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Caesars Entertainment's Environmental Stewardship Sparkles

GinaMarie headshotWords by Gina-Marie Cheeseman
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Caesars Entertainment touts its commitment to environmental stewardship, but the company’s latest Corporate Citizenship Report demonstrates that it is more than just a mere boast.

The company achieved a 12.6 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2013, surpassing its goal of a 10 percent reduction. Caesars surpassed other goals including its goal for water reduction. The hotel chain reduced water use by 18 percent per air conditioned 1,000 square feet in 2013. The goal was to reduce water use by 10 percent by 2015 and 15 percent by 2020.

Environmental stewardship is a long-term strategy Caesars developed about six years ago, Gwen Migita, vice president of corporate citizenship and sustainability, told me. The company is currently in the next stage of its five-year strategy. “Environmental stewardship was a long-term strategy we really developed about six years ago,” Migita said. “From the top down, our CEO has made a commitment to sponsor and support our sustainability strategy."

Caesars diverted 35 percent of its waste from landfill in 2013, beating its goal of a 25 percent diversion by 2014. That puts it well on its way to meeting a 50 percent target by 2020. At Las Vegas properties it has already achieved "around a 50 percent" waste diversion rate, Migata said. "Six-seven years ago some of those properties may have been in a single digits. So, it's been a pretty staggering shift in terms of waste diversion,” Migita said.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency investments


In 2013, Caesars was the only entertainment-gaming company to win the Climate Leadership Award for excellence in greenhouse gas management. Migita told me that it largely achieved its GHG reductions through energy efficiency investments. The company has invested $70 million in over 180 major energy efficiency initiatives during the last decade. The investments include lighting retrofits, energy efficient HVAC installations, guest-room thermostat controls and installing improved insulation.

"We've moved into a more systemic way of retro-commissioning, so that we've taken that play book and expanded it to other properties,” Migita said. “We have a number of aging properties in the Midwest. We look at ways to run our buildings more efficiently and working on how we use different technologies and sensors. We continue to escalate our investments (in energy efficiency)."

Purchasing sustainable seafood


Caesars procures more than $185,000 worth of fish and seafood on average every day for its properties and restaurants around the U.S. In order to make fish and seafood supply chain more sustainable, it surveyed 20 top suppliers of 30 fish and seafood species, and 15 responded by describing their sourcing methods and fishery practices. Using that information, Caesars created standards for sustainable fish sourcing and identified a number of fish species it can source sustainably. The company promotes sustainable fish options on its menus in some restaurants and certain conventions and events.

Sustainable seafood is a “big issue globally,” Migita explained. Caesars felt it was an area where it could “help to influence broader industry and upstream impact as well.” In order for it standards regarding seafood to be implemented, the company had to engage the people who prepare the food at its properties. “We have about a 1,000 chefs and sous chefs in our system,” Migita told me. “The biggest opportunity for us is how do you educate and influence your decision making points or change the way they select seafood.”

Image credit: Wally Gobetz

Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshotGina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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