IHG Hotel Serving Shark Fin, In Violation Of Corporate Policy

Often we see the major global hotel chains adopt some positive policies due to social pressure. For example, just recently we’ve seen a lot of companies adopt policies banning plastic straws.

A few years ago, IHG adopted a “sustainable seafood policies” for all of their hotels and food and beverage outlets, and this included the ban of shark fin, given how unethical and disgusting the practice is. Many other hotel groups adopted similar policies. To quote IHG’s 2015 responsible business report:

We encourage our hotels to use environmentally friendly products and to source goods and services locally wherever possible. In 2015, we developed and rolled out a Sustainable Seafood Policy which applies to all IHG branded hotels globally and which clarifies that shark fin is not permitted to be served in our hotels’ bars and restaurants. Our Food & Beverage teams partner with our corporate responsibility team to constantly scan and review opportunities to further responsibly source the food items served in IHG branded hotels.

Well, it would appear that not all hotels are adhering to this policy. Jordan shares his experience at the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport in Singapore. He went to one of the hotel’s restaurants, Imperial Treasure, and found that the dinner menu had two pages worth of shark fin dishes.

He Tweeted IHG about this, and they haven’t responded. He brought this to the attention of the front desk, and they just sort of awkwardly smiled, he said.

Not cool at all, IHG. It might be time for them to remind the Crowne Plaza Changi (and other hotels around the world) of this policy.

Comments

  1. IHG’s social media is horrible. I wouldn’t count on an intelligent response to a guest from them.

    Perhaps an influencer like you putting pressure on the corporate office will work though.

  2. They also serve shark fin at the restaurant located inside (on the second floor, so you actually have to go through the lobby and take the lifts up) the CP Hong Kong Causeway Bay, though I believe it is independently run so perhaps they make exceptions for that?

  3. We should get a petition started … class action lawsuits are the way to go in these cases. Unfortunately, that won’t bring back to life any of these sharks.

  4. Imperial Treasure is a big restaurant group with restaurants all over Singapore. The Crowne Plaza restaurant is independently managed by that group, so that perhaps explains it, although it’s no excuse.

  5. Banning straws is positive??!?? Since when is banning stuff a thing? We live in a democracy
    Think about disabled or old people, even kids that need straws what will they do now ??
    Oh right the millennials don’t need it so let’s ban it…..

    Lucky I love your blog but the opinions you take on many freedom issues kinda stinks

  6. i don’t think @lucky is in any position to call others “unethical” or “disgusting” when a good chunk of his posts are used to offer glowing praise of the Saudis and the Qataris (yes SV and QR are extensions of the regimes) while he had his own major ethical lapse with UA before.

  7. The last time I was in Hong Kong I tried shark fin soup, largely out of curiosity. And…it was good. Nothing earth-shaking, mind you….but on the whole, quite yummy.

    Look, I can understand people getting upset about restaurants serving whale or dog, but we’re speaking about a fish, for Pete’s sake. My cross-species empathy has a limit.

  8. @Abe – lots of things get banned when they’re proven to cause harm, like DDT, lead in gasoline, etc. Plastic straws (and a lot of other single-use plastic items) harm sea life.

    There are biodegradable alternatives to plastic straws available, and the price will go down as production ramps up. And most jurisdictions that adopt straw bans allow companies to provide them for the handicapped, including the elderly with mobility problems. As for kids, parents can just pour their drinks into sippy cups like they do at home.)

  9. Many of us have far greater issues in our lives to worry about than the cause-du-jour, be it plastic straws or whether or not a certain fish dish is being served in a culture where it is a centuries-old traditional dish. It seems often conveniently forgotten that these social justice tirades can have real economic impact on people’s livelihoods; let’s not forget how the population of Newfoundland has been severely economically impacted for the past quarter century by the cod moratorium.

    Once again, our bien-pensant overlords know best …

  10. @CraigTPA – It has been estimated that banning DDT has resulted in millions of deaths (mostly children, mind you) from malaria since the 1960’s. Did we save some birds by doing so? Sure, I’ll give you that.

