Just in time for Earth Month, our yearly CodeGreen Challenge gets team members even more involved in the community than usual, providing opportunities to support CodeGreen and give back to local causes. This year, we’ve challenged properties to create a CodeGreen cocktail made of local and sustainable ingredients.
Harrah’s New Orleans HERO volunteers partner with Rebuilding Together on renovating at least two homes per year. Harrah’s actively seeks out homes that need an eco-conscious upgrade, like energy efficient windows.
Addressing Coastal Erosion
According to Michael Ruffin, Community Relations Manager and CodeGreen Leader, “As Hurricane Katrina demonstrated, coastal erosion is a major environmental issue on the Gulf Coast. HERO has partnered with groups like the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation to plant native marsh grasses in the bayous and wetlands.”
He continued, “We’ve joined a national fight to protect our wetlands utilizing our most invaluable asset, people. Through our HERO program, we continue to develop strong partnerships with leading organizations to help alleviate environmental challenges. We have a long way to go, but we continue to make progress.”
Students and HERO volunteers clean up at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park
Secret to Last Year’s Success: Last year, to build interest in national parks, Harrah’s New Orleans introduced a costumed character, Olly the Oak Tree, from Bayou Segnette State Park. Olly made a special appearance in the team member cafeteria to spread the word about Nature Deficit Disorder, which can be cured with a visit to a national park.
2017 Plans: Like many Caesars Entertainment locations, Harrah’s participated in last month’s Earth Hour with guests and employees.
On March 31, the location’s HERO volunteers worked with Caesars Foundation and the National Park Trust to chaperone 110 fourth graders from Chalmette Elementary on a trip to Jean Lafitte National Historical Park.
Bourbon Street Old Fashioned
According to Michael, “Exposure is a major key to success. It’s important that we explore the history, arts, culture and landmarks with our youth. Those volunteering had an opportunity to teach, learn and most importantly, be of service to the next generation.”
CodeGreen Cocktail: The Bourbon Street Old Fashioned is made of southern whiskey and local citrus. Louisiana’s own Crystal Hot Sauce serves as a stand-in for the traditional bitters. Of the drink, Michael says, “This creative drink is a reflection of New Orleans’ vibrant culture. It’s also a delicious way to share the message of environmental conservation with both locals and visitors. We debuted it at our pop-up at the annual French Quarter Festival last weekend!”
By Dawnielle Tellez, Corporate Responsibility Intern
The term “sustainability” can be complex and take on different meanings. The most common definition of sustainability comes from the 1987 UN Brundtland Commission:
“Development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
For many in my generation, Generation Y, more commonly known as millennials, sustainability extends far beyond just meeting people’s needs – it’s our way of life. We’re the most racially diverse and environmentally driven generation to date; which transforms not only the way we choose to live day-to-day, but also the way we strive to contribute in the workplace. In a recent survey, Deloitte discovered that more than 70 percent of millennials are more likely than previous generations to focus on teamwork with an emphasis on collaboration and business impact.
So what does it mean for corporate sustainability when millennials are bringing the most racially diverse, environmentally conscious, impact-driven teams to the table?
For me, it means continuing the work I began in graduate school. I am a founding member of a women’s leadership group aimed at providing skills-building, learning and networking opportunities for the next generation of environmental sustainability professionals. From salary negotiation workshops to lectures on recognizing and overcoming gender biases in the workplace, our group has begun to fill the information gap around diversity and sustainability through actionable recommendations. I expect that other young professionals will continue to join my classmates and me as we enter the workforce in asking more from our peers, employers and community leaders to address this key area.
Affecting meaningful change through sustainability and diversity are not merely trends but needs when millennials are key employees, customers, stakeholders and increasingly, managers.
Here are three reasons why diversity is important to sustainability:
Diversity is embedded in the definition of sustainability
Sustainability is both global and local in scope
Environmental impacts are as global as carbon footprint and as local as litter in our neighborhoods. There are so many ways diversity comes into the picture as we think about today’s businesses. From the footprint of global supply chains to multinationals’ locations in communities around the world, companies are intrinsically linked to the people they employ and places in which they operate.
