Gwen Migita drives sustainability strategy, policies and stakeholder initiatives as well as social and environmental sustainability programs for Caesars Entertainment Corporation, the world’s most diversified casino-entertainment company which holds environmental stewardship as one of its four pillars of commitment.
She sat down with us for our Green Line Series interview this week in anticipation of her closing Keynote at the GoGreen Conference on March 16.
We were pleased to learn that Caesars Entertainment provides economic and social benefits for employees, guests and communities while also advancing environmental stewardship. How is Caesars currently advancing environmental stewardship as a large corporation?
Environmental stewardship has been built into our properties from top to bottom through CodeGreen, our company-wide environmental strategy. For our guests, CodeGreen quietly contributes to enhancing the experience by working hard in the background. Essentially we take care of the environment behind the scenes for our guests, reinforcing that every visit to a Caesars property is a sustainable visit.
We have set aggressive goals in energy, GHG emissions reduction, water and green construction. We’ve been recognized for our efforts and we’ve met a number of our goals ahead of target. For example, we reduced energy use 23.4 % per air-conditioned square foot since 2007. We have an overall U.S. waste diversion of 38% and reduced 28% in waste volume in 2015. We reduced GHG emissions by 28.3% per 1,000 sq/ft of air conditioned space, reduced water usage by 20.4% on a square foot basis since 2008, and began an initiative to replace every light source with efficient LED bulbs in 2015.
We also encourage our employees to “go green” at home. Through CodeGreen At Home, employees are rewarded for their efforts to spread the environmental consciousness learned at Caesars to their homes and communities. The program emphasizes long-term behavior changes to reduce the carbon footprint and make a positive environmental impact. In 2015, employees were awarded an average of $60 in program incentives for completing eco-conscious actions at home. Since inception, Caesars has awarded nearly $180,00 in Total Return credits to employees for sharing CodeGreen At Home projects.
Can you give us some examples where Caesars provides economic and social benefits for communities? What is your proudest achievement on that front?
We encourage employees to take an active role in their communities. Our employee community involvement (HERO) teams at each of our resorts volunteer their time, expertise, creativity and passion to improve people’s lives.
The HERO employee volunteer program was formalized more than 20 years ago and supports our employee community involvement strategic priorities: two-thirds of all programs support seniors, education, environment and health and wellness, while one-third supports the property’s priority impact area(s).
Every one of our 50 properties in the North America and the U.K. has a HERO program and a means to support company-sponsored or individual activities. We reward and incentivize employees to volunteer on an individual and property-wide basis through our year-round challenges and the HERO Stars program.
Every time we open a new property, we look for opportunities to use our passion, skills and resources to help the local community.
Together with families and friends, Caesars team members and team members of affiliated businesses reported over 400,000 volunteer hours to support community causes, many of which are also backed by philanthropic giving through the Caesars Foundation. That’s the equivalent of almost 200 full time employees dedicating their entire working hours to supporting vibrant communities for one year.
We help local communities flourish through economic contributions by taxes we pay, the jobs we create and the suppliers with whom we engage. For every dollar the average U.S. corporation pays in taxes, Caesars pays more than three dollars. This injection of funds enables local communities to enjoy a range of diverse benefits, including support for schools and universities, cultural programs, tourism, and elderly and disabled assistance programs.
What new initiatives and milestones in these areas for 2017? Any exciting developments we can learn about via your address at GoGreen?
We ensure that our meeting facilities offer our customers everything they need to make their events responsible and sustainable through our Responsible Meetings program. To date, we have trained 350 meeting sales and banquet managers throughout our North American properties. Launched last year, our Meetings for Good initiative provides a menu of community-service choices at our venues in Las Vegas, New Orleans and Atlantic City. Meetings for Good facilitates community involvement with local nonprofit organizations in a range of options that can easily be incorporated into any meeting or event. We have found that our customers seek more of this kind of service to make meetings more meaningful and provide a new, engaging experience for their delegates and guests.
Last year, Caesars asked key suppliers representing the largest portion of our supply chain’s carbon footprint to privately respond to the CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) survey about their climate impacts. We received 54 complete supplier responses to CDP this year. Of these, 71% of our suppliers responding to CDP’s survey said Caesars was their first (and only) customer to ask them to fill out the CDP survey. We are proud to be helping them move the needle on understanding their own climate impacts while helping us to understand our supply chain’s footprint.
What’s more, Caesars is leading the way in hospitality as the only gaming/entertainment company represented in the CDP supply chain program of more than 75 member companies. We look forward to the industry building more robust climate metrics in their supply chain working with nonprofits like CDP.
Join us at the GoGreen Conference to hear Gwen present the closing Keynote on March 16.
Event Details: The GoGreen Conference, brought to you by King County, will take place Thursday, March 16, 2017 at the Conference Center located at Eighth Avenue and Pike Street in Seattle, Washington. Tickets are available at seattle.gogreenconference.net or via phone at 206.459.0595.