    But are a few eagles more important than millions of kids? Not in my eyes.

  11. @Doug – Do some research into what happens to humans when you kill off most of the fish in the oceans…

    The “fisherman” that are getting these shark fins literally cut the fins off and dump the rest of the shark back in the ocean to die. I’m no PETA proponent, but it’s one thing to kill an animal and eat the entire thing for food (when it has a population large enough to sustain survival of the species…), but shark fining is literally one of humankind’s worst behaviors.

    Please don’t support any restaurant serving this. Get up. Walk out. (And point to the shark fin soup on the menu as your reason).

  12. I am not sure why certain groups would urge for tolerance of their existence, yet demostrate great intolerance for other special groups.

    Btw, the restaurant in question is not owned by IHG.

    While you can state you think it is a violation of the chain’s policy, i wished you would refrain from strong moral judgement. Some people will also think people with certain non-conventional relationship are immoral and disgusting, with some countries even outlawing such relationships outright and we call them out as intolerant people. Accept that in certain places, people have different beliefs and acceptance. IHG policy is one matter, to be extremely intolerant is another. U can dislike it, but people in certain places accept them.

    Your favorite city, Hong Kong has shark fins served in many places, and u may have friends there who ate them. To call them out as unethical and disgusting, is quite hypocritical.

    You can call that IHG hotel out for doing something that appears in conflict with their policy, even though they do not own the restaurant outright. Leave it as such.

  13. @Curtis – Overfishing is certainly a concern, granted. I can support limiting the harvests of some species long enough to give them time for their numbers to increase.

    But characterizing cutting off a piece of a fish and not using the bulk of it as “literally one of humankind’s worst behaviors” is hyperbole of the grandest scale.

  14. I will point out to some of the posters here that taking shark-fin off the menu is as much being driven by Asian consumers and environmental movements. Lots of Singaporeans and Hong Kongers are not eating Shark’s Fin and some Singaporean/HK restaurant groups and hotels are voluntarily taking it off menus too. So, don’t presume that this is somehow a Western cultural imposition. It’s arrogant to presume people from these countries can’t think for themselves or don’t have their own environmental movements.

    I agree with @niko_jas: this is most likely because Imperial Treasure is a contract restaurant not operated or managed directly by the hotel management… but that’s no excuse. If IHG has justifiably passed it’s policy, then it has a responsibility to ensure it’s seen through.

  15. @Doug,
    I’m not sure you know the issue with shark fins actually are. The issue is not that they catch a shark, chop it up and send pieces to what ever restaurant. What they do it catch a shark, cut off it’s dorsal fin and dump it back in the ocean suffering. That’s the problem.

  16. @Abe: Lots of restaurants are now use hay or straw – literal straw – in place of plastic straws. There are also paper and corn-based alternatives. And the ban applied strictly to plastic straws, not the tube-shaped, liquid-getting apparatus altogether. You can come down off that ledge now.

    @Doug: A quick Google search even you are likely capable of doing shows that banning DDT did not result in the malaria-related deaths you cited. And since you’re clearly too lazy to do it yourself, here ya go:

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=did+banning+DDT+result+in+the+death+of+millions+of+people%3F

  17. @Flyingfish

    Wow, choosing to eat a “delicacy” that primarily exists as a status symbol for conspicuous consumption with disgusting environmental impacts is equivalent to the immutable characteristic of being gay. Glad we all can see where you stand, bigot.

    There are people in Asia who eat shark fin and people in the Middle East who hate gays and lucky nor I will not take some milquetoast cultural reletavist stance and say either behavior is acceptable.

  18. @Felix – I’m quite aware of the issue, which you summarized quite accurately.

    However, were I asked to rate my concern about the suffering of a fish on a scale of 1 to 10, the answer would be “minus several million”.

  19. @doug gives us a lesson in the classic technique: “whataboutism”

    A discussion about banning plastic straws and trying to mitigate needless animal suffering and wasteful fishing practices is met with an un-sourced* claim about millions of dead children.

    Well played sir.

    *I am not saying it isn’t true, just you provided no evidence to support. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see it because it isn’t relevant.

