News | June 8, 2023
Since 1992, the United Nations (UN) has observed June 8 as World Oceans Day, which celebrates these precious resources while raising awareness about crucial threats to their health and the life they harbor, along with promoting steps to protect marine ecosystems.
Ocean health is vital to ensuring a thriving global environment. According to the UN, the world’s oceans cover more than 70% of the planet, produce at least 50% of its oxygen and are home to most of its biodiversity. Yet, 90% of big fish populations are depleted, and 50% of coral reefs have been destroyed.
One of the most established elements of Sands’ initiatives to protect ocean health is the company’s multi-year effort to build a sustainable seafood program. In 2022, Sands spent $6.7 million on sustainably sourced seafood globally with 24% of its overall spend on seafood coming from sustainable sources.
“Because of the amount of seafood we procure for our properties and its cultural importance to the guest experience in our regions, we have taken measurable steps to ensure sustainable practices that protect ocean health,” said Katarina Tesarova, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer at Sands. “Our commitment ranges from sustainable sourcing initiatives in our properties and supply chain to collaboration with our communities to support innovative programs that preserve ecosystems and biodiversity.”
In Singapore, Marina Bay Sands has worked with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) since 2015 on a unique program that aims to build a future that protects oceans by transforming the resort’s supply chain through guidance from WWF on seafood sourcing, supplier engagement, verification of data and traceability, and chef education.
In addition, the resort has supported eight farms in Malaysia and Singapore on their work with WWF’s aquaculture improvement programs. Since joining the program, all farms have shown significant improvement across the activities required to meet the Aquaculture Stewardship Council certification for farmed seafood. One farm has reached the necessary milestones and is currently seeking certification.
To drive behavior around sustainable seafood incorporation in property restaurants and dining facilities, Sands works to integrate sustainable seafood offerings from the beginning through menu creation and ingredient selection and by guiding chefs on developing sustainable dishes and certified seafood procurement. For example, Marina Bay Sands has hosted tastings to encourage chefs to use available sustainable alternatives.
The emphasis on sustainable seafood has included eliminating protected species, such as shark fin and non-certified blue fin tuna. Sands relies on trusted certifications from the Marine Stewardship Council and Aquaculture Stewardship Council to ensure purchases are from well-managed and sustainable fisheries that protect the marine environment.
World Oceans Day also has marked a time in which Sands’ properties elevate their emphasis on sustainable seafood offerings to raise awareness with Team Members and guests. For World Ocean Day 2023, Sands China’s French-themed restaurant Brasserie is participating in a program coordinated by the Hong Kong Sustainable Seafood Coalition aimed at driving systemic change toward sustainability in seafood consumption. From June 5-16, Brasserie is offering a special dinner menu featuring sustainable and traceable seafood.
Sands China also is promoting awareness about ocean health with the opening of Sea of Plastic: A Recycled Art Exhibit, which is running June 5-26 at The Venetian Macao. Organized by the Institute of Science and Environment at the University of Saint Joseph, Sea of Plastic showcases pieces created by students and local artists expressing their interpretations of plastic pollution in oceans and coasts.
Beyond on-property efforts, Sands also is active in supporting awareness and preservation efforts in local communities. Through the Drop By Drop Project, Sands has provided grants to the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) Macao for its studies on the ability of mangroves to extract microplastics from local waterways. Sands China Team Members have contributed additional support for USJ’s program by participating in annual mangrove plantings, which established 1,000 seedlings along the coast of Taipa, Macao in 2022.
In Singapore, Sands has provided Drop By Drop Project grants to Conservation International Singapore to underwrite a five-part virtual learning series to boost ocean literacy and understanding of biodiversity. Grant funding also enabled Conservation International to establish the 10 for Zero competition, which engaged with 10,000 youths aged 18 to 35 to assess sustainability issues and opportunities in Singapore, with an emphasis on the relevance of climate change and ocean conservation on their well-being and future. On May 27, the inaugural 10 for Zero Awards honored 10 youth environmental leaders for their contributions to conservation efforts and environmental causes.
To learn more about Sands’ commitment to protecting ocean health and biodiversity, read the 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance Report: https://www.sands.com/2022-environmental-social-and-governance-report/