The Clean the World hygiene kits are ready to be distributed to people at local domestic violence shelters partnered with Caesars’ locations Horseshoe Hammond and Harrah’s Joliet. The 1,500 youth and adult hygiene kits are to be split evenly among three organizations: St. Joseph’s Carmelite Home, Haven House and Guardian Angel Community Services. The kits are made possible by a grant from the Caesars Foundation.
Genie Hattie from Planet Hollywood demonstrating how to properly wash hands for 20 seconds to the Carmelite Home kids and Sisters.
The St. Joseph’s Carmelite Home in East Chicago, Indiana is open to children in crisis from birth to age 18. The home currently houses nearly a hundred individuals who receive beds, meals and a motivational structure that ensures schooling is completed. Children filled the auditorium and played along as CTW’s Super Soap and Super Water fought off “evil germs,” eagerly answering trivia questions about hygiene. The children and their mothers expressed heartfelt appreciation upon receiving their hygiene kits.
Amanda Lagunas from Rio Las Vegas and Kevin Williams with Clean the Wold handing out hygiene kits at the Haven House
Haven House, Inc., located in Hammond, Indiana, is a 24-hour emergency shelter for domestic violence survivors and their dependents. The home continuously operates at full capacity so that women and children have a safe place to live and receive counseling while working towards a happier and healthier life. Horseshoe Hammond has worked with Haven House recently, sending its HERO team to create a playground in Haven House’s yard and install new carpet and counter tops.
The Guardian Angel Community Services serves children and families, empowering them to improve the quality of their lives. The President of Guardian Angel, Ines Kutlesa, met the group at Harrah’s Joliet to share how the hygiene kits will be put to use and how working together will benefit Guardian Angel’s clients. The group learned about Harrah’s Joliet’s partnership with this worthy organization that benefits women, children and elderly who have suffered from abuse by providing safe housing, necessary counseling and much more.
Team Member Perspectives
The group sang a hand washing song for 20 seconds to teach the children how to properly wash their hands.
“It’s easy to just focus on what’s in front of you at work,” shared Genie from Planet Hollywood. “This experience is changing my outlook. It’s shifting focus to the bigger picture of the impact made by collecting soap at our properties.”
Jason adds that he’s going to take a hygiene kit back to Harrah’s Metropolis to show the housekeeping department. “I hope to inspire our team to do more to collect products by showing them the result of the hygiene products they collect.”
Jason Gonzalez, from Harrah’s Metropolis, taking the bags with soap and adding bottled amenities.
“It’s great to be part of our companywide Clean the World effort in another market,” shared Amanda Lagunas, CodeGreen leader from the Rio Las Vegas. “The team from Clean the World really engages everyone with hygiene education and up-cycled products from our hotels.”
Sarah from Harrah’s North Kansas City adds that everyone should participate in a CTW distribution to really understand the impact of collecting soap. “I’m very happy to be part this trip and share in this experience so I can continue to benefit the partnership once back at Harrah’s.”
Clean the World Hygiene Kit Builds and Celebrations
Festivities kicked off with a tour through Horseshoe Hammond’s casino floors and back hallways, leading into the hygiene kit assembly area. Here, we joined local Caesars leaders and department representatives to stock the kits with hygiene products like soap and toothpaste. “This is such an important firsthand experience,” said Marta de Solorio, Inspector at Bally’s Las Vegas, who traveled from Las Vegas to join the team of contest winners in building and distributing kits. Marta continued, “I can now share with my housekeeping team that I’ve taken the soap they’ve collected and included it in hygiene kits to benefit others.”
Marta de Solorio (right; Bally Las Vegas) is filling up new children’s kits with youth specialty items to launch on this distribution trip.
The contest winners, local HEROs and CodeGreen team members and leadership lined the table and started stuffing bags with important hygiene products. Regional Vice President and General Manager of Horseshoe Hammond and Caesars Foundation Trustee, Dan Nita, joined the group as we formed assembly lines to stuff adult and youth kits with hygiene products and notes of encouragement, amounting to 1,000 hygiene kits in all. “It’s great to have all these team members from around the country coming together to build these hygiene kits to support our local community,” shared Dan Nita.
After putting the kits together, in true Caesars Entertainment style we wasted no time before celebrating the partnership and this year’s exceptional contest winners. Regional Vice President of Human Resources at Horseshoe Hammond, Dawn Reynolds, welcomed all attending the lunch, “We’re each here today because of an individual connection to Caesars Code of Commitment.” Dawn continued, “Caesars has made great strides in Citizenship programs like Clean the World that has deepened our resolve to the Code of Commitment.” Applause and smiles filled the Lakeview room, which looks over beautiful Lake Michigan, as each of the winners were recognized for their outstanding work and why they were selected for the distribution trip.