  20. How many of you decrying the consumption of shark’s fin eat the carcasses of other fauna? At least a shark gets a relatively dignified burial at sea rather than being chewed up and defecated out by the callous gluttons of humanity. You are all complicit, just like Ivanka. Virtue signallers will be among the first against the wall.

  21. Chinese people eating shark fin is an outrage, but when North Americans and Europeans decimate the codfish its . . . meh.

  22. Before making moral delcarations, understand the West engages in its own arguably disgusting behaviour too: certain caviars (like beluga) are hardly sustainable, and the methods used to prepare a duck to make foie gras is vile.

    Holier than thou statements rarely convert anyone.

  23. @AdamR – A short excerpt:

    Please recall that, in many countries, malaria was the No. 1 killer. But after DDT went into widespread use, malaria deaths — especially in places like India — plunged. After the ban went into effect in the 1970s, malaria and other dread diseases came back with a horrible vengeance. Today, millions are again being afflicted with mosquito-carried diseases once thought eradicated, diseases whose terrible effects include everything from skin afflictions to brain damage to death.

    https://www.investors.com/politics/commentary/will-the-deadly-ban-on-ddt-ever-end/

    And I’ll leave it at that. This is a travel blog, after all, and we’re getting a wee bit off topic.

  24. “how unethical and disgusting the practice is”-talking about what Lucky practices, sodomy I believe it is called in the Middle East?
    Who made you the judge of what is right and wrong?

  25. @David, @Mak: This is really not a West vs. Asia thing. The decimation of the codfish was a horrible thing, which is precisely why the Government of Canada effectively banned its cod fishery in the 1990’s (just google cod moratorium). I supported that move then and would love to see China do the same for shark-finning. Unsustainable resource extraction is not a good thing no matter who does it. So let’s call it out when we see it. Also, as I said before there are many, many Asians who want the shark fin soup industry reduced because they recognized the environmental problems associated with it. Lots of domestic restaurants and hotels have voluntarily stopped serving shark’s fin and it had nothing to do with Westerners. It’s the oldest play in the book to try to detract from criticism by saying that the criticism is somehow invalid because it comes from a foreign party.

  26. @DougFresh – I wasn’t the one who inserted the subject of DDT into the discussion. I was replying to CraigTPA.

  27. @Doug, many estimates say that ONE HUNDRED MILLION sharks are killed by humans every year, most just for their fins. This form of cruelty just to make a soup which is mostly a right of passage or display of wealth for the affluent is ABSOLUTELY one of our worst, and is inexcusable. As an avid scuba diver, I assure you the impacts of this trade are visible and detrimental to the health of our oceans.

    No one needs to eat this soup – but you need healthy populations of sharks in our oceans if you appreciate the ability to harvest seafood of all kinds from our oceans in our future.

  28. Excellent post Lucky.

    You are 100% right.

    People commenting otherwise.. you literally make me sick.

    Shark finning is an absolutely DISGUSTING practice for a tasteless thickening agent. Magnificent harmless sharks are brutalized and left to die in agony.

    You need to grow a soul somehow, those who make fun and/ or support such a despicable industry.

    Oh… and by the way you redneck morons…. 100 million sharks are slaughtered every year, threatening the whole oceanic ecosystem and their own survival.

    Look up the big words. And for the mathematically challenged also.. 100 million is 100,000,000 every single year. Or a quarter million a day.

  29. @Curtis – As I said, I’m open to limiting the harvesting of some species. They’re renewable resources, and should be managed wisely. It’s analogous to hunting whitetail deer vs. hunting bison. Whitetails are so numerous they’re literally a road hazard. They can (and should) be hunted by the millions. Bison…not so much. At one point were down to only 300 of them. Now that there are hundreds of thousands of them, limited hunting and harvesting is sensible.

    As for the cruelty angle….not a concern. It’s only a fish.