Environmental justice and sustainability
The costs and benefits associated with environmental impacts aren’t always equally distributed among people. According to the National Resources Defense Council, people who live, work and play in America’s most polluted environments are commonly people of color and disadvantaged communities. Increasingly, businesses have the duty to help reconstruct how resources – and environmental impacts – are shared among communities.
Diversity adds value across multiple perspectives
Strength in diverse voices and views
The more representation, inclusion and engagement there is in the workplace, the stronger the outcomes. As the number of diverse stakeholders grows for global businesses, so too does their corporate responsibility team’s need to account for and incorporate these diverse perspectives.
Diversity enriches collaboration
Corporations, nonprofits and individuals can partner to better serve communities
When environmental progress stalls at a national level, creative and dedicated partnerships across sectors can step in to fill the void. Bringing together the diversity in opinions, approaches and goals of various organizations and individuals can help bridge the divide at all levels – local, state, national and international. Caesars Entertainment is one of the companies taking the lead to embed sustainability across its business. Through innovative programs like CodeGreen at Home, Caesars incentivizes its employees to practice sustainable actions at both the workplace and at home.
Corporate responsibility is evolving with underpinnings of diversity throughout. As millennials continue to rise into the workforce, I hope we’ll continue driving this evolution. It’s more important now than ever – a recent GreenBiz article highlights challenges associated with creating more racial diversity in sustainability leadership roles. Truly, diversity in corporate sustainability should be at the center of the strategy as companies strive to make a difference in supply chains and communities in partnership with suppliers, customers, partners and employees.
Dawnielle is supporting Caesars Entertainment’s corporate responsibility team during as she completes her degree in Master of Environmental Science and Management at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Arnetta, an EVS team member at Harrah’s New Orleans, found out her new colleague was facing hardship taking care of her family and took action. “We care for everyone—guests, employees… the whole New Orleans area is on our shoulders, and we stand up for our commitment.”
Johnny, a culinary team member at Horseshoe Southern Indiana, is beloved by guests for his omelets and by his colleagues for his integrity.
Johnny came to the U.S. in 1983 from Cambodia and began cooking the following year. He typically works on the front line, making his famous omelets and chatting with guests, but he’s also a “do-it-all” team member, helping out wherever needed in the kitchen.
Johnny notes that the kitchen team at Horseshoe Southern Indiana includes team members from China, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Mongolia. “It’s nice to get to know people from different countries, different cultures,” says Johnny. “Sometimes we don’t understand each other and we do sign language!”
When not working at Horseshoe, Johnny can be found watching movies and listening to music with his wife, daughter and son, or perhaps mowing the lawn.
Watch Johnny’s story here to see how he embodies diversity, an important Caesars Entertainment value:
Caesars supports comprehensive immigration reform that both advances border security as well as streamlines the immigration process for those who are willing to work hard and complete the legal process of citizenship. This has been our stance for many years and we continue to stand by it. We believe this reflects our corporate values of creating a caring culture and supporting the vibrant communities where we operate.
Our position is supported by the American Gaming Association, the foremost association in our industry. The AGA recognizes that our workforce is diverse and includes immigrants from around the world, and also depends on global consumers.
As always, we will continue to support comprehensive immigration reform at a policy level. We will also continue to support team members of Caesars and affiliated businesses who wish to become citizens. Here’s how our Citizenship Rewards program achieves that:
Each year, Caesars Entertainment partners with the community to both celebrate and honor the legacy of the civil rights leader Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., recognizing the progress that Dr. King achieved for African Americans and all people of color.
Dance troupe West Las Vegas World Class Dance Ensemble performs traditional dance to the beat of live drums.
Hosted at Caesars Palace, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet is a chance for the Las Vegas African American community to honor Dr. King while discussing the challenges African Americans face today. Speakers recalled Dr. King’s leadership not only in the U.S., but as an inspiration to other nonviolent protesters around the world, from Ireland to India. It was also a chance to think about how to apply Dr. King’s legacy to our everyday lives.