Sarah Grinstead (Harrah’s North Kansas City) standing to be recognized as the Citizenship Champion for her outstanding service that combines CodeGreen and community involvement initiatives.
The lunch left everyone with a great appreciation of the partnership with CTW and the beneficial impact we’re making by collecting and donating soap. Horseshoe Hammond HERO Co-Chair, Stephanie Romano, closed lunch with sharing the importance of connecting and contributing back to the local community. “It is important to build a connection and serve the community where our team members live and work.” Stephanie continued, “It’s been an honor to host this year’s CTW celebration and distribution.”
Caesars Launches Clean the World’s New Youth Hygiene Kits to Serve Chicago Area
Team Member-Driven Leadership
Our housekeeping team members are the driving force behind our Clean the World (CTW) partnership. In fact, it began out of their concern over the growing amount of waste from half-used bars of soap. The housekeepers drive the daily soap collections happening across our locations, motivating their colleagues with their passion (and friendly reminders!).
To reward team members for their hard work and drive greater impact, we throw an annual contest in which they’re nominated by colleagues and managers to win a trip to distribute soap to those in need.
Closer to Home: Soap Distribution Where We Live & Work
While employees participating in past distribution trips loved seeing how communities abroad benefited from their hard work, they wanted to help people closer to home, too. Caesars has long supported and served the communities where we live and work, so this year we’re trying a different approach to soap distribution.
Through a partnership with CTW’s ONE Project, which distributes hygiene kits in North America, guests and team members are assembling hygiene kits that include items like soap, toothpaste and a toothbrush. This year’s distribution trip will launch CTW’s new youth hygiene kit that has specialty hygiene products for children. It’s our hope that they make life a little more comfortable for adults and children in difficult situations.
Here’s a bit more on this year’s six winning employees! We chose them from a nomination pool of entries across our North American properties of dedicated Clean the World supporters in housekeeping and facilities, passionate advocates for CodeGreen and employees who show an outstanding dedication to our Citizenship efforts in general.
Marta de Solorio, Inspector, Bally’s Las Vegas
A housekeeping inspector at Bally’s Las Vegas for 19 years, Marta goes above and beyond to make sure that all housekeeping employees are gathering soaps from rooms. When she’s not at work, Marta promotes Clean the World’s work to her family and friends as a good way to help people facing poverty.
Jason Gonzalez, Housekeeping, Harrah’s Metropolis
Jason is also a strong advocate for the Clean the World program among his colleagues – and he takes care of the important step that comes after collection: making sure that soaps are properly packaged and labeled for shipping.
Genie Hattig, Housekeeping Warehouse Manager, Planet Hollywood
Nominated for her overall commitment to CodeGreen, especially managing in-room recycling and facilitating our audits for Green Key, an environmental certification, Genie is also dedicated to Clean the World. She manages housekeeping teams in charge of collecting soap/shampoo from guest rooms.
Katherene is the food and beverage leader for her property and has led a number of sustainability projects, including creating an employee garden and making creative use of wine corks by designing a sculpture for the Bon Appétit Uncork’d event at Caesars Palace.
Amanda Lagunas, Wardrobe Manager, Rio
Amanda is the Rio’s CodeGreen Leader, driving employee participation in the program to achieve a 300% increase in involvement. As the recipient of the 2016 Caesars Award of Excellence in the integrity category, Amanda is a true advocate for CodeGreen, organizing everything from food drives to helping a local school district reduce its water usage.
Sarah Grinstead, Cleaner, Harrah’s North Kansas City
Whether at work in housekeeping or at home, Sarah is dedicated to reducing, reusing and recycling. She’s creative, too, partnering with her sister to weave mats for the homeless from plastic grocery bags. Sarah also participates in many HERO activities – and volunteers for Habitat for Humanity on her own time.
…to learn about team member experiences distributing hygiene kits in the Chicagoland area!
The passion that ignites the Clean the World (CTW) program has spread across Caesars since we began working with the nonprofit six years ago. We’re proud to support CTW’s mission to fight bacterial diseases while diverting hotel soap and hygiene product waste from landfills. Since 2010, Caesars and the Caesars Foundation have gifted $3 million to the organization in financial contributions, pounds of soap and volunteer hours. These gifts have contributed to the building of the Las Vegas CTW soap recycling center, the ability for team members and guests to assemble essential hygiene kits, and multiple international soap distribution trips.