  30. @Doug:

    Yes…the one link from investors.com versus page after page of links with actual information from actual scholarly and scientific sources about the ban, its stipulations, and the actual outcome and continued use of DDT. And I’ll just leave this right here as well (from http://www.aei.org/publication/the-rise-fall-rise-and-imminent-fall-of-ddt/):

    Although many believe that DDT was banned after 1972, it actually was not. It continued to be used in emergencies for pest control, for which exemptions were granted by the federal government, and it is still available for public health use today. In January 1979, DDT was used to suppress flea vectors of murine typhus in Louisiana.[26] As late as June 1979, the California Department of Health Services was permitted to use DDT to suppress flea vectors of bubonic plague.[27] Texas got an exemption to control rabid bats in October 1979.[28] Between 1972 and 1979, DDT was used to combat the pea leaf weevil and the Douglas-fir tussock moth in the Pacific Northwest; rabid bats in the Northeast, Wyoming, and Texas; and plague-carrying fleas in Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada.[29] State governments, with the permission of the federal government, continued to leverage DDT to protect public health and agriculture. Manufacturing DDT for export was also allowed.

    This isn’t about DDT and supposed deaths per se; it’s about you cherry-picking only the facts – and some lies and incorrect assumptions thrown in for apparent good measure – that support your flawed argument and “whataboutism”. QED, my friend.

  31. I am disgusted by many of the comments here.

    As others have noted, there is evidence for a certain soullessness, especially with those “whataboutisms”, or whatever you call that. So sad to see the poison of the current US president’s tweets spill into a lot of the mind state of some pitiful posters here.

    Shark finning is a terrible practice. As a Spire Ambassador, I will write to IHG about this. Because of this, I will indeed change my business (250+ hotel nights annually) to Marriott finally.

    Thank you for pointing this out, Lucky!

  32. @Andy – “People commenting otherwise.. you literally make me sick.”

    If reading the opinion of someone with whom you disagree makes you violently ill, the internet might not be the best place to hang out.

    Just sayin’.

  33. Ah yes @henry LAX the shining beacon of ethical action, here to comment negatively again… you really are a pathetic little guy, huh buddy?

  34. The comments show what is wrong with environmentalists and other left wing loonies. They think they have the right to control what others are allowed eat,drink, etc.

  35. Shark fin is a ridiculous food that is past it’s time. It is not sustainable and needs to be banned worldwide.

  36. @Teo: The way you frame this debate about “controlling” what people can eat/drink is completely misleading. This is about well regulating a shared, finite resource. There are countless examples throughout history of poor resource management leading to worse outcomes for everyone (look up Tragedy of the Commons). Without good regulation and controls, the environment suffers and everybody loses. I think the evidence is pretty clear that the shark fishery was/is out of control and needed to be reined in. Without a central government authority able to do that for international fishing waters, consumer pressure on those who serve shark was a logical and necessary movement. That in turn led big companies with corporate-social responsibility mandates (such as IHG) to enact policies… which in this case clearly have not been enforced.

  37. @Peter – “Many of us have far greater issues in our lives to worry about than the cause-du-jour”

    Yet here you are….

  38. Most people who dislike this kind of thing are filthy hypocrites. Many American (and global) farmers treat their animals horrifically (especially chickens) yet most of you happily buy from them…

    Same with whaling. People think sharks and whales are cute – that’s the only reason most of you care.

  39. Shark’s fin soup should be ALLOWED! Sharks kill and eat people. It is only fair to offer reciprocity. There is a better argument not to eat steak because cows generally do not kill and eat people.

    Of course, cutting the shark’s fin and then throwing the live body aboard is wasteful. But sharks don’t eat all of the human body. Often, they just chew off an arm.

  40. This 100 million number is not based on actual research, but whatever the number of sharks killed by humans annually is, the majority are killed as bycatch when fishing for other species, not specifically targeting sharks for their fins and then dumping them back into the ocean. Sanctimonious smuggards are making finning out to be like clubbing baby seals. Get off your high horses and stop eating fish if you think shark’s fin soup is so abhorrent. Until you stop eating animal flesh, kindly shut up about the waste and suffering.

  41. @Callum – “People think sharks and whales are cute – that’s the only reason most of you care.”

    Sharks are cute?

