This blog is part two of a two-part blog series. Haven’t read part one? Check it out here.
In this series, we asked Iberostar about their plans for promoting seafood transparency and traceability within their supply chains, and the resources they offer both internally and externally for supply chain partners looking to make a change.
1. How do you anticipate implementation of the GDST standards providing value to your supply chain partners?
When we started our journey of improving our sourcing for responsible seafood, our industry partners were incredibly enthusiastic about improving their knowledge and traceability of their products. As long as the data is manageable, it’s a major plus to know more about the products, where they come from, and if they are burdened with any major Illegal Unreported Unregulated (IUU) fishing or social rights issues. However, collecting data is also a learning process and we found we needed to start with a few key elements before diving deep into the complexities of traceability. Two years ago, we took the first steps with our suppliers, starting with scientific names of species and FAO regions associated with all our products. The lessons learned from that process allowed us to take further steps for now implementing more key data elements including certification information, catching, and farming methods, primary processor information and more. We see that GDST allows us to take these data collection standards to the next level.
2. How will traceable and responsibly sourced products be highlighted at Iberostar’s hotels and resorts? How will Iberostar get that positive message out to your clientele?
One of the first steps we took to enhance the customer journey was to achieve Chain of Custody (CoC) certifications and source MSC / ASC certified products. In 2019, we certified 7 of our restaurants worldwide, had 15% of our providers certified CoC (their total volume representing 60% of our sourcing). This year, we certified 7 more restaurants, bringing our total to 14 CoC certified restaurants in 4 different countries. We were the first hotel chain to be CoC certified in Spain, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Portugal and our suppliers brought some of the first certified seafood products to the Dominican Republic.One of our first steps after certifying was to communicate the MSC / ASC eco-labels and traceability. We worked to ensure that when clients see the label on our menu, they understand that it guarantees our seafood offerings are certified and traceable.
In 2020, we are committed to sourcing 45% of our seafood from responsible sources, in line with our commitment to have 100% of our seafood responsibly sourced by 2025. As we increase our responsibly sourced seafood, we are looking forward to strengthening the customer journey, so clients know where their seafood products come from.Additionally, we are in the development stages of our very own responsible seafood choice logo, which when used in our hotels worldwide will guarantee that the seafood being served is responsibly sourced. Our hope is that clients can take some of these practices home with them and begin to research and purchase responsibly sourced seafood in their own communities.
On social media, we debuted our Riding the Wave series which allowed viewers to learn about the importance of traceability from a variety of different experts, including Frank Terzoli from GDST. This conversation series highlighted the importance of traceability, what it means for seafood to be responsibly sourced and what every individual can do to become a more responsible consumer.
3. Are internal training policies being developed to guide purchasing of traceable and responsibly sourced products?
Training was in fact our first major focus on a journey to 100% responsible consumption of seafood by 2025. Training specifically around traceability was a major component of our training on sustainable seafood. Our internal purchasing team was the first to become experts not only on the KDE’s that were necessary for us to make first assessments of responsibility but on ways to motivate our suppliers to further their journey on data collection. However, we realized that internal discovery was not quite enough. We then turned to work with fantastic groups such as WWF-US and FishWise who helped us further our training and knowledge even further in 2018 and 2019. At the end of 2019, we ultimately decided that in order to sustain this knowledge in-house, we needed to hire a dedicated strategy director for the Responsible Consumption of Seafood. Thus Adriana Sanchez, our Responsible Seafood Strategy Director has greatly facilitated this training and expertise.
All of our employees have had basic training on Wave of Change and our commitment to the responsible consumption of seafood. Yet we have also developed modules specifically for our purchasing departments and our chefs within Iberostar. With Adriana, we’re working on strengthening the internal training and processes we have to ensure traceability once products are entering into the hotel as well as sufficient communication to our clients.
Another major role that Adriana plays is to help us develop roadmaps that mirror the guides we use internally that are publicly available for the sector. In June of 2020, we announced our roadmap to a commitment to 100% responsible by 2025 which can be found on our website at waveofchange.com. Part of our roadmap includes not only training and policies to be used internally, but also guidelines that can be used through upcoming roundtables we’re planning with our suppliers and eventually other hotel partners.
4. I am sure Iberostar’s chefs are excited about the company’s traceability goals. Can you please tell us about some of their comments on these goals?
Our chefs are committed to excellence in service and quality products. We understand that knowing where our food comes from is a critical component of that, and we are continuously working to ensure traceability in our seafood supply chain. This strategy works hand-in-hand with our work on Honest Food, a commitment to fresh, natural ingredients that celebrate the locations and cultures where we operate.
5. Can you talk about your Wave of Change work and how it relates to Iberostar’s sustainability commitments? What aspects of the GDST will strengthen this work?
Wave of Change is Iberostar’s pioneering responsible tourism movement to move towards a circular economy, improve coastal health and promote the responsible consumption of seafood. Wave of Change is part of the DNA of Iberostar and is built on the core value of sustainability, the idea that we, as a company, can positively impact the environment and well-being of the areas we operate in, all while elevating the experience of our clients world-wide.
One of our core values is transparency, and the way that we work towards this in our seafood procurement is by being open and honest about where our seafood comes from. This is one of the reasons why traceability is so important to us, it ensures that our clients have accurate information on-hand to make responsible decisions, not only in our resorts, but hopefully as lessons they can bring home with them in their own journeys towards responsible consumption of seafood.
For more information about Iberostar and Wave of Change, please visit: waveofchange.com
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