Caesars CEO: How a sustainability scorecard is creating value

What is the most challenging part of integrating sustainability into a company's DNA? As sustainability professionals know, it takes more than a company's willingness to address environmental and social issues across its value chain. True integration takes champions to make it happen -- yet champions within corporations sometimes encounter roadblocks to executing a sustainability vision, and in some cases those initiatives hit a plateau.

At Caesars Entertainment, we view sustainability as a core part of our business strategy. To that end, we have developed a tool that is making sustainability stick at our company, from the top down and bottom up.

A scorecard strategy

Our CodeGreen Scorecard, first launched in 2010 and updated in 2012, has become an internal sustainability roadmap that has led to significant efficiency improvements across our global properties, as well as become a vehicle for employee engagement and community involvement. 

The scorecard, part of our greater CodeGreen sustainability strategy, measures Caesars Entertainment's organizational, environmental and stakeholder engagement performance to help our organization meet ambitious sustainability goals through 2025. Energy, water, waste, customer impact and employee engagement data are measured both at the corporate and individual property levels. At the local level, the scorecard empowers employees to drive sustainability initiatives in our 52 locations around the globe.

This is what I like to call a virtuous cycle: the synergy between people's individual actions and company-driven improvements. With a dose of friendly competitive spirit, our scorecard also has prompted individual property managers to bolster their green initiatives at their sites and become top performers on the annual CodeGreen Scorecard.

The sustainability push

Since the launch of our corporate sustainability program nearly a decade ago, Caesars has invested more than $70 million in energy-efficiency programs at the corporate level and has committed to meet robust energy conservation, carbon reduction, water usage and waste reduction goals.

While these corporate efforts have generated several types of savings for Caesars -- including more than $24 million saved in resources, 298 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions averted and 208 million kilowatt-hours in energy saved each year -- our most innovative achievements come from Caesars employees who are finding new ways to reduce costs, help the environment and connect with local communities.

For example, a facilities director in our resort in Indiana began collecting used cooking oil from the hotel kitchen for reuse in fueling vehicles and heating a small warehouse. At another property in San Diego, the general manager created a steering committee that organized a team of management employees to lead efforts to replace incandescent light-bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, train housekeeping staff to adjust room thermostats to cut down on heating and air conditioning costs, implement energy conservation measures and boost recycling efforts. This all led to a reduction in the property's energy consumption by 3.3 million kilowatt-hours per year.

Other CSR efforts

Employee efforts go beyond helping the environment. Harrah's Rincon Casino & Resort in California partnered with Clean the World, an organization that collects partially used soap and shampoo products left in hotel rooms, sterilizes the materials and donates them to impoverished families around the world. In 2012, the resort staff collected 1,195 pounds of hygiene products for Clean the World. 

Similarly, Harrah's New Orleans casino has been committed to rebuilding, revitalizing and reenergizing the city of New Orleans. In 2012, the local community benefited from more than $5 million in corporate giving to nonprofit community groups. In addition, Harrah's New Orleans employees contributed more than 4,000 volunteer hours, valued at $84,000.

Our societal contributions in the communities in which we operate are strong. In fact, one study conducted by the research organization VeraWorks found that, per every $10 million in revenue, Caesars Entertainment's societal contributions generated social benefits valued at more than $4 billion per year-twice the value that the average U.S. corporation generates.

It is also my belief that business thrives when a community that hosts such business also thrives. With our CodeGreen Scorecard and platform firmly in place, Caesar's Entertainment aims to continue to add value to our communities and the environment, and to see our business thrive.

Top image by Evlakhov Valeriy via Shutterstock