InterContinental Hotels in ‘final stages’ of sharks fin policy review as PR pressure builds

Sharks fin on the menu at Nha Trang InterContinental Hotel, Vietnam. Pic: Alex Hofford

Sharks fin on the menu at Nha Trang InterContinental Hotel

InterContinental Hotels Group has said that it is in the “final stages” of reviewing its policy on serving sharks fin to customers as pressure mounts on the company from environmentalist groups to take it off its menu.

Sharks fin has become a major PR concern for hotel and airlines brands in Asia as the delicacy shifts from being seen as a traditional dish for Chinese banquets and weddings to an indulgence at the expense of an animal removed from the ocean at a rate of 100m a year.

In recent years, hotel giants based in Hong Kong – one of Asia’s major hubs for the sharks fin industry – led by The Peninsula Group and followed by Shangri-La – have pledged to remove sharks fin from their menus in the face of pressure from green groups.

US-owned Hilton Worldwide, Starwood and Ritz-Carlton have done the same, as have The Fullerton Hotel, The Westin, W Hotel, Fairmont and Conrad in Singapore.

InterContinental Hotels, which is one of a few global hotel brands to continue to serve sharks fin, and has been under increasing pressure from green groups to take it off the menu, told Mumbrella that it is in the “final stages” of company-wide review on serving the controversial dish.

ICH logoThe British company’s VP of food and beverage for Asia, Middle East and Africa told Mumbrella in a statement: “Behaving responsibly is part of IHG’s DNA and is at the heart of everything we do. We constantly review all of our policies and procedures to ensure we maintain our high operational and ethical standards. We are in the final stages of a company wide review on the use of Sharks Fin as part of a broader sustainable seafood policy across our portfolio, which will be released in due course.”

Airlines have been under fire from green groups to stop transporting sharks fin. Thai Airways, Cebu Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Air Asia, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Emirates, Qantas, Air New Zealand and Qatar Airways are among the Asian airlines to declare themselves sharks fin-free.

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific has a ‘sustainable fins only’ policy, but the company has yet to implement it, according to a Hong Kong-based environmentalist close to the issue.

Late last month, outdoor media owner JCDecaux said that it backed a campaign in Hong Kong promoting the sale of sharks fin by Chinese media medicine brand Hang Cheong Loong, because it was a legal product and one that is “generally accepted by traditional Chinese people in Hong Kong.”


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