“When we get on a plane, or train, or even go to the restroom – we are benefiting from Dr. King’s powerful accomplishments. By law, here in the United States in the middle of the 20th century, you could be told based on your color, or your religion, or because you were a woman, that you couldn’t apply for a job or go to a certain school. These luxuries that we take for granted are protected by law – the Civil Rights Act – that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life for,” says Regina Ford, Caesars Entertainment Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion. Ford oversees diversity initiatives across our entire enterprise as well as community relations with diversity organizations.
Hosted by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Las Vegas and emceed by Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly – the first sitting African American Chair for the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority Board of Directors – the banquet gathers local dignitaries, from the head of the Las Vegas School Board to the first Latina in the U.S. Senate, Caroline Cortez Masto of Nevada. Additional entertainment was provided by a performance by an African drumming and dance troupe from the West Las Vegas World Class Dance Ensemble.
The Banquet is a fundraiser to support disadvantaged black students attending college through the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Las Vegas scholarship fund. In 2017, the banquet raised more than $10,000.
One of the largest Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parades west of the Mississippi, the parade celebrated its 35th anniversary this year. With Denise Williams leading as the Grand Marshal, the parade featured themed floats celebrating phases of Dr. King’s life and the power of the civil rights movement.
“We had nice weather this year, so a lot of people attended. Beyond attendance, though, the parade really sets the tone for the Southern Nevada community for the rest of the year, inspiring us to live out Dr. King’s legacy in our own lives each day,” says Ford.
Living Our Values
Caesars Entertainment aspires to foster an inclusive workplace and culture every day. In 2015, 34 percent of managers in the U.S. were people of color and 52 percent of team members were people of color. We also support businesses owned by women and people of color, encouraging them to become suppliers for Caesars. It is our hope that through ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts, we honor Martin Luther King, Jr. not only every January, but every day of the year.
When our team members aren’t busy creating memorable experiences for their guests, they can often be found helping out in our communities and sharing our Caring Culture. They volunteer their time, expertise, creativity and passion to help make their communities the best places to live and work. From projects that support everything from health and wellness to seniors, there’s something for everyone who wants to lend a hand.
Each quarter, Caesars Entertainment celebrates our HERO Stars and recognized team members from our affiliated businesses whose volunteer efforts really stand out. This quarter we are proud to honor four outstanding HEROs who gave their time and their efforts to make a difference.
Read on to learn about our HERO Stars for the fourth quarter of last year. They’ll each receive a $500 check to share with the nonprofit of their choice.
Jack volunteers for a long list of causes, including hunger, health and supporting veterans. He contributed a total of 101 hours of time with his community in 2016.
While many team members participate in our HERO events, Jack also seeks ways to volunteer on his own. As a runner, Jack participates in a run, walk or marathon almost every month – in 2016, he did 10! – supporting a variety of causes. Another monthly do-good habit of Jack’s is delivering coffee, cookies and conversation to veterans at Memphis’ VA Hospital. Recognizing the dire need for blood donations, Jack works with a variety of organizations to meet that need, including March of Dimes, Gateway to the Delta, Memphis Recovery Center and more.
Charlean’s role as casino operations manager means she is skilled at motivating team members. She also leveraged this skill to mobilize more than 300 team members to participate in HERO events in 2016.
Charlean is especially passionate about health and wellness, having organized events for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Relay for Life, Alzheimer’s Walks, and more. She also helped host the Bossier Council on Aging’s annual Sweetheart Luncheon, celebrating Valentine’s Day with local seniors. A longstanding tradition, the luncheon draws both singles and couples for a formal lunch and a dance.
Charlean’s colleague Preston Langley says it best: “Charlean is the key to our volunteer events here at Horseshoe Bossier City and Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. She is, in my opinion, the epitome of a HERO Star.”
After the loss of a friend, Eunice was looking for a way to honor her memory by taking action in the fight against breast cancer.
Together with her supervisor, Eunice rallied the housekeeping department to support the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Ocean City. She convinced a whopping 75% of her team members to purchase a pink HERO shirt, raising $2,500 for the organization. Eunice also drove participation in the Making Strides Walk and spent many hours in the kitchen baking, both of which raised additional funds to fight breast cancer.
Nikki Jackson leads Atlantic City community relations and saw Eunice’s efforts firsthand. “Eunice overcame language barriers to connect with new colleagues and truly extended herself for the breast cancer cause, making a lovely tribute to her friend,” notes Nikki.
