We were recently invited to embark on a green experience at the award-winning sustainable integrated resort, a destination that has the entire world raving and a pit-stop for almost every tourist in Singapore! Marina Bay Sands is known for its amazing architecture, recognised by many as the ship that sails high in the sky with killer views overlooking the entire city from its observation deck.
The very core DNA and business strategy of this integrated resort is a continuous pursuit of environmental sustainability. They have increased their efforts through Sands Eco360°; a global sustainability strategy program that combines the company’s best practices, technologies and methodologies.
Given its large scale of F&B operations throughout the property, sustainability defines the way they do business even when it comes to food! We were invited to RISE restaurant for lunch to taste some responsibly sourced seafood.
So, you must be curious as to when this "responsible seafood" journey started. In 2013 Marina Bay Sands stopped serving shark fin at all restaurants owned and operated in the integrated resort. Through a landmark partnership in 2017 with the WWF fund for nature in Singapore, they joined forces and developed measurable and achievable goals to improve responsible procurement to transform its supply chain.
Above is the responsibly sourced octopus, tuna and salmon that is served at RISE. The seafood was extremely fresh and to my surprise, I enjoyed the octopus most, which melted in my mouth with its tender and slightly sweet taste!
So what's the catch with sustainable seafood? Firstly, when farming they are not allowed to harvest the seafood faster than it reproduces. Secondly, when the fisherman fishes, he must not destroy and damage the ocean in the process. Thirdly, modern slavery is frowned upon - i.e., no abusive labour practices. And of course, a strict audit process that is implemented to keep the system in check.
Some of you may know that I'm a huge fan of prawns, especially at buffets - it's the first dish I would pile my plate with! Knowing that these prawns are responsibly sourced made me feel even more at ease (not to mention they were juicy and delicious)!
Currently 28% of seafood is responsibly sourced throughout the integrated resort. Marina Bay Sand's key goal is for 50% of its total procured seafood (by volume) to be responsibly sourced by 2020.
As of today, the integrated resort uses over 90 types of seafood - such as salmon, tilapia, prawns, mussels and lobsters from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) as certified sources. In particular the sustainable tiger prawns and Norwegian salmon are used in Adrift, Bread Street Kitchen and CUT restaurant. Marina Bay Sands also supports 7 aquaculture farms in Malaysia which have produced over 200,000kg of sustainable seafood!
What I appreciated the most was the herb garden located outside RISE. This garden started four years ago with only 20 herb varieties and today it has grown to over 80 different types that are grown organically! The edible garden has a dedicated staff taking care of it using only organic fertilisers and compost. It also reuses coffee grounds from the restaurants as fertilisers, eliminating the use of chemicals and pesticides.
Up to 1.2kg of these home-grown herbs are harvested daily for use across the integrated resorts various restaurants and bars. The herb trimmings are also utilised as centrepieces at rise which brings life to the restaurant. By using ingredients grown in-house, it also helps to reduce ‘Food Miles’ making the food they serve taste better, and more environmentally friendly.
Carolyn Grant, an urban farmer from Edible Garden City, was present to briefly explain how the garden runs. She disclosed to us that guests are able to walk through the garden, where a designated gardener will impart knowledge about gardening to them. Furthermore, the guest can pick and bring home their very own trimmings! Ultimately this also creates community amongst the Marina Bay Sands staff, as they can walk within the garden for fresh air at any time.
As part of the tour, we were brought back of house to the loading dock and into the area where the integrated resort recycles their food waste. There are 5 on-property digesters just like you see in the photo above. This machine breaks down 500kg of food waste a day. In 2018, 752,000kg of food waste was diverted from landfills all thanks to the environmentally sustainable department in Marina Bay Sands. To my surprise, this area did not stink at all! Our experience going through this area was extremely clean. Now that's Singapore for you!
Personally, it was a great experience learning about how this integrated resort practices sustainability in all their restaurants. What also amazes me is that in 2018, 8,400kg of unconsumed bread was donated to a charity organisation Food from the Heart, and 2,000kg of unserved cooked food was donated to the Food Bank of Singapore. At the end of the day, we're here to leave a positive impact on society and lend our hand to our community to the best of our ability - to that end, Marina Bay Sands does an outstanding job!
On a side note, Kevin Teng, Executive Director of Sustainability took time out from his busy schedule to bring us for a walkabout round the property and briefly showed us the sustainability aspect in terms of the structural design of the building. During my chat with Kevin, I learnt that sustainability is not just for saving the environment but makes good business sense as well. Marina Bay Sands stands as a progressive global leader in terms of integrated resorts, where "green business is good business".