Friday, May 26, 2017

How Harrah’s Resort SoCal Focuses on Being Environmentally Friendly Through its Sustainability Practices

At Harrah’s Resort Southern California, going green part of its daily operation. As a business that runs 24 hours a day, seven days of the week, the resort has discovered ways to monitor and control its environmental impact at every level—from housekeeping to book keeping.

As part of the Caesars Entertainment family, Harrah’s embraced its corporate CodeGreen promise to preserve the planet, but it also constantly looks for unique ways to conserve that make sense for the specific needs of its Southern California location. Harrah’s has been a green property since 2007 and along the way staff has learned some valuable lessons that help to continue to evolve the sustainability program.

Putting the Sun to Work

Resorts are a business that keeps the lights on 365 days a year. That’s a lot of electricity, so it became a huge priority to offset this impact. In addition to converting over 90-percent of on-property lighting to earth-friendly LED, they have also found a way to embrace the advantage of the hotel’s geographical location. Southern California receives approximately 264 days of sunshine per year, so going solar made sense.

Harrah’s Resort SoCal became the first resort in Southern California to go solar when it installed a 5.5-acre solar field in 2009. Since then it has generated 11,858,912 kilowatt-hours of electricity—the equivalent to keeping 1,722 cars off the road. They also added solar panels to the top of our North Tower, which are used exclusively to heat the pool. The investment has had a long-term positive effect on the hotel’s overall eco-footprint and they are looking for additional ways to increase solar efforts.

Recycling is More than Paper and Plastic

Recycling has a huge impact on natural resources, which is why Harrah’s Resort SoCal has implemented programs from kitchens to our hotel rooms. Each year it diverts close to 500 tons of mixed materials. That is equal to saving enough energy to power an average American household for 9.5 years. More than just the standard paper and plastic, Harrah’s also recycles electronic waste, batteries, eyeglasses, cooking oil and billboard vinyls.

But that’s just one way to help the planet stay healthy. According to the World Health Organization, over 2 million children under the age of five die every year from diseases preventable by good hygiene. While guests love the convenience of complimentary soap and shampoo, Harrah’s found a way to continue to offer this amenity while still reducing waste and helping save lives.

By partnering with Clean the World, the resort donates thousands of pounds hygiene products every year that are then sanitized, repackaged and redistributed globally in areas where they are needed. Every two months the housekeeping staff collects approximately 1,800 pounds of recyclable products, and since 20011 Harrah’s has donated more than 60,000 bars of soap and recycled more than 5,200 pounds of plastic containers.

Putting Local on the Menu

For a full-service resort with multiple restaurants—some which are open 24 hours—choosing to buy from local sources can benefit guests as well as the business bottom line. By purchasing from nearby farms, the hotel reduces its carbon footprint and helps put money back into the local economy. In addition, the restaurants source sustainably caught seafood, something that guests prefer and has a larger value to the planet. Choosing local or sustainable food selections may not always be the cheapest choice, but they are the options Harrah’s feel good about and guests also appreciate.

In addition to buying local, Harrah’s has also found a way to grow its own. With an on-property garden, it’s able to supplement its kitchens with fresh herbs and veggies—used in both the teammate dining room and guest-facing outlets. Not only is this a cost savings, but there is a satisfaction of knowing for sure where these veggie came from and how they were grown.

Choose What’s Right, Not What’s Easy

Harrah’s eco-friendly efforts are constantly growing and it has its teammates and guests to thank. By opening up lines of communication through its website, social channels and guest surveys, the company is listening to what’s important to the community. In 2012, it added four electric vehicle charging stations. This was not something that it needed to do, but something it heard guests and teammates would like to have. Since that time the demand has grown and it has added four more charging stations. The appreciation gained from guests and teammates by adding options like this that help them continue their own eco-friendly efforts is well worth the investment.

Learn more at or search hashtag #HarrahsCodeGreen.

Caesar’s Entertainment Properties’ CodeGreen

CodeGreen is an organization-wide strategy to drive environmental awareness and engagement, as well as performance, across the business. CodeGreen was established with a baseline year of 2007 for most of its environmental impacts, and now has additional elements of the company’s corporate responsibility strategy for a comprehensive approach.
Each location participates in CodeGreen with its own CodeGreen Leaders who champion their location’s unique, detailed work plan and targets to achieve during the year while inspiring their colleagues to embed environmentally conscious behaviors into their daily lives. 

 Darrell Pilant, senior vice president and general manager of Harrah’s Resort Southern California

Monday, May 22, 2017

From Seaside Resort to Downtown Detroit, Sustainable Brands Switches Gears

(Murals for Detroit’s Eastern Market against the backdrop of a rejuvenated downtown. Sustainable Brands moved its U.S. conference to Detroit from San Diego)
In June of 2016, Sustainable Brands founder KoAnn Vikoren Skrzyniarz promised attendees at the 2017 edition of her annual flagship U.S. conference to focus on the new look at industrialization and its intersection with social and environmental issues.

Her ability to predict where the world’s business news outlets would be focused on the opening day of her event 11 months later was uncanny.

The keynote speaker for tonight’s opening session at Cobo Center in downtown Detroit is Ford Motor Company Chairman Bill Ford who, according to multiple press accounts, has just replaced CEO Mark Fields with the head of the Ford subsidiary that works on autonomous vehicles, Jim Hackett.

Moving the Sustainable Brands conference to the heart of the U.S. Rust Belt was already a jarring event for the 2,000 'sustainarati' who use the event to network, hear inspiring presentations and meet with suppliers in the rapidly growing environmental, social and governance sectors.

“Our community is focused on the global truth that, at this moment in history, it is time for all businesses to get back to the place where they have embedded a meaningful purpose beyond profit into the core of their activities,” wrote Vikoren Skrzyniarz as she announced the event would move from San Diego’s Paradise Point resort to Michigan. “But what comes next? It’s time for us to leave ‘Paradise’ as it is classically envisioned, with the sun and sand and palm trees, and redefine a new global societal aspiration that goes beyond the ‘Dream’ of the Industrial Age. What better place than to begin that imagineering than in the heartland of America where the industrial age took hold and innovation unfolded?”

The decision to host Sustainable Brands in the 2.4 million square complex where the North American International Auto Show takes place each January is no longer as contradictory as it would have been a decade earlier.

Environmentalists are mainstream consumers today. Hybrid vehicles are everywhere. Now, Tesla and General Motors have scaled production of their electric cars to a point where they are affordable.

Yet even with the ability to drive without contributing to global warming, demographics have changed and automotive ownership is no longer the ultimate status symbol.

With urban farming providing locally sourced food, bike paths, light rail and the ability to hail a car with touch of a smartphone, city centers are thriving in once abandoned downtowns like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo and Detroit.

It’s against that reality that Vikoren Skrzyniarz wisely chose the Motor City for a look at the new definition of “the good life,” and Bill Ford to speak on a day where investors watching closely to see how corporate America is responding.

CR Magazine’s blog will provide updates throughout the conference. Check back to see all the action here!