Jason’s above-and-beyond dedication to Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Paris Las Vegas engaged team members across the city to raise awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society. In particular, his leadership of the Battle of the Bras event at Planet Hollywood led to an impressive 33% increase of leaders modeling and a 150% increase in event attendance. But even more exciting was the $90,000 raised at the event – nearly five times the amount of last year’s Battle!
Jason’s ability to fuel healthy competition among Battle of the Bras participants was evidenced by record leadership participation. And he helped to tie the event’s mission and purpose with our Caring Culture by having the participants their personal story of how breast cancer has affected them to make the evening especially meaningful.
Thanks to our HERO Stars for being amazing ambassadors or our Mission, Vision and Values in our communities. You truly Inspire Grown-Ups to Play for a Cause!
Each October, Caesars team members across the U.S. rally their colleagues to raise funds and awareness supporting breast cancer. From the well-loved Battle of the Bras and pink blackjack table felts to health screenings and donation drives, everyone finds a way to get involved.
Some locations take it to the next level, showing tons of enthusiasm and dedication to the cause with a wide variety of educational and fun initiatives. To recognize their efforts, we hold a contest each year.
Here are this year’s winners, with just a few examples of their many creative initiatives. Together, the three winners earned a combined $25,000 donation from the Caesars Foundation to their local American Cancer Society chapters!
Harrah’s Ak-Chin won first place in our contest for the second year in a row! Supporting those suffering from breast cancer is a key part of their efforts. Harrah’s Ak-Chin partnered with the Ironwood Cancer and Research Center to donate comforting items to women undergoing chemotherapy at its facility. Team members gathered blankets, mints, puzzle books and more, delivering 32 bags to patients at Ironwood. The team found time for fun, too, by surprising guests with a pink flash mob right on the casino floor and decorating office doors with creative breast cancer awareness themes.
We know that guests appreciate our support of breast cancer awareness, and we like getting them involved. Our Atlantic City locations hosted a variety of fun events benefiting the American Cancer Society (ACS), from a benefit concert to a raffle with all proceeds benefiting ACS. Atlantic City locations also hosted free on-site mammograms for guests and team members to support breast cancer prevention.
Education is an integral piece of breast cancer awareness. In addition to fundraising, our Tunica locations were especially focused on the link between healthy lifestyles and cancer prevention. They kicked off the month with a morning walk from Tunica Roadhouse to Horseshoe Tunica, ending with free healthy refreshments and education about how daily exercise like walking aids in cancer prevention. Tunica locations hosted a total of ten educational workshops for guests and team members, including talks on detection and prevention from the American Cancer Society. In addition, throughout 2016, the two locations have raised $95,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Caesars locations enterprise-wide compete for the money by decorating bras for the team member fashion show Battle of the Bras, yielding some truly beautiful (and bizarre) creations. At Battle of the Bras, Caesars’ Northwest Louisiana properties ignited the audience to raise more than $6,000 for the Mid-South Division of the American Cancer Society from generous guest and team member donations to add to a total $20,000donation to the organization.
It’s the enthusiastic participation of our locations nationwide that have helped us contribute almost $4 million to cancer-related organizations to date. We support the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, the Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk, and more. Thanks to all Caesars guests and team members who participated in Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Caesars
At Caesars, we appreciate and honor the ongoing sacrifices made by active service members and veterans. Since 2013, Caesars has hired more than 2,000 veterans through our Hiring Heroes program. We’ve received 3,126 applications from veterans in 2016 alone.
We’ve also donated $1 million to veteran organizations and our HEROs have put in more than 4,000 hours aiding community veteran groups.
Harrah’s New Orleans veterans at yesterday’s flag raising ceremony.
Our locations throughout the U.S. host a variety of fun (and serious) events to make Veterans Day special for all. Read on to learn more:
Honoring Team Members Who Have Served
Caesars gives all our locations the option to share a corporate letter thanking veteran team members.
Horseshoe Southern Indiana is one of many gaming locations that opted in, purchasing a special commemorative coin to distribute to veterans and service members.
Horseshoe Southern Indiana active service member Norbert Bostock displays his commemorative coin and recognition letter.