2015 Clean the World Distribution Trip winners distributing soap to 1,000 families in Guatemala.
Caesars Foundation’s 1 million in grants to CTW helped build CTW’s Las Vegas recycling center, the nonprofit’s largest yet, helping to divert even more hygiene product waste from landfill. Our support of the recycling center and integration of soap collection practices in all housekeeping departments has resulted in Caesars donating nearly 2 million bars of soap to date. Over time, our support of CTW has expanded to include distribution of hygiene kits at Caesars volunteer events supporting the homeless. We’ve also created CTW hygiene kit building events as part of our of community service opportunities for our Meetings & Conventions clients and guests.
Excitement for the environmental and community components of the CTW program reaches an all-time high each year during the annual employee distribution trip. Last year, the three winners of the 2015 CTW Distribution Trip traveled to Las Vegas for a celebration of the program and then to Guatemala where they distributed soap to 1,000 families in Guatemala. Yader El-Azar, food server from Paris Las Vegas, shared his takeaway from the trip, saying: “hygiene products and education about how to properly use it can make a big impact in these communities by lowering the number of illness and diseases.”
Stay tuned for updates from Caesars’ biggest and best distribution trip yet – it’s coming up next week!
September 25th marks one year since the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were announced. You may remember the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of poverty-related goals created by the UN in 2000, and the SDGs are similar in some ways. Like the SDGs, the MDGs focused on poverty and associated issues like child mortality and infectious disease. Environmental sustainability was also a consideration. The SDGs build where the MDGs left off; they’re more detailed and span a variety of areas, from ending poverty and hunger to improving economic growth and leveraging clean energy.
Here are the Sustainable Development Goals:
The SDGs are also different from the MDGs in how they were created and how they’ll be achieved, which is where Caesars comes in.
What Companies Can Do to Support Sustainable Development Goals
Though national governments hold ultimate responsibility for achieving the goals, they can’t do it without the collaboration of many stakeholders. That’s why the SDGs specifically call on companies to help address the world’s biggest challenges, from health to economic development to responsible consumption.
According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, “Business is a vital partner in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Companies can contribute through their core activities, and we ask companies everywhere to assess their impact, set ambitious goals and communicate transparently about the results.”
What Caesars Can Do
As an initial step in contributing to the SDGs, we examined what we’re already doing that aligns with the 17 goals. Our existing 11 citizenship priorities are related to our guests, employees, environment and communities, and there is a lot of alignment between our priorities and the SDGs.
In our 2015-2016 Citizenship Report, we outlined how the following eight Sustainable Development Goals are closely tied to our citizenship priorities and shared some examples of progress.
#3: Good Health and Well-Being: Our Wellness Reward employee program has 80% voluntary participation rates. Since between 2000 and 2015, our employees’ cholesterol was reduced by 29%; rates of smoking were reduced by 31%.
#5: Gender Equality: We have a 42% rate of women in management and actively promote women vendors.
#8: Decent Work and Economic Growth: We provide decent work by hiring for diversity (34% of our managers are people of color). We also support economic growth in local communities—in 2015, we generated $4.4 million of value for every $10 million in revenue.
#11: Sustainable Cities and Communities: Caesars contributes to revitalizing city life and improving infrastructure in cities like Baltimore and New Orleans.
#12: Responsible Consumption and Production: For our business, responsible consumption includes responsible use of our “product,” entertainment. That’s why we’ve been a longtime industry leader in Responsible Gaming, training more than 45,000 employees in 2015.
#13: Climate Action: Caesars has reduced our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25% since 2007 and is working to reduce them by 40% by 2025 (over a 2007 baseline).
#17: Partnerships for the Goals: We partner to advance sustainable business and positive impacts on society. We combine our expertise with organizations addressing problem gambling, climate, energy and social impact.
Caesars will continue to report our progress toward these eight SDGs to support a more sustainable and just world for all. In the future, Caesars will continue to build upon its work as a responsible business and deepen its work around the SDGs, such as outcomes of its impacts in reducing inequalities.
Taking an active role to improve lives in our communities is part of Caesars’ DNA. Our employees are deeply involved in volunteering through our HERO program, and our Foundation supports community organizations and nonprofits with grants. There’s another way to get involved, too, and it’s especially relevant in this election year: by engaging with the political and government process. We encourage all our guests and employees, no matter their party affiliation (or lack thereof), to support the political issues that affect them.
