Hilton sets out baseline for its seafood sustainability strategy

Hilton, the global hospitality company well known for its wide range of branded hotels, is doing something pioneering in the world of seafood. It is aiming to responsibly source all its seafood by 2022 and on June 9th published the results of its progress after the first year into its strategy.

Unfortunately the company’s sustainable seafood report does not offer any figures for volume or value of seafood used or consumed, but with 5,000 properties holding more than 812,000 rooms in 103 countries and hosting 160 million guests in 2016 we can guess it is an awful lot of fish.

Hilton’s sustainable seafood journey (as the company calls it) began in 2015 when they conducted a risk and capability analysis of their supply chains which identified seafood as a high-risk category. From this the company worked on a global responsible sourcing strategy and in June 2016 announced its global commitment to responsibly source its seafood by 2022 – that is, seafood that is managed in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

Seafood strategy has three pillars

Hilton is working with a number of NGOs and other organisations to deliver on its seafood strategy. This has three main sustainability goals:

  • Protect the Endangered: to eliminate the procurement of endangered species by 2022 at all its owned, leased, managed and franchised Hilton properties.
  • Buy from the Best: by 2022 the company will source at least 25% of its total global seafood volume from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified farms.
  • Invest in the Rest: by 2022 Hilton will source the rest of its seafood volume from fisheries and farms that have entered into the official process of full assessment for certification against MSC and ASC standards; for tuna products these will be sourced from International Seafood Sustainability Foundation participating companies; and procure fish from ‘green’ seafood species on WWF seafood guides.

In moving toward these goals, over the past year, Hilton has collected and analysed its 2015 seafood purchasing data to create a baseline against which to measure its progress towards its 2022 goals. To do this the company reviewed data from 350 hotels, 500 suppliers and across 57 fish species groups.

The report says: “This formed the baseline for our multi-year seafood efforts, and enabled us to assess the data quality of known seafood volume across our global operations, identify high volume markets, hotels or seafood species, and map out key gaps and opportunities.”

The results show the scale of Hilton’s challenge and commitment to sourcing responsible and sustainable seafood in its businesses. From their baseline data they found only 6.55% of their fish came from ‘buy from the best’ (2022 Goal: 25%) and 3.91% from ‘invest in the rest’ (Goal: 75%).

Hilton’s analyse showed just under 7% of total volume was reported as coming from MSC certified fisheries and ASC certified farms (the latter especially important as salmon and shrimp are Hilton’s top sourced species by volume globally).

Maxime Verstraete, VP of Corporate Responsibility at Hilton, said: “Identifying, implementing and scaling up responsible sourcing practices is a very complex and necessary task. We are committed to addressing the environmental and social impacts of our supply chain – beginning with where we can have a tangible positive impact: seafood.”

The one year progress report also sets out a number of actions for the future and celebrates some achievements –  such as Hilton Singapore being the first hotel in Asia to receive Chain of Custody certification for MSC and ASC certified seafood in January 2015, and for being the first global hotel company to achieve MSC group certification for 60 owned, leased and managed hotels in Europe (specifically the UK, Netherlands and Belgium).