The global celebration World Oceans Day celebrates oceans every June 8 in an effort to raise awareness of their importance - from providing food to moderating our climate to even providing important medicines. In honor of this day, FishWise and The Venetian Resort Las Vegas have joined forces to monitor seafood sustainability at this popular hotel and convention center. Such a partnership is important when it comes to spreading the word at a massive scale: The Venetian hosts approximately 25 of the world’s 200 largest conventions in its meeting and exhibition spaces.
FishWise, which partners with the seafood industry across the value chain to achieve responsible seafood commitments, has worked with retail giants as Albertsons Companies and Target. The staff of FishWise includes marine scientists, social scientists and data analysts. Its projects have a global reach. For example, In October 2017, USAID selected FishWise to develop and implement a new global Seafood Alliance for Legality and Traceability.
The Venetian-FishWise program seeks to develop a comprehensive sustainable seafood strategy for the resort’s food service operations, which serves nearly five million meals every year. Currently, U.S. fisheries must follow 10 national standards of sustainability enforced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries program.
FishWise will help collect data and conduct baseline environmental, traceability, and social risk assessments of the resort’s seafood purchases. With this information, The Venetian will then develop a responsible seafood policy and procurement strategy. During implementation of the strategy, traceability, staff training, strategic communications, and outreach on partnerships will be key components.
The Venetian’s work on seafood sustainability falls in line with its parent company’s (Las Vegas Sands Corp.) ECO360 Global Sustainability Strategy, which focuses on four key areas:
The Venetian, along with Las Vegas Sands’ other properties, have seen progress in other areas across its sustainability agenda. The company is close to reaching its science-based 2020 target of a 6 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from its 2015 baseline. Since the ECO360 program was established in 2010, the Las Vegas properties have reduced their total electricity consumption by almost 25 percent.
In addition, The Venetian recently entered into a partnership with NV Energy to offset 100 percent of its annual electricity consumption through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). The resort has invested in many other eco-friendly operations.
In the convention center, Olivier Dubreuil, The Venetian’s vice president of culinary operations, considers sustainability in every decision. In 2017, he and his team introduced Honest Food, which addresses the following areas:
Guests are becoming more interested in where their food comes from and what it contains, according to Dubreuil. He believes the FishWise partnership will help reach his goal of serving fresh and sustainable ingredients to convention guests.
Overall, the hospitality industry is lagging behind other sectors when it comes to seafood sustainability, says Tobias Aguirre, Chief Executive Officer at FishWise. The industry is making some progress: in 2017, the Seafood Watch program, established in 1999 by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, held an industry roundtable to address this problem.
This effort has also been helped by companies including the tech firm Eachmile, which has helped boost seafood sustainability with its development a database. The Singapore-based firm has also partnered with some of the largest hotel chains (including Hyatt and Hilton) to help them understand the sustainability of a particular seafood item. Hyatt recently partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to include seafood sustainability in its 2020 Environmental Sustainability Vision. Other hotels with established programs include Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Marriott and IHG.
The Venetian can now be added to this list and is providing a solid example for other hotel and resorts across the hospitality industry to follow. However, more hotels must become involved to address the overfishing crisis. According to the NRDC, one third of global fish populations are overexploited or close to depletion. If the hospitality industry and other sectors don’t embrace seafood sustainability on a wider scale, there soon commemorating World Oceans Day will become more of a challenge – as there will be little to celebrate if the oceans continue to be depleted.
Image credits: The Venetian
Laurel has extensive experience writing about energy efficiency, clean energy, sustainability and green building. She was formerly Senior Energy Content Specialist for a digital marketing firm serving the utilities industry where she generated story ideas and wrote content for several e-newsletters. Laurel is also a member of the Ohio chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and participates on several committees for the Central Ohio region.