Environment: Hotel Group Pledges to Stop Serving Shark’s Fin Globally

Corporate Social Responsibility

Starwood Hotels announces a global ban on shark’s fin at all of its hotels and resorts around the world. Properties in the group will stop buying shark’s fin in July 2014 and stop serving it at its food and beverage outlets by year’s end.

Starwood Hotels has announced that its 1,200 hotels and 1,300 restaurants around the world will stop buying shark’s fin in July 2014. It will stop serving the traditional Chinese delicacy by year’s end.

“At Starwood, we believe economic growth and the well-being of society are inextricably tied to the health of the environment, including the health of the world’s oceans and its inhabitants,” says Frits van Paasschen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Starwood.

“Our worldwide ban on shark fin represents an important, environmentally responsible step to aid in the collective goal of marine preservation. As a company with a collection of hotels that span the globe, Starwood has a unique opportunity to influence travelers and guests worldwide, and to underline the importance of good stewardship of our planet.”

Conservationists are welcoming the move.

“This is tremendously good news and a beacon of corporate leadership in ocean health,” says Peter Seligmann, CEO, Chairman and co-founder of Conservation International, a global partner of Starwood’s since 2009.

“As apex predators, sharks serve a critical role in maintaining healthy ocean ecosystems, which directly support our fisheries, economies, culture and health. Their value to human well-being is so much greater than the misguided worth of their severed fins. Starwood’s company-wide ban on shark fin in each and every one of their properties sends a powerful signal that businesses can be positive change agents in the effort to ensure the responsible use of our planet’s natural capital.”

But not everyone is happy. Many diners consider shark’s fin soup a delicacy, and it has long been a staple at Chinese banquets. Ninety-five per cent of the world’s shark’s fins are consumed in Asia.

Interestingly, shark’s fin itself has no flavour. The delightful taste of shark’s fin soup comes from the other ingredients that are used in making the broth.

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