Fairmont Hotels & Resorts announced that it has formally removed shark fin from all of its hotel menus in Asia, effective immediately. The move, which also spans the luxury hotel brand’s global culinary operations, is in line with Fairmont’s industry-leading commitment to environmental stewardship and supports an earlier pledge to offer sustainable seafood choices in an effort to conserve precious marine species.
“We’re proud to be at the forefront of the movement to stop serving shark fin. It’s a logical step for Fairmont, given our decades long work in greening our hotels and our focus on providing guests with meals that are not only good for them, but also good for the planet,” said Jean Michel Offe, Fairmont’s vice-president, food & beverage. “Our hotels are constantly seeking ways to be more ethical in their menu choices and have removed other at risk species under the guidance of reputable seafood watch organizations. Simply put, it’s the right thing to do.”
As part of luxury hotel brand’s Sustainable Seafood initiative, which was launched in 2009, Fairmont’s hotels in Asia - Fairmont Singapore, Fairmont Beijing, Fairmont Yangcheng Lake and the iconic Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai – will no longer feature shark fin on hotel menus including restaurant, in-room and banquet service meals. These hotels will continue to highlight alternative options on their menus, and seek ways to educate colleagues and guests on sustainable food choices that help conserve marine resources.
Fairmont Singapore, which removed shark fin soup from its menus in 2009, has used the World Wildlife Fund’s Singapore Seafood Guide as a directive when selecting seafood products. The hotel’s menus feature other equally sumptuous soups, including mud crab, which is considered a flavourful substitute for shark fin, or dishes like oysters and green lipped mussels. Looking to put its best ‘green’ foot forward, Fairmont Beijing also took a progressive stance when it became Fairmont’s first hotel in China to remove shark fin, an ingredient that is mostly flavorless but has deep cultural and traditional significance, from its menus.
To achieve texture and consistency characteristics similar to shark fin, while also enhancing the flavor of dishes, Chinese Chefs at Fairmont are using alternatives like lobster, crab and scallops, and have received very positive feedback from customers. Each hotel is also working closely with local partners to further educate guests on the environmental benefits of choosing sustainable alternatives.
In 2009, Fairmont removed two at-risk species, Bluefin Tuna and Chilean Sea Bass, from all hotel menus worldwide. At that time, hotels across the portfolio began to align locally with reputable seafood watch organizations, and all seafood purchases are now made with the guidance and consultation of these groups. Hotels work in partnership with local suppliers who provide fish that are resilient to fishing pressure and harvested in ways that limit damage to marine or aquatic habitats. This ensures guests are offered a comprehensive range of sustainable seafood options, which are clearly identified on hotel menus, making it easier for travelers to make informed food choices. In addition to making responsible decisions regarding seafood, hotels also purchase local, organic and sustainable food items whenever possible.
For more than 20 years, Fairmont’s Green Partnership program has been the company’s award-winning environmental program focused on minimizing the impact of hotel operations on the environment. In addition to publishing “The Green Partnership Guide”, a “going green” handbook used by its hotels and others in the hospitality industry, initiatives include recycling and organic waste diversion in hotel kitchens, a green conferencing solution dubbed Eco-Meet, creating rooftop herb gardens and bee apiaries at properties, and redistributing gently used goods and food to those in need. Fairmont was also the first luxury hotel group to address climate change by pledging to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emission worldwide. As a member of the World Wildlife Fund’s Climate Savers program, Fairmont has pledged to reduce operational CO2 emissions from its existing portfolio of hotels to 20% below 2006 levels by 2013.