From CSR to cork recycling, sustainability is at the heart of Caesars Entertainment’s corporate culture.
It’s the small, deliberate steps toward sustainability that lead to sweeping positive change. No one knows that better than Gwen Migita, VP of sustainability & corporate citizenship at Caesars Entertainment, who for 12 years has been working with her team to put in place CSR incentives to benefit the environment, communities all over the world—and of course, her hotels’ guests.
One such initiative, known as Meetings for Good, allows planners to choose from a menu of vetted activities for groups meeting in the different regions where properties are located. There’s everything from assembling backpacks that will be distributed to local schools in Southern Nevada to volunteering in the Second Harvest Food Bank warehouse in New Orleans, sorting and packing donated food. “We have programs targeted at every group, from making Mother’s Day cards for seniors in assisted living facilities to working with Soldiers’ Angels to send letters to members of the military to thank them for serving,” says Migita.
Clean the World
For groups of every size, there’s the chance to participate in activities benefiting Clean the World (CTW), an organization that collects, sanitizes and distributes soap to cities around the world. More than two million bars of partially used hotel soap are thrown away every day in the US alone, which was the impetus for Caesars to become a founding partner of CTW and to provide the seed money to develop its soap recycling facility for the western US. All 30 Caesars properties participate, and since the partnership began in 2010, the company has contributed $825,000 and donated two million pounds of soap.
A recent incentive trip for Caesars team members took three winners to Guatemala, where CSR incentives included visits to community centers, teaching local families personal hygiene and distributing the soap to hundreds of people. The employees selected to go on the Guatemala trip were the top candidates in one of three contest categories: service with passion in the workplace, outstanding housekeeper, and dedication to community.
Another area where Caesars is focusing its efforts is food and beverage. Many initiatives are behind the scenes, such as ensuring that all F&B outlets have proper shut-down procedures. Some are more visible to planners and their attendees, such as the recent requirement that all 400 F&B outlets across North America start including vegetarian offerings in their regular menus (new vegetarian options are being added to catering menus as well). The company has also introduced new food donation programs for larger meetings, signing agreements with regional food banks to contribute prepared meals.
Spread Good Through Gardens
At properties across the country, from Atlantic City to Baltimore to Vegas, employees at individual properties are teaming up to build vegetable and herb gardens to be used by the chefs. In Las Vegas, employees from The Cromwell, The LINQ and the Flamingo joined forces to create an employee garden at the Flamingo. Its highlight is a “living chandelier,” with succulent plants cascading downward, created from more than 10,000 recycled corks by a local artist, Katherene Brookshire.
Underlying the efforts is a plan to begin cork recycling at all Caesars properties in Las Vegas. Other items already being recycled range from plastic and cardboard to textiles and organic waste.
Located in a visible spot, the Flamingo garden has become popular among guests as well, who relax on the tables and chairs made out of recycled wooden pallets. The garden is a pilot project of Chef William Becker, director of culinary operations, whose goal is to promote pesticide-free produce companywide.