These ground-breaking green initiatives are redefining luxury retail and gourmet dining at Marina Bay Sands

Hospitality has an undeniable environmental impact through energy consumption, water usage and general wastage. Green initiatives however were largely considered niche, expensive and somewhat too austere to be considered luxurious. Could sustainability be executed on a large scale without detracting from the luxury experience? An evolution in green thought was necessary, and this became part of the Marina Bay Sands blueprint. Today, Marina Bay Sands’ sustainability team champions energy and water efficiency, waste reduction and greener supply chains.

Green culture

Tapping into advancements in technology and design, Kevin Teng, Executive Director of Sustainability, Marina Bay Sands, works with his team to embed green initiatives into the integrated resort without compromising creature comforts. Air-conditioning at Marina Bay Sands makes use of water-cooled chillers, which are about 80 per cent more efficient than air-cooled models. Recycled rainwater is used for flushing in ArtScience Museum’s (hyperlink to: https://www.marinabaysands.com/museum.html) toilets. Even drip condensation from air conditioning filters are collected and piped across the property for irrigation and water features. Excess bread is donated to underprivileged families through Food from the Heart, and the management has installed food waste scales to monitor wastage at a number of outlets. Food waste is also managed through five anaerobic digestors located across the property. These initiatives reduced carbon footprint by 34 per cent between 2012 and 2019.

Sustainable dining

When it comes to dining, the team makes it their priority to build a responsible and greener supply chain. In 2017, Marina Bay Sands announced a landmark partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Singapore to raise sustainability standards within Asia’s hospitality industry, starting with ocean conservation. “In 2014, we also removed shark fin from the menus across our different business units,” says Teng. Close to 50 per cent of all the seafood served is responsibly sourced. Food and beverage tenants are also contractually prohibited from serving endangered species. The integrated resort even has two herb gardens, with over 100 edible plants specially grown and used for culinary creations, garnishes and centrepieces at RISE, Spago Bar & Lounge, and Renku Bar & Lounge.

Culinary creativity

Sourcing is but half the challenge. “Marina Bay Sands’ focus on sustainability prompts our culinary team to be creative in re-inventing old classics while retaining their authenticity and flavours,” says Christine Kaelbel-Sheares, Vice President, Food & Beverage, Marina Bay Sands. Zero-waste, nose-to-tail cooking is inspiring chefs to make creative use of every aspect of each ingredient. At Adrift By David Myers, peels and cores are fermented and pickled for reuse. At Spago,  off-cuts of meats and bones are used for soups and sauces. Restaurants also use fish and poultry bones to add flavour to broths. Chefs are constantly looking for new ways to give gourmet indulgences a greener and healthier spin. Last year, three celebrity restaurants—AdriftBread Street Kitchen, and CUT — were part of the Impossible Foods debut in Singapore, adding the plant-based meat to their menus. 

Eco advocacy

“Over the past five years, ArtScience Museum has staged several exhibitions, programmes and educational activities that send a clear message about the urgency of taking action to address environmental threats such as climate change and biodiversity loss,” shares Honor Harger, Executive Director of ArtScience Museum. In October 2019, the museum presented a month-long free showcase called Season of Sustainability – Climate S.O.S that highlighted the impact of climate change on some of the planet’s ecosystems. In addition, exhibits such as Skyscraper (the Bruges Whale), the 12m colossal whale made from five tonnes of plastic sourced from the Pacific Ocean are a stark reminder of the scale of plastic waste. Marina Bay Sands is also committed to investing in educating its over 10,000 strong workforce about sustainability. In 2019 alone, more than 7,500 Team Members engaged in 20 sustainability activities, including recycling drives, workshops, and tours to Pulau Semakau, Singapore’s only landfill and the Sustainable Singapore Gallery at the Marina Barrage. The culinary team also enjoyed a tour to the fish farm where barramundi is sustainably sourced and served at RISE.