For employees who have immigrated to the U.S., nothing represents civic engagement more than the opportunity to become a citizen of this country. The process of gaining citizenship can be confusing and intimidating; our goal is to provide the necessary support to simplify the process. To date our Citizenship Rewards program has helped 320 employees become citizens, with more than 40 attaining citizenship in 2015 alone, and plans to aid another 60 employees this year.
In southern Nevada and southern California, our properties partner with local organizations like American Immigration Lawyers Association, Mi Familia Vota, the National Immigration Forum and the Human Rights Campaign for Community-Based Naturalization. We host workshops on the legal and financial aspects of applying for U.S. citizenship, and help employees fill out the actual citizenship application. To assist employees offset the $680 application fee, Caesars properties in southern California give employees $150 per application and loans employees the remainder of the cost; employees repay Caesars through a small withdrawals from each paycheck.
Caesars partner Vida Lin of the Asian Community Development Council registers voters at Paris Las Vegas.
“It’s important that Asian Americans vote and have their voice heard,” says Vida Lin, president and founder of the Las Vegas-based Asian Community Development Council (ACDC). “However, Las Vegas is a 24-hour town, and it’s hard to reach our community to help them understand why voting is so important.” So ACDC worked with Caesars to bring voter registration to Caesars employees at work, giving them the opportunity to register and learn more about issues on their breaks. In 2016, ACDC made a total of 18 visits to our Las Vegas properties and registered a total of 160 Caesars employees. ACDC helps register all Caesars employees, no matter their racial or ethnic background, and is also available to educate our Asian American employees on issues that specifically impact their community. Where possible, we offer similar voter registration and education services in partnership with other local organizations around the country.
Caesars also supports the Las Vegas Asian community by hosting the ACDC’s events, such as a health and civic engagement fair, which will place in October. The fair will address the challenges of the Asian American community in accessing wellness and preventive care.
Championing Civil Liberties
There is perhaps no better-known advocate for civil liberties than the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Caesars has long partnered with the Nevada chapter. For example, in the 2015 legislative session, we helped the ACLU defeat a bill limiting bathroom access for people who identify as transgender. Similarly, in 2013, Caesars supported marriage equality, partnering with the ACLU of Nevada to overturn an existing law defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman.
In 2016, the ACLU is celebrating its 50th anniversary defending the civil liberties of Nevadans and hosted a gala to celebrate. Jan Jones Blackhurst, executive vice president of government affairs and corporate responsibility, was honored with the organization’s Community Equality award for her longstanding commitment to LGBT rights, women’s rights and gender equality. “Jan is a progressive, action-oriented and forward-thinking leader, and Caesars is always ahead of the pack in preventing discrimination and advocating for equality,” said Tod Story, executive director of the ACLU of Nevada.
It is our hope that our commitment to civic engagement has a meaningful impact on our employees, guests and the communities where we all live and work.
2016 HERO Stars grand prize winners, Todd Anderson and Sandra Martinez, with National Park Trust mascot Buddy Bison.
Our HERO volunteers create positive impacts within the communities where Caesars Entertainment operates and team members live. We recognize the passion of our volunteers through the HERO Stars program and use their giving spirit and dedication to expand community involvement with the 2016 HERO Stars Grand Prize Trip.
Last week Caesars’ top volunteers, Sandra Martinez and Todd Anderson, shared what volunteerism is all about during their visit to Horseshoe Baltimore. The festivities began with a dinner at Jack Binion’s with executive team members and HERO board members to discuss community service goals for the Baltimore region. The next day Sandra and Todd signed up over 75 team members to be HERO volunteers, and prompted them to share why they’re proud to be a #Horseshoe HERO. The HERO Stars brought a community service activity directly to team members in the hallways, resulting in 90 “Cards of Light” that will deliver joy to local seniors on “Second Wind Dreams Day” on September 15th. “I’m grateful to work for company that allows us to share our time and talent while joining with others to benefit the community,” said Sandra Martinez about collaborating with fellow HERO volunteers.
Over 40 HEROs from Horseshoe Baltimore volunteered at Fort McHenry for the National Park Service Centennial.
On August 25th, the National Park Service’s Centennial, the HERO Stars led 40+ Horseshoe Baltimore HEROs in an event that reconnected 60 local YMCA kids with nature. Together they, celebrated 100 years of park stewardship, and learned the history of Fort Mc Henry, birthplace of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” “We are so proud to be part of this extraordinary community,” said Horseshoe Baltimore Senior Vice President and General Manager Erin Chamberlin welcoming the group to the national park.
