The No Shark Fin Policy | WWF Hong Kong

The No Shark Fin Policy

20 December 2017

The recent roll-out of mandatory ESG disclosure by the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx) is a ripe opportunity for corporations to formulate wide-ranging environmental policies, such as implementing WWF-Hong Kong’s No Shark Fin pledge. The pledge could be formulated either in terms of consumption (i.e. the No Shark Fin corporate pledge) and/or in terms of trade (i.e. the No Shark Fin carriage policy).
To date, a total of 206 companies covering 100,000 employees in Hong Kong have committed to WWF-Hong Kong’s No Shark Fin corporate pledge, first launched in 2007. These companies include international banks, small and medium enterprises, as well as catering groups, such as The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Limited.
This is in line with the general decrease of shark fin consumption in Hong Kong and mainland China and forms a direct link with the HKEx's requirements1 that companies should report activities or polices that had significant impact on environmental and natural resources.
Hong Kong remains an important global shark fin trading hub2, with 5,774 tonnes imported in 2016 alone3. This underlines the necessity for industry stakeholders to make a No Shark Fin commitment and conserve this important species. In February 2016, OOCL announced its No Shark Fin carriage policy. The policy, covered in its parent company’s 2016 sustainability report, showed its commitment to curb the trade of at-risk marine species. OOCL is implementing social responsibility through restricting carriage. It is a good example of a company proactively protecting and preserving our oceans through incorporating the no shark fin policy into its daily operations.

Sharks are the ocean’s top predators and are vitally important to maintain the balance of marine ecosystems4. The removal of sharks would set off a cascade effect on the food chain5. Overfishing is the main threat sharks face and the shark fin trade is one a main driving forces behind overfishing. A quarter of sharks and related species are threatened with extinction6, according to the IUCN Shark Specialist Group. Companies can take proactive action to protect and preserve the ocean by saying no to shark fin.
According to WWF’s 2014 shark fin consumption survey of caterers, 65% of consumers came from the individual sector, while 35% were from corporate sector. If corporations could adopt the No Shark Fin Policy, they could influence this 35%7.
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