Interview of the week - Morgan Cousin, Co-Founder of M&C Asia and Seafood Society HK.
Interview of the week: What is a green entrepreneur? Every week one of our clients will share their vision of sustainable entrepreneurship. The first in this series is Morgan Cousin, Co-Founder of M&C Asia and Seafood Society HK, two companies that had achieved considerable success supplying sustainably sourced premium seafood to starred chefs and private customers.
What is your definition of entrepreneur?
I always have this image of entrepreneurship versus working in the corporate world as the following: Do you prefer to be the tail of a lion or the head of a mouse?
As an entrepreneur you need to embrace so many challenges from business development, finance, human resources, operations to marketing. You need to be able to be creative and to adapt quickly to situations, while wearing multiple hats simultaneously. In essence, an entrepreneur is a person who has the drive and the motivation to create something from nothing and is willing to take risks.
What is your business and why did you start this activity?
We are a seafood importer and distributor in Hong Kong for hotels, restaurants, and private customers.
We started our company in 2009 after both Cesar, my business partner, and myself were tired of working in the corporate world and we wanted to try to create our own business. Coming from the north of France and Brittany, where you have a strong fishing culture, we decided to start importing fine seafood from the region, as we realized chefs in the Hong Kong fine-dining industry were looking for better quality and traceability in their seafood supply. At the time we created our business, it was difficult for customers to trace the real origin of seafood available on the market as well as the logistic process. Our initiative was to offer better transparency and traceability to the final client by having a direct relationship with the docks, the fishermen, and the fishmongers in France, and to reduce the transit time to 48 hours from the time the order is placed to the delivery.
What makes your business sustainable?
Sustainability is a hot topic in the seafood industry due to concerns of overfishing, and lack of transparency. We are very much aware that it is essential for us to have a sustainable approach in the way we operate. Some of the sustainable approaches and methods that we use at M&C Asia include:
We work directly with small artisanal fisheries guaranteeing 100% traceability
We work on a caught-to-order basis to minimise waste and overfishing
We respect seasonality. We can ensure a viable future of the marine biodiversity by respecting the closure of certain zones and the reproduction period
Fishing techniques include:
> Using small boats
> Practicing inshore fishing
> Respecting the TAC (Total Allowable Catch) and the quota set by the E.U.
> Nets with minimum mesh size
MSC and ASC certifications
We are also investing time and resources into investigating options to develop plastic- and styrofoam-free packaging, which is a real challenge in our industry and there are not many options that currently exist. We are making good progress and it stands as a top priority for us in the coming two years to find viable solutions.
Why do you think sustainable businesses are the way to go in the future and those who are not yet should follow?
I do believe that sustainability should be an integral part of any business strategy, as the planet has limited resources and it really is our responsibility to minimize the impact we have on the environment. If all entrepreneurs were to run their businesses with sustainable practices from the beginning, then perhaps we would have power in numbers to set a trend and to effect real change.
As an SME, we may not have the same power as large multinational corporations, but if we all do our small part, then our efforts together could perhaps raise enough awareness and create enough of a movement to push sustainability to the forefront of all business practices.