The kids became junior rangers with the unfurling of a 30’ X 42’ ft. American Flag and a rotation of inspirational and educational activities. Party hats and blowers were broken out when the group when sang happy birthday to the park service before lunch. “I’m proud to be a part of a company that invests in community to the extent of sending volunteers across the country to expand a property’s community involvement program,” said Todd Anderson about traveling to a new region to support community initiatives.
The flag used in the unfurling activity was a an exact 30′ X 42′ ft replica of the flag seen by Francis Scott Key saw on the morning of September 14, 1814 inspiring him to write the words to “The Star Spangled Banner”.
After the Ft. McHenry celebration the HERO Stars traveled to Washington D.C. where they learned about Caesars Entertainment’s footprint of important social issues. They returned home with new experiences that will benefit their local HERO programs. In just two days they inspired excitement and passion around community service, and helped Horseshoe Baltimore achieve nearly 150 HERO hours. Inspiring stories and great community impact is sure to continue to come out of Horseshoe Baltimore.
The HERO Stars grand prize winners took a trip to Baltimore to explore the historically rich city and learn about Caesars Entertainment’s footprints on important social issues. From LGBT rights to advocating on behalf of older Americans to helping to establish responsible gaming protocols, Caesars Entertainment is no stranger to Washington, D.C.
Veteran Todd Anderson at the WWII Memorial.
Caesars is a strong supporter of diversity, inclusion and the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community and was among the first gaming companies to support the LGBT community. With nine consecutive perfect scores on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, we’ve supported legislation in favor of same-sex marriage and other protection of human rights. We signed a U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Brief arguing that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) must be overturned, and are part of a coalition of 57 companies that filed Briefs of Employers in support of marriage equality in three Sixth Circuit cases.
Sandra Martinez at the Historic Abraham Lincoln Memorial.
Supporting older individuals, helping them live longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives is a key initiative of Caesars and Caesars Foundation. In 2002, Caesars became the national prime sponsor of the Meals On Wheels Association of America’s “March For Meals” campaign and since donated $5,130,000 and 59 meal delivery trucks. To expand understanding and awareness of issues facing our country’s seniors, Caesars sponsored the underwriting of a national study conducted by University of Kentucky and University of Illinois in 2008 on the causes of senior hunger, the consequences of poor nutrition for seniors, and future strategies for preventing their isolation. This research was recognized as the most comprehensive national research study to look exclusively at senior hunger in the United States and was released at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging in March 2008.
We’re excited to announce this year’s HERO Stars grand prize winners Sandra Martinez and Todd Anderson! They were selected from a pool outstanding HERO Stars to benefit the Horseshoe Baltimore community this week because of their extreme passion for community that shines through their continuous contributions.
Sandra Martinez (Horseshoe Tunica), Q4 2015 HERO Star, embodies the giving spirit of the HERO program, volunteering for 61 HERO events – giving nearly 436 volunteer hours at our Horseshoe Tunica property in 2015. Each month, Sandra participates at the Harrah’s Hope Lodge, a Caesars Foundation grant recipient, on Game Night and Dinner Night, sanitizes toys at the Ronald McDonald House, distributes food to families at the Tunica Food Pantry, and visits patients at the Veterans Hospital of Memphis among many other altruistic contributions to her community.
Todd Anderson (Horseshoe Hammond), Q1 2016 HERO Star, is an extremely dedicated volunteer for the American Cancer Society – just this year alone he has already logged more than 175 hours for the cause and has raised funds by selling more than 1,000 homemade chocolate chip cranberry pecan cookies. In addition, Todd has done great work with Caesars Foundation partner Meals on Wheels by packing hundreds of meals to feed the hungry and has also has shaved his head annually for the past four years to show his solidarity with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
This week Sandra and Todd will work with the Horseshoe Baltimore leadership team to grow the HERO program and expand partnerships in the region. Nearly 5 million guests have visited Horseshoe Baltimore since its opening in 2014. Its success in community engagement and attracting a local workforce have become a model of how a public corporation and a city government can collaborate.
This year’s HERO Stars and Horseshoe HEROs will also join Caesars Foundation 6 year partner National Park Trust (NPT) to celebrate the centennial of stewardship of America’s parks. Over 60 children from the YMCA will gather with Caesars HEROs at national park Fort McHenry for a fun filled day of activities to excite youth around the outdoors and rebuild their connection to nature. Rebuilding children’s connection to the outdoors is an environmental initiative Caesars and NPT have been driving throughout the year and with this year’s CodeGreen Challenge.