  42. Where are your indignant outcries when Ben flies over 400k+ miles a year, financially enabling the practice of pumping obscene amounts of CO2 into the air? Please leave your hypocrisies at the door cause it’s exhausting to listen to. Most of you will forget about this article by tomorrow, and the people who actually care to preserve our ocean are out there doing it, not furiously commenting on some blog.

  43. @peter we can’t use that “it’s people’s livelihood” as an excuse. People sell drugs at school yards as their livelihood as well.

    Buuuut before we get outraged and disgusted what a lot of people don’t know is that for years menus with shark fin soup is not actually that. Yes folks, well before the term fake news was born there was fake shark fin soup. That’s the case in many asian restaurants. But if they are serving the real thing then yes it needs to be called out.

  44. I’m not an expert on the subject of fisheries, but a couple bromides dished here as facts need to be examined.

    First, 250,000 sharks are killed by man EVERY SINGLE DAY? Seems highly unlikely that 250k pigs per day are slaughtered, let alone some creature that needs to be sought and faught in the open sea.

    Second, how widespread is the practice of removing the fin and letting the shark die? If the remainder of the shark isn’t suitable for human consumption, you’d think if they could get $0.19/lb for it back on dry land to become pet food or fertilizer it would be worth hauling the damn thing back to port.

    In comparison, there’s not a single cell of flesh, bone or feather that goes unused in livestock ‘production’ on land. There’s a use for every part of the animal.

    I’m not saying that my sense is right on either or both of these suppositions, but we’re all keenly aware of the hyperbole used by activists to engineer the appearance of a crisis in order to get their way to enact public policy. Ergo, I’m looking at these claims with a jaundiced eye.

  45. @derek
    More people get struck by lightning than getting attacked by a shark each year.
    Are you going to promote eating lightning because lightning kills people?

  46. I am currently an IHG employee. I work at company managed hotel. While I cannot talk to the specifics of this hotel situation there but IHG, and other hotel companies, has limited control over what a franchise hotels can do.
    I find the use of shark fin to be destable. But it may not be a situation where IHG has much control

  47. In reading all the comments above, people arguing about the morality and ethics of harvesting shark fins and asking us to grow a “soul” admit that there is more to our fleshly bodies, that we have a soul. People like to argue and justify what they feel is moral but the ultimate judge of what is right and wrong is the Holy Bible, the living Word of God. In there are what is deemed right and wrong (including sexual orientation and sodomy).
    Urge everyone to open your eyes and embrace the TRUTH. All of this earthly life will one day pass away and our bodies will perish, including all the accumulated points and miles in our accounts. What is most important at the end is meeting our maker and accounting for all of our life choices.
    Born once, die twice. Born TWICE, die once.

  48. People, please indicate if you are a trump supporter or a liberal in your posts.

    Some posts are really telling. You already know my opinion about white Republican males.

  49. I find that most of those outraged over a certain item are usually hypocrites and do far more damage to the very thing they pretend to care about. I ignore all the anti-shark fin, plastic straw people since they always have something in their life that negates their pro-environment stance.

    I think this is a human deficiency where we have to act like we are in control of something so we see in this example it’s shark fins and plastic straws. Next month it will be these two plus something else.

  50. @Debit I’m a black Republican male married to a Hispanic republican woman. Sorry is that messes up your profiling.

  51. Awful. Chinese culture will be the death of this planet. Why do they have no respect for the environment? How can they be so heartless, soulless, and shortsighted? I just don’t get it.

    And yes, this restaurant should be boycotted out of existence.

    Thank you for bringing attention to this matter, Lucky.

  52. @Grant
    A quick search shows 121million pigs are slaughtered per year in the US, that more than 331K per day in the US alone!
    Also why people thinking throwing a mostly dead fish back in the ocean is a bad thing, they do become food for the bottom feeders/other organisms, it’s not like they just become land fill.

  53. People here like to hate each other more than finding the truth.
    These prices cannot be the real shark fins.
    There are fake shark fins everywhere and tasting/looking like real shark fins.
    Its name has shark not necessary having it.
    Idiots are haters.

