Jade Chaudey | 12th April 2024 | 4min read

The recent Members Monthly Meetup brought together industry experts to discuss the pressing challenge of transitioning towards sustainable practices in the seafood industry. With Heidi, our CEO and Joshua Wong from The Peninsula Hotels as speakers, attendees gained invaluable insights and actionable steps for individuals and businesses to transition towards more sustainable practices.

Group picture at the Peninsula Hotel for the members meetup on the topic of how to SOURCE SEAFOOD RESPONSIBLY

Group picture!

What’s the challenge?

The seafood industry faces a multifaceted challenge when it comes to sustainability, encompassing concerns such as overfishing, environmental consequences, labour practices, and responsible sourcing. Successfully addressing this challenge necessitates a comprehensive and coordinated effort involving individuals, businesses, and policymakers. It is imperative to adopt a systemic approach to safeguard the long-term health of our oceans and the well-being of the communities that rely upon them.

Addressing the consequences of overfishing and unsustainable practices in the seafood industry

“Aquaculture can’t be the only solution to overfishing,” stated Heidi as she commenced her presentation. Although overfishing is an undeniable issue with 90% of fish stocks being overfished, there are other concerns. Heidi also shed light on the harmful consequences of intensive fish farming and the unsanitary conditions, the overconsumption, the routine use of antibiotics, and the troubling presence of modern slavery within the seafood industry.

The issue of overconsumption of seafood in Hong Kong is particularly concerning. On average, a Hong Kong resident consumes 70 kilograms of seafood per year, which is double the global average of 34.6 kilograms.

Heidi and our guests at the Members Monthly Meetup focusing on how SOURCE SEAFOOD RESPONSIBLY

Heidi and our guests


Additionally, Heidi emphasised the impact of destructive fishing methods on ocean beds and biodiversity, along with the growing concern of marine and coastal organisms ingesting plastic waste. It is crucial to recognise that sustainable food practices should encompass not only environmental factors but also prioritise worker safety and address issues such as the lack of protective uniforms, forced labor, antibiotic misuse, and labor law exploitation.

The depicted situation is undeniably discouraging.

That’s why, throughout her presentation, Heidi emphasised the urgent need for responsible sourcing. Her insights underscored the importance of thorough vetting of suppliers by businesses. To aid in this process, she provided a valuable FREE DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCE in the form of a Top 20 Supplier Questions List. This list can serve as a guide during conversations with suppliers to ensure responsible practices are upheld.

Free Seafood Supplier Questions Guide that discusses more about how businesses can SOURCE SEAFOOD RESPONSIBLY

Free Seafood Supplier Questions Guide 


The intricate challenge of integrating sustainable sourcing into hospitality daily operations

Joshua Wong, the Head of Sustainability at The Peninsula Hotels, shared the challenges faced by the hospitality industry when it comes to sourcing sustainable seafood. He expressed how overwhelming it can be to navigate through the vast amount of information available (Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) & ‘Good Fish Guide’, Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), the IUCN RED LIST, WWF-Hong Kong’s ‘Seafood Guide’, etc.) to ensure responsible sourcing, often leading to the question, “What is acceptable to source?”

The Peninsula Hotels initiated their seafood sourcing journey in 2011 by implementing a ban on shark fin, setting a precedent as the first hotel brand to do so globally. They regularly conduct seafood risk assessments in collaboration with WWF. Obtaining accurate information from suppliers is an immense task, in worse cases, only 40% of the assessments proving correct due to incorrect information, such as misidentified fish species, provided by suppliers, and significant traceability challenges.

Joshua openly recognises that the path towards sustainable sourcing is not without imperfections, as he honestly admits, “It’s not perfect!” Nevertheless, he remains optimistic about the advancements being achieved, thanks to the unwavering support and collaboration of the chefs and procurement team. Collectively, they are actively engaged in the pursuit of identifying and adopting increasingly sustainable sourcing options.

As a matter of fact, the group has taken a significant step by introducing a global “sustainable luxury vision”, overseen by their Hong Kong team, which prioritises responsible sourcing as a fundamental pillar.

Joshua Wong speaking about why it is a challenge to SOURCE SEAFOOD RESPONSIBLY in hospitality

Joshua Wong speaking on sustainable seafood sourcing challenges in hospitality.


When making decisions, Joshua explained that they prioritise three key factors: biodiversity conservation, the involvement of labeled suppliers (despite acknowledging that it may not be flawless especially with so much dried seafood being consumed)), and maintaining transparent communications with partners.

Last but not least, Joshua underscored the delicate balance that exists between revenue, client satisfaction, and sustainability. “Sustainability should not be a loss for our clients” (taking the ban on shark fin as an example) Joshua emphasised. “Instead, we should be able to offer our clients other alternatives—delicious and exquisite options—that align with our commitment to sustainability.”

The meetup also provided a platform to discuss the Hong Kong Government’s Blueprint for Sustainable Development in the agriculture and fisheries. Some concerns were raised regarding animal welfare and the housing of animals in high-rise facilities, which contradicts their well-being as sentient beings and the term ‘ sustainable development’ as defined by the UN. On a positive note, the blueprint aims to maintain healthy fisheries for the long term, improve income for mariculturists, and optimise land use through vertical farming (though energy consumption for buildings must be factored in).

April monthly meetup attendees engaged in a Q&A session at The Peninsula on how to SOURCE SEAFOOD RESPONSIBLY

April monthly meetup attendees engaged in a Q&A session at The Peninsula.


👉 Looking to be part of the change? Join our community of changemakers through our Membership Programme by booking a discovery call with us, we’d love to chat!  Or learn more by clicking the link below ⬇️

Sponsors for Source seafood responsibly - April 2024 Monthly Meetup - The Peninsula, Invest Hong Kong and Fresh Accounting
Source seafood responsibly – April 2024

Thank you to our wonderful hosts at The Peninsula Hotel and sponsors: InvestHK and Fresh Accounting as well as our speaker Joshua Wong for sharing invaluable insights.

We hope businesses will take the next step in starting conversations with suppliers on seafood sustainability.

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Together, we’re not just talking about a sustainable future; we’re building it. Let’s make every meal a story worth telling.

Stay green, stay inspired.

Future Green Team

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