Congratulations to this year’s grand prize winners – we’re looking forward to a week of community involvements and partnerships!
Caesars was thrilled to support civic engagement in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community by hosting the 2016 Presidential Election Forum at The Colosseum in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. For the AAPI community, the event was unprecedented and a historic one: for the first time, the 2016 presidential candidates and their representatives were in one room, speaking directly to the AAPI community at large. The forum hosted former President Bill Clinton on behalf of Secretary Hillary Clinton; Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes on behalf of Donald Trump; Libertarian presidential candidate and former governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson; and Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein.
Taking place last Friday, August 12, the forum was presented by Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) and the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), which held its national convention at Caesars Palace. The Presidential Election Forum was the largest gathering of AAPI national organizations ever, with nearly 3,000 leaders from business, real estate, journalism, health care, law, faith and more gathering to discuss media, business and politics as part of the AAJA convention. For many, the highlight of the convention was gathering in The Colosseum to hear the candidates’ views and ask questions about their proposed policies.
While Latino and African American communities are often addressed by presidential candidates, Asian American Pacific Islanders often feel invisible in the political process. “It was especially empowering for AAPI constituents to meet these political leaders and understand how each would support this emerging community as President,” said Carolene Layugan, Caesars’ director of Responsible Gaming and supporter of the forum. “While everyone has an understanding of what the Democratic and Republican candidates stand for, the community is less clear on the Libertarian and Green Party platforms, so the event was a rare opportunity to learn more.”
With 51% of AAPI voters saying they’re more enthusiastic about this year’s election than they were in 2012, candidates and their representatives were pressed to address the issues important to this community – primarily health care and immigration reform. In fact, in Caesars’ HQ state of Nevada, there are 301,000 Asian American Pacific Islanders, more than 177,000 of whom are eligible voters, comprising 9% of the state’s electorate. As a community partner, Caesars felt it was important to support this community’s civic engagement efforts and to encourage voting participation.
What’s more, with 57% of Caesars’ total workforce belonging to minority groups, it’s important to show our employees that we support diversity and inclusion through all parts of our business, including the events we host. Supporting the AAPI community is of strategic importance to our business, too, because it is key to the growth of our business, both as potential customers and as employees. Caesars was proud to be part of an important political moment for the national AAPI community! Check out footage from the forum here.
Note: We’re beginning a new series in which we’ll regularly spotlight a different property, including its CodeGreen initiatives.
Opened in 2014, our LINQ Hotel and Casino is located at the center of the strip and on the Linq Promenade, an open-air retail, dining, and entertainment district. According to director of hotel operations Melissa Fielding, “The LINQ is a full-sensory hospitality and entertainment experience. The environment here is very approachable and welcoming, encouraging guests to be themselves and join the LINQ in creating their own unique Las Vegas experience.”
And as with all Caesars properties, part of achieving our mission to inspire grown-ups to play includes prioritizing environmental sustainability in everything we do. And since the majority of The LINQ’s guests are Millennials – a group that often has high expectations about environmental responsibility – environmental initiatives are even more relevant to The LINQ.
Water & Energy Conservation
To use water wisely, our staff are trained to ensure busy bartenders don’t let faucets leak. In addition, employees responsible for washing dishes are trained to run full loads once each evening, instead of running partially full loads as needed throughout the day, and housekeeping staff has mindful water use integrated into their cleaning practices – more on that below. Standard practices such as towel and linen reuse are important to water savings, reducing our water use by 17 million gallons each year, equivalent to about 460 standard loads of laundry.
The POOL at the LINQ is a “Vegas day club pool party experience without the pretentiousness,” according to pool general manager Ryan Kelly. Hosting a pool party every day does take energy – for example, the cabanas have their own televisions and fans for guests who want to take a break from swimming. The POOL’s nightly energy conservation checklist ensures that employees turn off anything that could be using energy, from the cabanas to lights and refrigerators behind the bar.
In addition, we keep the refrigerators in guest rooms turned off and unplugged; guests plug them in for use upon checking into the room.
Waste & Recycling
Because it’s a safety hazard, we don’t serve poolside drinks in glasses; we must use recyclable plastic and aluminum. We take the guesswork out of separating recyclables from trash for our guests by using single bins and sorting recyclables from trash by hand before placing it in our dumpsters.
Food waste has been in the news recently for its overwhelming contributions to greenhouse gas emissions when it decomposes in landfills. To help reduce The LINQ’s food waste, the property directs food leftovers that cannot be donated to a local pig farm and composting facility.
