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Global Hotel Chain Leads the Way On Sustainable Seafood Consumption

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In 2019, Gloria Fluxa, the vice chairwoman and chief sustainability officer at Iberostar Group, asked visitors to her Dominican Republic hotels not to eat 34 kinds of seafood.

The request was merely the beginning of a sweeping new effort for the global hospitality company, which has embarked on a massive campaign to educate both staff and guests about the critical importance of making more sustainable food choices.

Iberostar’s efforts come in response to startling and deeply concerning changes taking place around the planet that are borne out by research.

For instance, according to the United Nations, one-third of the world’s oceans are now overfished.

What’s more, hotel chains are among the largest buyers of seafood on the planet, says Eachmile Technologies, a company focused on transforming the global seafood and agriculture supply chains. In fact, some major hotels and integrated resorts consume more than one ton of seafood and feed as many as ten thousand staff meals every single day.

In other words, the type of seafood that hotel companies purchase can have a profound impact on the state of world fisheries. And when hotels purchase that seafood from poorly managed fisheries, fish and shellfish can decline and the habitat they live in can be damaged, says Eachmile.

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None of these facts are lost on Iberostar, a company that hosts eight million guests each year at its 120 hotels and restaurants in 19 countries

With such realities in mind, Iberostar has already converted 15 percent of its total seafood procurement to suppliers that are certified by partner organizations such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). The company’s goal is to push that conversion rate to 25 percent.

Throughout its locations around the world, Iberostar currently serves about 19,000 pounds or 86,000 servings of MSC-ASC-certified seafood a month. The company is also working with the World Wildlife Fund-US and FishWise to improve the sourcing of 100 percent of its seafood and to train many of its 32,000 staff members about responsible seafood consumption.

Iberostar is also embracing local seasonal regulations—including the recent banning of 34 species of seafood from its menus in the Dominican Republic.

“As a family business that has become a part of the communities we’ve served for decades, we believe the hotels play a critical role in ensuring the sustainability of the environmental resources of this country for generations to come,” said Fluxa, fourth-generation leader of the 63-year-old family-owned tourism business.

By operating MSC-ASC certified restaurants, Iberostar assures guests they’re supporting fishermen and businesses who share their environmental consciousness, a point that has never been more relevant, as sustainability is an increasingly important factor in the choices made by countless travelers.

Iberostar’s own study found that when choosing a hotel, 68 percent of guests considered the property’s sustainability policy in their decision.

“We see this as one step in a larger commitment,” said Dr. Megan Morikawa, director of sustainability for Iberostar. “Getting MSC and ASC Certifications where we operate to allow for the traceability of key seafood products is one step in a larger commitment, where dozens of suppliers, thousands of staff, and millions of clients are guided by best seafood practices and join in this movement with us.”

Ultimately, the question Iberostar is seeking to answer is whether the food consumption of eight million tourists can make a difference in the worldwide seafood industry.

Iberostar believes the answer to that question is a resounding yes.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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