  54. @Creditian – “These prices cannot be the real shark fins.”

    I presume the prices are in Hong Kong dollars, so the dishes range from $2 USD to $13 USD for a bowl of soup. Why is that unbelievable?

  55. Against shark fins here but okay with hotels serving it because only 10% of the worlds “shark fins” served are actually shark fins. The rest according to an article I read a while back are produced from other fish parts. So the chances of them actually serving them at these prices are actually very low. Just like birds nest. There is not enough bird spit in the world to supply all the restaurants in the world.

  56. @Creditian – My mistake, it’s in Singapore, I was recalling my stay in Hong Kong. The prices do seem quite high.

  57. The justifications here for shark fin soup are laughable. It seems that very few people supporting shark fin soup have any idea about the industry workings, environmental impacts etc. and instead seem to support it purely based on hypocrisy.

    @Doug , Paul, Grant etc. do some research before you consider your next response. When I first learned of the shark fin industry I had no idea about it. It is utterly deplorable and the environmental impacts it has had and will have will drastically affect our oceans forever. Comparing the killing of a wild animal to that of farm raised cattle or a fish that reproduce on a massively different scale to sharks is hugely ignorant.

  58. @RF -Your posting that shark fin is a ridiculous food and should be banned is not well thought out. It is eaten by millions of Chinese and Asians around the world and they will perhaps compare it to hamburgers or pizza in the USA . Would you say hamburgers and pizzas are a ridiculous food and should be banned ?

  59. What some people do not seem to realize that if we continue to treat the environment so horribly, we are only harming ourselves. The earth has experienced many mass extinction events. Such events make always end up with the extinction of the dominant species. The population of humans is only rising and we need to find a way to sustainably live with nature otherwise we will end up losing. In the end mother nature always comes out on top. Over fishing is a huge problem when we run out of that resource a big percentage of the world’s population will have trouble finding enough food… So conservation is actually the just selfish thing us humans can do. To help ourselves stay around I this world.

  60. Throwing the shark to the sea after cutting the fins is as idiot as throwing money to the sea — the liver are used to make liver oil (a health product) and the meat and bone can be used to make fishball and soup

    Btw i dont support shark fins, not only because of inhuman not also shark fins itself is tasteless

  61. More people telling you what to do, and what NOT to do. Sounds like more government in disguise !! Just tell them if they don’t like it, go elsewhere to their “Safe Space”.

  62. @brewerSEA

    You (and many LGBT supporters) don’t understand @flyingfish’s comparison. To call something immoral and disgusting is to make a moral judgment. In order to make moral judgments you need a baseline value. Different people, different countries, and different cultures have very different baseline values. Asians like to eat things that a lot of Westerns don’t approve. For example my wife’s family used to eat raw sashimi lobster (while the lobster was still alive) in restaurants in Sydney and really enjoyed it- that is until Australia banned that.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion right? If you or Lucky or someone else finds that practice abhorrent you have every right to feel that way. In the same vein why aren’t others able to make moral judgments about things you value – for example your sexual preference and sexual behavior. Can they not also find it abhorrent and disgusting?

    No, the hypocrisy that @flyingfish and many other people see that you and many LGBT supporters have is that your so-called “tolerance” is only one way. Everyone must tolerate your values or be called a bigot and risked being boycotted or fired from their jobs.

    But the LGBT community and their supporters are allowed to attack everyone else because they are an “oppressed minority” – in the United States, especially among the coastal states, the oppressed narrative is definitely not true anymore, if anything the LGBT movement is supremely powerful, wealthy, and well connected politically.

  63. What does this have to do with the Chinese people or China? It is in Singapore, and not China. If you all want it banned, it would be more accurate to say that the Singaporean people should petition and protest and the government of Singapore to ban it and enforce it.