For hotels, a tough recycling challenge can be mattresses that are no longer usable. The LINQ partners with the nearby Caesars property Flamingo, sharing dumpsters dedicated to mattresses, which are then recycled by a local waste company.
The LINQ also provides recycling options for employees in the back of the house. In addition to the standard recyclable materials like glass and aluminum, the property also provides recycling for batteries as well as used clothing, which are then distributed to local nonprofits for resale or downcycling into rags. According to The LINQ’s chief engineer, Kalani Young, “these bins are special to the LINQ, created by our carpentry shop. We share ideas like this at the corporate-level CodeGreen meetings so that they can be replicated by other properties – and we are always looking to hear about what other properties are doing in hopes of introducing new ideas here.”
Sourcing Sustainable Products
Our spa uses recycled paper for its services menus and pampers guests with products made from 97% organic ingredients. In our guest rooms, we use dispensers for shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotion instead of individual bottles, saving two tons of plastic annually.
Employee Training & Engagement
Our staff is really the heart of our conservation efforts, and we begin their CodeGreen training on the first day of work – and keep it up every day thereafter. Ana Rodriguez, director of housekeeping, says “CodeGreen isn’t an additional task, it’s the way we do it from the get-go.” The LINQ’s housekeeping staff have CodeGreen practices built into the inspection sheets that supervisors use to ensure rooms are cleaned effectively. For example, CodeGreen requirements like keeping the room at a standard 72 degrees and not letting faucets run while cleaning is alongside standard expectations like making mirrors shine. As Ana summarizes, “the housekeeping staff not only cleans the rooms, but cleans them right, contributing to CodeGreen.”
Our property manager is part of The LINQ’s CodeGreen team and joins the monthly meeting for sharing best practices in reducing environmental impact. Each employee is comfortable – and eager! – discussing CodeGreen initiatives with guests and answering questions about things like water use or recycling procedures. Providing top-notch guest service is what our employees do best, and we find that when CodeGreen is involved, the passion really shines through at The LINQ.
These eco-conscious practices are just the tip of the iceberg of what we do at The LINQ and across all our properties. To learn more, check out our brand-new corporate citizenship report, Connecting for #Citizenship.
All year long “community mindedness” is at the heart of Caesars’ HERO volunteers who make positive impacts that improve the quality of life in the communities where we operate. Our HEROs take pride in fostering long-term partnerships with non-profits and charities, volunteering their time and talents to make a lasting impact. To celebrate their altruistic spirit and hard work we recognize three dedicated team members each quarter who standout, raising the profile of the HERO program by bringing Caesars’ vision of community involvement and volunteerism to life. These outstanding HERO Stars are recognized at an elevated level if selected for the annual HERO Stars Grand Prize where the best of the best are sent to a Caesars location to lead a large-scare community involvement project.
“The experience helped me realize that every piece of the puzzle is important no matter how big or small, everyone is necessary to make it complete.” – Janice Miller, 2015 HERO Star grand prize winner
“It’s rewarding to know that there are so many more people out there who are interested in giving back. I’m also extremely proud to work for a company that gives so much to its surrounding community.” – Joan Bish, 2015 HERO Star grand prize winner
“It’s a very humbling experience that drives home how very privileged some of us really are.” – Brid’Jette Whaley, 2015 HERO Star grand prize winner
Stay tuned for what this year’s HERO Stars Grand Prize winners from Horseshoe Hammond and Horseshoe Tunica will be doing to benefit the Horseshoe Baltimore region…
Today Caesars launched our seventh annual corporate citizenship report, “Connecting for #Citizenship,” highlighting how Caesars provides economic and social benefits for employees, guests and communities while also advancing environmental stewardship. We are proud of the progress we’ve made – you can read about everything from the new “Meetings for Good” menu of nonprofit event opportunities to how we engage our wonderful employees. You’ll find stories, data and this year, since social media is an important way to connect with employees and guests about sustainability, we’re sharing what our social media followers think about Caesars by including their tweets.
So how does a report like this come together? We wanted to give you a bit of a behind the scenes look.
Though it may seem straightforward, putting together a citizenship report is much more than thinking back on the previous year (our report covers 2015 and the first half of 2016), writing about key citizenship initiatives and including some pictures. Since reporting is a huge task, like many companies, we work with an external consultant. Our consultant conducts interviews with people throughout Caesars, representing departments from sustainability, human resources, the Caesars Foundation, learning and development and, most importantly, from our properties and CodeGreen teams. The aim is to gather stores and data on how they’ve driven citizenship.
