Food choices greatly impact not only our health, but our collective future, and food carbon footprints through the value chain make up one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Consumer surveys post-COVID have shown that over 75% of consumers will choose to live healthier lifestyles after this pandemic, with food choices and nutrition ranking as one of the top areas for change. Leading the curve in responsible business, this is yet another pioneering initiative by the Group to bring personal wellbeing and the greater good closer together.
Biodynamic Retained Farming
Championing local procurement and sustainably sourced food, the Group has soft-opened ORI9IN – the first gourmet organic farm in Chiangmai, Thailand in July. It is a joint venture with James Noble, Two Michelin-Star Chef-turned-Sustainable-Farmer of The Boutique Farmers. This partnership of Agro-tourism aims to lead the curve in sustainable retained farming and cooperatives for living and eating well.
It is the only retained farming operation globally that partners with a network of top restaurants and hotels, focusing on import substitution and reducing carbon footprint without sacrificing flavor. Set on 350 acres of land, ORI9IN is a multi-faceted biodynamic farm with extensive facilities and market distribution of high-quality organic products planted by local farmers.
Sustainable Supply Chain
In 2019, Banyan Tree Group implemented a Code of Conduct for suppliers to map supply chain transparency in ingredients sourcing and promote socio-environmental practices to develop a sustainable supply chain. To date, over 900 suppliers have registered. For 2020, in line with marine conservation goals around biodiversity, the Group has implemented a 25% benchmark of sustainable seafood sourcing by 2025 from sustainable fisheries. Banyan Tree Global Foundation’s experts will review seafood species served at each location and support the identification of sustainably certified alternatives and opportunities for its properties.
Dr. Steve Newman, Director of Banyan Tree Global Foundation, said: “We hope that this period, challenging as it is for the world, will prove to be a catalyst to review what, where and how we source, and an impetus for a responsible approach. By increasing community resilience through supporting local procurement, we believe that the quest for better personal wellbeing through food choices is an opportunity for us to make a difference, now.”
Value-aligned F&B Partnerships
To this end, the Group has also embarked on collaborations in different areas of the food value chain. A soon-to-launch one is with Grassroots Pantry, a pioneering brand in Hong Kong which is at the fore of plant-based cuisine in Asia’s fine dining scene.
Activist and Founder-chef Peggy Chan said: “Having been recognized by the UNDP and the Basque Culinary World Prize and working at this for the last decade, I am encouraged that there is an increasing movement for more sustainable kitchens and menus. By introducing techniques and combining ingredients that are not often used in commercial kitchens, Grassroots Pantry can help pave the way for more inventive and health-supportive concoctions across Banyan Tree hotels shortly. I am honored and look forward to working with Asia’s foremost hospitality brand, recognized for its sustainability stewardship, to push for greater industry change.”
A capsule menu based on plant-based, immunity-boosting foods, and sustainable kitchen practices, is to launch during the late part of this year. The menu will debut in its Phuket properties followed by a roll-out in all its hotels internationally. The Group will also be partnering with Country Foods, a sustainable food supply distributor. To reduce environmental footprints, it will introduce a variety of plant-based products (meat, dairy, and protein alternatives) into its supply chain, starting with its Thailand hotels. Ms. Ho Renyung, VP, Brand HQ of Banyan Tree Holdings, added: “Our ambition is not to be the largest but to be here the longest, and that means being stewards for our shared future. #17 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are Partnerships – as a brand that values ecosystem thinking and diversity, these initiatives will further our primary mission to create sanctuaries of living well.”