The theme for this year's World Environment Day is "Biodiversity". Galaxy Entertainment Group's Joey Pather, Senior Vice President, MICE Operations and Sales and Soumya Goswami, Vice President, Food & Beverage Culinary – both committed to driving sustainability initiatives at GICC – share their insights on the best practices they are implementing ahead of the venue's opening in the first half of 2021.
First, Joey Pather tells us about GICC's overall commitment toward sustainability and introduces long-term measures that are being put in place right now.
We at Galaxy International Convention Center (GICC) are mindful of the importance of biodiversity and sustainability as a whole. There is no time to waste. That's why even before we open our doors next year, I am pleased to say that our Green Engage team has already introduced a number of important best practices for driving responsible sustainability initiatives in an effort to protect our planet's biodiversity.
Sustainability for Good is our philosophy at GICC. Our commitment to sustainability is for the good of the planet, our guests of today and for future generations to come. We aim to deliver long-lasting environmental benefits for the community of Macau and the Greater Bay Area as a whole by thoughtfully sourcing responsible produce, serving nutritional ingredients on our green menus, supporting local SMEs who are responsible and much more.
GICC is committed to forging ahead with some of these long-term measures:
- Responsibly sourcing sustainable seafood for better ocean ecosystems
- Sourcing organic food from responsible farms
- Supporting responsible local SME and global beverage producers
- Creating 'Green Menus' for events
- Sourcing sustainable food packaging
- Reducing food wastage
Soumya Goswami is the mastermind behind all of the creative culinary ideas for GICC. Passionate about cooking and a pioneer of innovative new concepts throughout his more than 20-year culinary career, Goswami has opened restaurants with a major hospitality group in India and more recently led the culinary operations of an integrated resort in Macau, where a number of restaurants went on to achieve Michelin-star status. He explains how GICC is putting these sustainable measures into practice well ahead of the opening:
1. Responsibly sourcing sustainable seafood
We understand that if seafood is purchased from poorly managed fisheries, populations of fish and shellfish could decline or habitats may be damaged. That is why we are forming collaborative F&B partnerships with responsible producers and have already begun working with several sustainable seafood vendors. We are sourcing from seafood suppliers based in Alaska, Australia, France, New Zealand, Peru, Japan and the UK, where seafood comes from well-managed, sustainable fisheries.
2. Sourcing organic food from responsible farms
We intend to produce world-class dishes made from ingredients that are fresh, seasonal and ethically sourced. We are working closely with certified organic farmers in Hong Kong, Yunnan, Hainan and Fujian. Our procurement team is sourcing leafy vegetables, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, apples, oranges and more that are grown organically without the use of pesticides from farms that are within a 100-kilometer radius to reduce our carbon footprint. With respect to meat, we will source further afield from responsible farmers in Japan, Korea, the Netherlands and Scotland.
3. Supporting responsible local SME and global beverage producers
GICC is now in talks with two local SMEs who produce beverages right here in Macau. We want to support homegrown SMEs who are stewards of the environment and produce high quality beverages. Galaxy Integrated Resorts (GIR) is already partnering with Rethink Coffee Roasters, a coffee business firmly rooted in Macau. GIR was the first major integrated resort in Macau to invite a locally-owned specialty coffee shop to open its doors at Broadway Macau™ in 2016. Rethink Coffee Roasters also provides high quality coffee beans for some of our restaurants. On a global level, we are partnering with Lavazza and Illy. The founder of Lavazza, Luigi Lavazza is renowned for saying: "A world that destroys the goods of nature is one I do not belong in." Lavazza continues to promote environmental sustainability projects for coffee farmers through the Lavazza Foundation. Illy provides training and best agronomic practices to protect biodiversity. The company also offers incentive programs for producers that promote quality and environmental sustainability. We are proud to work with responsible beverage producers such as these.
4. Creating 'Green Menus' for events
As we plan our Green Menus for events at GICC, we are already seeking advice from environmental experts such as Carbon Care Asia (CCA) and WWF as well as nutritionists. By consulting CCA, we can ensure that our food is sourced from no more than 100 kilometers away, as they will trace our carbon footprint. WWF also offers a Sustainable Seafood Guide that provides recommendations for where best to source seafood and locations to avoid. We will also work with nutritionists who will advise the best ingredients for healthier green menus featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients.
5. Sourcing sustainable food packaging
The 16,000-seat Galaxy Arena will be offering food for guests at the concessions. GICC intends to make sure that all packaging of food will be biodegradable. We are working with a Taiwanese company that is renowned for using 100% natural bamboo fiber as a sustainable replacement for plastic straws and plastic packaging. Their eco-friendly products have also been approved by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) and SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance).
6. Reducing Food Wastage
Food wastage is an issue we take very seriously. To truly understand just how much food is wasted, we will install the Winnow Vision system – equipped with AI technology – inside all of our kitchens. Winnow Vision cameras sit directly on top of where food is thrown away. The system smartly identifies what food it is, calculates it by weight and then instantly puts a cost to the food waste. The chef takes that information and can implement ways to reduce future food wastage to potentially save thousands of meals and thousands of dollars on food costs. Ultimately, we will be able to run efficient and sustainable kitchens at GICC over the long-term.
We understand the need to act now, and that is why GICC is addressing sustainability well ahead of its opening. The above long-term measures give us an opportunity to better protect biodiversity and create a truly sustainable venue for event planners to host events well into the future.