Kevin Teng: Meet the Man Who Spearheads Sustainability at Marina Bay Sands

Prior to the opening of Marina Bay Sands in 2010, the concept of sustainable operations was nascent to many companies in Asia.

Kevin Teng, the Executive Director of Sustainability at Marina Bay Sands, takes pride in having built the integrated resort’s sustainability programme from scratch.

He knew it was crucial to generate greater awareness about the importance of running the property’s operations sustainably and to decouple business growth with environmental impact.

With guidance from the corporate headquarters at Las Vegas, Kevin and his team have helped integrate sustainability into many of Marina Bay Sands’ operations.

Over time, the integrated resort was able to bridge what was done locally with Las Vegas Sands’ global sustainability strategy, Sands ECO360, which is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production).

“I am proud of how we encourage an evidence-based, impact-first approach for our sustainability initiatives. In terms of metrics, I am most proud of the steady increase in our team member engagement, where we’ve seen a 150 per cent increase in unique participation since 2012 – and a reduction in our carbon footprint by 33 per cent since 2012,” Kevin shared.

Food security in a time of COVID-19

COVID-19 has triggered widespread supply chain disruptions around the whole world. In particular, food security has become a cause for concern in many countries around the world including Singapore.

“Food security is a real priority for Singapore and I think Marina Bay Sands has the opportunity to be at the forefront of this.”

“The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has brought the question of our nation’s food security to the fore. My team and I are actively reviewing our sourcing strategy to encourage diversification of food sources, and to increase support for local and regional farms,” Kevin shared.

Moving forward, Kevin hopes to build more partnerships with regional farms, in particular, tuna farms to fulfil an industry need for responsible tuna. He would like to encourage more partnerships with local farms too. 

Reaping the long-term benefits of sustainable seafood

Today, approximately 33 per cent of the world’s marine fish stocks are overfished, a further 60 per cent are fished to their biological limits.

Marina Bay Sands procures a large volume of seafood every year. This makes it crucial for the integrated resort to source responsibly to preserve oceans for future generations and support responsible practices within the industry.

The integrated resort’s procurement team consciously reviews procurement decisions when sourcing seafood for current and future needs. The team works closely with chefs to understand their menu requirements, and communicates Marina Bay Sands’ sustainable sourcing goals and requirements to suppliers.

“Seafood is a very popular choice among our guests and the high demand, coupled with the sheer scale of our operations, puts us in the position to make a significant impact. Our partnership with WWF-Singapore helps us to lead the industry in championing responsible seafood sourcing and make a positive impact on the entire industry’s supply chains,” Kevin added. 

Serving sustainable seafood at Marina Bay Sands

18,000 kg of locally sourced, responsible barramundi was procured by Marina Bay Sands in 2019.

Dave Heng, Executive Chef of Hotel Operations at Marina Bay Sands explained that serving responsibly sourced seafood at the integrated resort’s restaurants sends a strong signal to diners that they can dine sustainably at Marina Bay Sands. An example of how the integrated resort has incorporated responsibly sourced seafood into its menus is the Baked Salt Crust Sustainable Barramundi (above) served at the RISE restaurant.

Chefs at Marina Bay Sands constantly review their menus to incorporate responsibly sourced seafood where possible. For example, locally-sourced responsible barramundi is served at both the RISE restaurant and Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

Tips from a sustainability expert

On how businesses can start their sustainability journey, Kevin suggested starting small as some initiatives can be implemented with a low-cost and still deliver great returns. For instance, businesses can begin by driving greater awareness and understanding of sustainability among their staff. These include simple activities like a coastal cleanup or even creating the office’s very own compost bin. Kevin added, “Start small – when the workforce is engaged and interested, the rest will follow naturally.”

If you like reading this, read how Informa’s Barry Clarke is running a sustainable business, positive reactions by Singapore restaurants in removing shark fin from their menu, and a shocking surprise in Sabah’s restored forest.


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