is sustainable comes from well-managed stocks that are not considered to be overexploited. The MSC and ASC certifications set international standards for fished and farmed seafood. These are voluntary, independent certification schemes that reward sustainable fishing practices and set environmental and social standards, providing traceability and transparency of sourcing.
[3] For events held between 26 October 2017 and 31 July 2018.

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