April 16, 2013 | Bruce Posner and David Kiron
In the past few years Caesars Entertainment, the world’s most geographically diversified gaming company, has come a long way toward earning a reputation as an environmental leader in the hospitality industry. It has received more than 50 awards and certifications for sustainability leadership from, among others, the Sierra Club, the EPA, and the U.S. Green Building Council. In just five years, the company has reduced its carbon footprint by nearly 10% and reduced its energy use per square foot by 20%.
Gary Loveman, Chairman and CEO, stepped up the company’s sustainability efforts beginning in 2007, during the depths of a global financial crisis, when the gaming industry was in free-fall. Caesars’ revenues were collapsing, forcing the company to reduce staffing levels by more than 20 percent. Staff members were developing creative ways to cut costs, reduce energy consumption and waste, and increase recycling, and Loveman saw an opportunity to build on their initiative. The program, dubbed CodeGreen, has become institutionalized across more than 50 Caesars properties, in part by a carefully crafted scorecard that continues to be refined. The company’s reputation as a sustainability leader is beginning to demonstrate business value beyond cost cutting, enabling properties to attract highly sought-after conference business, retain employees, and enhance loyalty among customers.
Although Caesars’ properties have greatly reduced their carbon footprint and waste, and increased efficiencies the sustainability journey continues unabated. The next stage of Caesars’ sustainability program is still being mapped out. There are questions about whether new efficiency gains and cost cutting will be more difficult to achieve going forward, but Loveman is confident that his management team and staff’s previous innovations around sustainability are a strong indication of how innovative they would be in the future.