Harrah’s New Orleans honored veteran team members yesterday with a property-wide team celebration, culminating in a flag raising at noon.
Celebrating Veterans Who Have Served
Many of our locations are inspiring veterans to play, providing discounts at restaurants like Horseshoe Southern Indiana’s Smoke and Rye and Harrah’s New Orleans’ Besh Steak. Our Tunica and Harrah’s New Orleans properties are honoring veteran guests with a complimentary meal in the buffets all day long, while Bally’s Atlantic City is hosting a luncheon for New Jersey Gold Star Mothers.
Groceries bags ready to be distributed as part of the Tunica locations’ food and clothing drive.
Supporting Veterans Who Have Served
While it’s important to honor and celebrate veterans, we also believe in serving those who have served, especially if they’re facing hardships.
As part of our HERO volunteer program, Horseshoe Southern Indiana is conducting a food and clothing drive to support the local VA hospital, as are the Tunica locations. Tunica in particular has set a goal to collect enough socks and tee shirts for 500 veterans at the Memphis VA Hospital.
Marine Corps service members get together with Harrah’s and Bally’s Atlantic City team members to make Toys for Tots donations.
Last weekend, Bally’s and Caesars Atlantic Cityculinary team members hosted an annual brunch for disabled veterans at the Vineland Veterans’ Home, featuring food donated from Caesars properties. In addition, Atlantic City locations are kicking off the holiday season early via their Toys for Tots partnership with the Marine Corps, hosting 30 organizers at Bally’s Atlantic City.
Tunica locations are also getting ready for the holidays by gathering on Veterans Day to write holiday greeting cards for distribution to the Millington, Tenn., Naval, Army and Army Reserve Base.
On this Veterans Day, Caesars thanks all veterans for their service, especially our team members and guests!
At Caesars, we inspire grown-ups to play. We also work hard to be good stewards of our planet’s resources through our CodeGreen strategy. While many of our efforts are behind the scenes, the Green Key Global Eco-Rating Program helps guests understand how our progress measures up across the hospitality industry.
Recently recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Green Key is a rigorous program that ranks, certifies and inspects hotels and resorts based on their commitment to sustainable operations. Green Key uses a rating system of 1 to 5 Keys, with 5 being the highest possible attainment.
Every other year, CodeGreen Leaders at our properties lead their teams in completing Green Key’s comprehensive self-assessment to evaluate environmental practices across departments of their hotel, including food and beverage, housekeeping, meeting facilities, engineering and corporate environmental management. Within these five areas, CodeGreen teams examine policy and practices for energy and water conservation, solid and hazardous waste management, building infrastructure, community outreach and other sustainable practices. Green Key also conducts a random onsite verification audit of 20 percent of participating hotels each year, ensuring the accuracy of the scored self-assessment.
We’ve had all of Caesars-owned hotel locations participate in Green Key since 2013. In 2016, we also surpassed our company goal of getting 90 percent of hotel properties to the 4 Key level.
This year, 97 percent of our owned or managed North American hotel resort locations achieved a 4 Key rating or higher, and 100 percent of locations achieved Green Key certification. We’re especially proud of this achievement because it means we have 30 Green Key Eco-Rated hotels – more than any casino-entertainment company in the world!
Four properties – Harrah’s Las Vegas, Harrah’s Council Bluffs, Horseshoe Southern Indiana and Flamingo Hotel and Casino Las Vegas – improved their Green Key Eco-Rating from 3 to 4 Keys this year to help the company achieve a 97 percent 4 Key Eco-Rating across our 30 hotel-resort properties. What’s more, Green Key has granted Horseshoe Tunica 5 Keys, the highest rating possible, granted to just 3 percent of participating hotels. To achieve this, Horseshoe Tunica has made improvements such as installing high efficiency windows, using sensors to avoid overwatering landscaping and switching to more efficient lighting.
Interested in staying at a Green Key Eco-Rated hotel or learning more about traveling sustainably? Check out Green Key’s hotel map and green travel tips here.
As with all our successes, it’s our passionate team members who have made this achievement happen. Their work on CodeGreen initiatives and the Green Key self-assessment are what help us meet our goal each year.