In addition to the 100+ page report, we produce 15 state fact sheets, which are essentially mini-reports that depend on more than 100 people providing us with up-to-the-minute data.
“Since the citizenship report and fact sheets are public-facing disclosure documents of interest to a wide range of stakeholders, including investors, it’s really important that all the information is accurate,” says Gwen Migita, Caesars’ vice president of sustainability and corporate citizenship. “To ensure accuracy, all the staff members we’ve interviewed review what is written about their department’s involvement in citizenship, so everything has been read by a couple hundred sets of eyeballs before it’s released.”
We follow the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework for putting together the report, which is the most widely-used corporate citizenship reporting guide in the world. The GRI helps companies focus in on the issues most important to our business and our stakeholders, while also ensuring that our report responds to what our stakeholders expect to hear from our company. For example, issues like responsible gaming, responsible meetings and human trafficking are specific to our industry so it’s important to share our progress with our stakeholders.
We also report on issues that are important for any company, such as delivering economic value (in 2015, we delivered $4.4 million enterprise-wide of value for every $10 million in revenue, triple the estimated average of U.S. corporations), addressing climate change, and ensuring our suppliers use socially and environmentally responsible practices.
Reporting should be much more than a means to an end; it’s actually a great way to reflect on our citizenship strategy, engage our colleagues around initiatives they’re passionate about, and celebrate our progress against short and long term goals. For the data geeks among us, it’s also a chance to see the numbers we’ve been tracking through various software solutions come to life in the report!
Throughout the report, we share tweets from stakeholders – team members, nonprofit partners, casino and hotel guests, and community members. We thought this was a fun way to show how seriously we take stakeholder engagement: we are listening to what people think about Caesars and we know they want us to have a positive impact.
Here at Caesars Entertainment, we like to dumpster dive. Seriously, we’re so good at it that we won an award! The dives were part of our Enterprise Waste Diversion Project which won a Top Project of the Year Award from a leading trade publication, Environmental Leader, in June.
For Caesars dumpster diving is a way to collect data on the waste streams from our 40 properties, which then allows us to evaluate the contents and determine new ways to divert items away from landfills.
The journey to reduce waste began in 2008 when we set a goal to divert 25 percent of waste from landfills by 2014. We beat our own goal and diverted not 25, but 44 percent of waste. Our new goal is to achieve 50 percent waste diversion by 2020, and 60 percent by 2025.
“Sustainability programs and metrics are becoming leading indicators for successful companies,” said Eric Dominguez, Caesars Vice President of Facilities, Engineering and Sustainability. “Companies that do this well are outperforming their peers. Sustainability is becoming less of a cost savings initiative and more of a strategic imperative.”
The progress we’re making does more than prevent trash from going to landfills. It also reduces carbon emissions and lowers costs. In 2014, our waste diversion efforts delivered an impressive $4,000,000 of bottom-line value.
Each type of waste presents an opportunity for a unique vertical solution. For example, when we recognized the amount of glass that was being discarded, we joined forces with BluMarble, a glass repurposing company. BluMarble recycles wine, liquor and beer bottles and uses the glass to create products such as tumblers, jewelry, cheese trays and vases. Caesars then sells the recycled glass products in our retail stores.
Another great example is soap: significant qualities of barely used bars of soap were being discarded every day, so we created a partnership with the nonprofit Clean the World and have since donated over 1.7 million bars of soap to developing countries to help fight disease.
When it comes to food waste, we reduce waste by composting food scraps. “At the Rio, we operate several large production kitchens that result in food scrap. We have catch-bins in all of our kitchens in the hotel and at several stations in restaurants that bussers and servers use in their jobs,” said Joseph Hamel, Executive Chef at Rio Suite Hotel and Casino. “I am a big fan of composting and the staff has embraced the new practice and all have played a role in getting the food scrap where it needs to go.”
Waste reduction is an ongoing opportunity at Caesars; we are constantly evolving our programs to be smarter and increasingly efficient. Receiving recognition from industry leading publications also helps encourage Caesars to continue to innovate.
“We feel proud and honored to receive our second Environmental Leader award for programs that are core to our CodeGreen sustainability effort,” said Jeff Ruskowitz, Manager Sustainable Operations. “EL reviews hundreds of applicants, so being selected as winner and recognized for our efforts legitimizes our programs even more and provides reassurance that we’re moving in the right direction.”