  64. Most of the contributors have lost the plot, the arguments being raised have little or no relevance . i.e the methods of farming / fishing of shark for sharkfin worldwide, their is no worldwide moratorium in Shark fishing.A persons sexuality is their own business! , its connection to Sharkfin Soup is just not there.
    IHG have sub let their restaurant in the Crown Plaza at Singapore Changi Airport all they have to do is reiterate their worldwide policy on use and sale of Sharkfin on their properties to their lessee and insist they abide by it or suffer the consequences of not doing so. How about we stick to the reason for OMAT,

  65. Definition of Ad hominem: “(of an argument) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining”.

    For the purposes of debating the ethics of the shark-fin industry it is irrelevant
    1. That @Lucky is gay
    2. That North Atlantic countries overfished their cod stocks
    3. That criticism comes from all over the world instead of only countries that largely consume the shark fin
    4. That @Lucky’s carbon footprint is abnormally high due to his 400,000 miles of flying every year

  66. I’m by far not a Tree Hugger, hell I own a V8 Dodge Charger but I’m a huge fan of sustainable seafood practices as a scuba diver I have seen the amount of damage that is occurring. If shark finning was done in a sustainable way that used the entire shark then I would be more willing to be okay with it. The current practice though waste hundreds of pounds of meat instead of using it. I believe with enough effort a process could be found to make it sustainable that way people can enjoy it responsibly.

  67. The vast, vast majority of plastic that ends up in the ocean comes from 5 rivers not in NA or Europe, so banning straws isn’t going to help that. That said, switching to more environmentally friendly straws in generally I have no idea problem with as long as it doesn’t materially raise costs, so carry on. . Flying all the time is VERY harmful for the environment, though, so I have a hard time buying your moral superiority on straws. I also have no issues with eating shark fin. I imagine some of their (and other) franchise rules are more strictly enforced in N/A and Europe than in Asia and elsewhere..

  68. @Justin It’s the oldest play in the book to try to detract from criticism by saying that the criticism is somehow invalid because it comes from a foreign party.

    I’m not saying that the criticism is somehow invalid because it comes from a foreign party. I’m saying that the criticism is invalid because it is hypocritical, lacks self-awareness, and is based in racism, prejudice, and hysteria rather than rational thought.

  69. LOL all the right wing trolls on here who are whining about lefties taking away plastic straws, how dare the “libtards” interfere in the god given right to screw up and poison the oceans (and our own food supply).

    Also LOL all the people here using cultural relativism to defend an objectively gross, cruel and harmful practice like finning sharks. I lived in Hong Kong for over a decade and believe me a) most people don’t care for the taste anyway it’s just about being a status symbol and b) 99.9% of people can’t tell the difference between real and fake shark fin, there are plenty of substitutes (it’s just fish cartilage after all). You can defend literally ANYTHING by resorting to cultural relativism and calling someone a cultural imperialist for objecting. That’s why the arguments about gay rights on here are so uninformed and illogical.

    Finally, all of this misses the point entirely which is that IHG is using their corporate sustainability promise, specifically referring to shark fin, as an advertising tool to increase profits. It’s very sleazy to then shift responsibility by allowing contract restaurants in their hotels to serve it. They need to either stop this or drop their claim entirely and stop trying to take credit for sustainability.

  70. @Mak: Sorry, but while your argument might seem logical to some, I feel like it is at best a deflection and at worse just false. If criticisms of the shark-fin industry were based in “racism, prejudice and hysteria” then why are their domestic sustainability movements in Singapore and Hong Kong pushing for taking shark’s fin off of menus? Why are Singaporean, Hong Kong and other regional companies (ie. Shangri-La) doing this? Just google No Sharks Fin Singapore to see articles about SG restaurants taking it off the menu and local environmental organizations pushing this cause. Why is consumption of Shark’s Fin down significantly in mainland China?

    It is just as arrogant to presume that culture is fixed and that Asians are a monolith all in support of eating shark’s fin and that to attack the industry is to attack Asian culture. I know lots of Asians who choose not to eat Shark’s Fin out of an ethical choice. Similarly, I’m sure there are lots of Westerners who would eat Shark’s Find because they don’t care. There are really rational reasons for why the shark’s fin industry is cruel and unsustainable and the countless reports from environmental organizations are not based on racial prejudice. As you say, it is the oldest play in the book to blame foreigners for an issue, so you have to be darned sure before trying to make that argument for it to be credible.

