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Four Seasons Vancouver leads ocean sustainability campaign

September 3, 2014

Chefs for Ocean Chefs for Ocean leader Ned Bell


Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver is advocating for cleaner oceans and sustainable fish cultivation through the Chefs for Oceans initiative.

The initiative is led by the property's executive chef Ned Bell and aims to leverage the influence of top Canadian chefs to incite change across the country. Oceans are under significant pressure in many ways and will likely be irrevocably altered if they continue to be exploited at their current rates.

"The overarching goal -- accessible seafood to all Canadians by 2025 -- is very lofty and that is on purpose," said Kate Colley, public relations director at Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, British Columbia.

"It's a reach for the sky goal meant to challenge the status quo, and evolve current knowledge and opinions," she said. "However, smaller goals - like having consumers, 'just ask' where their seafood is coming from is a lot more do-able.

"People should know what they are eating anyway, and just because what's in the ocean is 'out of sight' doesn't mean it should be 'out of mind.' People know that things cannot continue as they are, it's how we make change and how fast."

Spreading the word

Mr. Bell began a 72-day bike tour July 1, on Canada's Day, for Chefs for Oceans. The tour is meant to galvanize people across the country to heed the call for sustainable seafood. In addition to oceans, the campaign is advocating for healthier lakes, rivers and other bodies of water.

Chefs for Oceans

Chefs for Oceans

Fish populations across the globe are being decimated because poor cultivation practices rarely give fish enough time to restore their numbers before they are plundered again.

As more people than ever before demand fish be a core part of their diet, this trend will only be exacerbated unless regulators step in.

Also, the amount of pollution the ocean houses is just staggering -- and so are the repercussions. In addition, global warming poses its own risks to the health of the world's oceans.

The two main objectives of the campaign are to institute a national holiday called "National Sustainable Seafood Day" on March 18 and to ensure that all Canadians have access to sustainable seafood by 2025.

The Chefs for Oceans tour is sponsored by more than 30 Canadian companies, many of which are dedicated to fighting for sustainable seafood as well.

Chefs for Oceans3

Ned Bell on CTV Morning Live

Canadian Olympians Simon Whitfield and Adam Kreek, Paralympian Rick Hansen and television personality Mike Holmes are joining Mr. Bell on the trip.

Throughout the journey, the team stopped at various locations to host events to raise resources and awareness of the plight of the ocean.

As of press time, personal donations on the Web site totaled $21,100.

The journey also has a strong social media following, especially on Twitter.

Chefs for Oceans2

#ChefsForOceans tweet

On Sept. 12, Mr. Bell will be returning to Four Seasons Vancouver for the tour's finale where he and multiple of chefs will host fans and supporters for a night of sustainable seafood.

More information about the campaign can be found here.

Growing chorus
Four Seasons is not the only luxury brand that recognizes the increasingly dire state of the world's oceans.

For instance, French fashion house Kenzo partnered with Britain-based conservation group Blue Marine Foundation to help protect the oceans through fashion.

Kenzo launched a Blue takeover of both its London flagship store and its Web site, as well as a capsule collection to benefit the organization designed by the label’s creative directors Carol Lim and Humberto Leon. As consumers are more and more interested in ecological causes, seeing a fashion brand take initiative on an issue will have a positive impact (see story).

Also, Estée Lauder Cos.’ Crème de la Mer is exploring the beauty of the world’s oceans with an interactive map function to generate conversation about conservation efforts.

Powered by Google Oceans View, consumers can explore the oceans where La Mer sources much of its skincare ingredients. While other beauty brands may take enthusiasts to a private garden or a secluded mountain region, La Mer’s connection to the sea may relate to among many consumers (see story).

"There are different criteria for measuring impact and success of course and most of them subjective at this point," Ms. Colley said.

"At this point it is really hard to say with hard numbers," she said.

"How many people have been touched and re-informed about the importance of sustainable seafood across the country? How many know more and think differently than they did before? How many people heard Ned's story in person at one of his cross-country events, via the many media appearances he had? How many signed the National Sustainable Seafood Day petition? How many will ask where their seafood is coming from that hadn't thought of before? How many of the involved restaurants will change and/or improve their commitment to healthy lakes, oceans and rivers - i.e? Four Seasons Hotel Toronto is now working with OceanWise to become increasingly sustainable."

Final Take
Joe McCarthy, staff writer on Luxury Daily, New York