    As for the criticism being hypocritical, well that is precisely the definition of an ad hominem attack. You’re not actually dealing with the substance of the criticism: the waste of the shark’s fin fishery disposing of the rest of the shark, the unsustainability of the catch, the implications to the broader ecological balance of severely reducing apex predators (jelly fish blooms etc.). We can criticise @Lucky’s carbon foot print AND agree with his stance on Sharks’ Fin. Those are not mutually exclusive positions and @lucky’s carbon footprint does not actually take anything away from the underlying argument.

  71. @Justin -Have there really people who whine about someone who flys a lot having a large carbon footprint when the entire point of the blog is the joy of air travel?

  72. @Doug: Comment from Dave: “Where are your indignant outcries when Ben flies over 400k+ miles a year, financially enabling the practice of pumping obscene amounts of CO2 into the air? Please leave your hypocrisies at the door cause it’s exhausting to listen to…”

    It was one of several ad hominem criticisms in the comments section about the shark-fin issue.

  73. @Justin If criticisms of the shark-fin industry were based in “racism, prejudice and hysteria” then why are their domestic sustainability movements in Singapore and Hong Kong pushing for taking shark’s fin off of menus?

    Putting to one side that your statement is counterfactual, and that any such “sustainability movements” are fringe in Asia, I have no problem at all with any such movements. My disgust is saved for those Americans and Europeans living on the other side of the world, who would never encounter, eat, or enjoy shark’s fin in any case, to look past all of the problems in their hemisphere and in their own homes, and loudly and cheaply proclaim their greater virtue by demanding an end to cultural practices of others at absolutely no cost to themselves, and with no skin in the game. While they might feel that they are superior to those who eat shark’s fin, to me they are immoral, obnoxious, and should learn to mind their own business, and instead focus on what THEY can give up to save the planet, rather than what OTHERS should give up.

  74. @Mak: It is absolutely NOT counterfactual. LOOK IT UP. Google No Sharks Fin Singapore and you’ll find many news articles about restaurants dropping sharks fin as well as local environmental organizations commenting on the subject. I even recall an ad campaign with bus adverts a couple of years back. The wikipedia page for sharks fin industry has a bunch of examples of Asian organizations ranging from the Malaysian government to Cold Storage in Singapore stopping the serving of Shark’s Fin. Does that sound like a “fringe movement”? The world’s oceans are a shared resource by all countries, not the property of only one people.

    I actually have no problems with people in different parts of the world constructively criticizing issues in other countries. If my country has problems (and what country doesn’t) it really does not matter where the criticism comes from… I welcome all of it because it means it will help to make change for the better.

    God knows Singaporeans criticize other countries. Think of the outrage over the haze caused by Indonesia. Lots of Singaporeans complained about the Malaysian and Indonesian practices of burning. What did the Indonesians do? They did EXACTLY what you’re doing by saying it’s none of the Singaporeans business. The VP of Indonesia even said that Singaporeans should be grateful for the fresh air that Indonesia gives them for the 9 months of the year it isn’t covered in pollution.

    I know plenty of Singaporeans who’ve moaned about this or that about Europe or the U.S. and they’re often right. I’m glad that they criticize and complain. Often it requires people from other parts of the world to point out when things are wrong because they have a different perspective. But you know what I don’t do? I don’t say, hey, I’m “disgusted” that you would dare to criticize or “proclaim greater virtue” by demanding an end to my country’s cultural practices! Give me a break. Cultures are not fixed, cultures are not sacred, cultures are not the property of anyone and saying something is ‘cultural’ is not a get-out-of-jail free card to give it a blanket veto against criticism.

    You are ascribing a lot of traits to people who don’t like the shark’s fin industry which boils down to my original point. You seem to only be able to make ad hominem criticisms of the people making the complaint: they’re “hypocrites”, “obnoxious”, “immoral”… as opposed to actually coming up with any substantive arguments for why the sharks fin industry is sustainable and not causing negative environmental effects.

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