Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013 | 2 a.m.
On Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for what Caesars Entertainment’s employees do, not only in helping the business succeed but also for their role in the community. Caesars employees have not only contributed to low-carbon solutions to reduce water, energy and waste consumption at all Caesars resorts as part of our CodeGreen initiative, but they also have demonstrated community leadership through volunteering and giving efforts that are part of our company’s Hero program.
Employees have led efforts at our properties and engaged guests in our sustainability initiatives, and as a result, Caesars has decreased our greenhouse gas emissions, electricity and water use in our U.S. operations year by year. For example, our goal of reducing our energy consumption by 20 percent by 2015 (based on 2007 data) has already been achieved.
I am especially proud of the following socially minded employee efforts that have taken place in Las Vegas this year that highlight our company’s commitment to operating responsibly and sustainably:
• Rebuilding Together: In celebration of Veterans Day, about 300 volunteers refurbished three homes (one owned by a veteran) and one neighborhood park in North Las Vegas. Volunteers from the local organizations Rebuilding Together and Energy Fit NV, along with Caesars Entertainment employees and guests, spent the day painting, hauling trash, trimming trees, cleaning up graffiti, leveling and re-rocking yards, and reconstructing fences. We also partnered with Energy Fit NV, which conducted energy assessments on each home, and worked with Energy Fit NV’s contractors to achieve an average increase of 23 percent in the energy efficiency of the homes.
• Adopted trail at Bruce Trent Park: In partnership with our local community partner Outdoor Las Vegas Foundation, and in celebration of National Parks Trust Kids to Parks Day, Caesars Entertainment adopted a trail at Bruce Trent Park and hosted a celebration at which several hundred employees, family members and friends joined us for a celebratory walk down the trail. Entertainers Jeff Civillico and Mac King led the walk, a local vegan food vendor offered free lunch and a juice bar, and a local fitness center offered an obstacle course for participants’ enjoyment.
• Garden project with Second Wind Dreams: Earlier this year, employees who are part of Caesars’ community involvement team, called Hero, revamped a community garden at a local elder care community in conjunction with our partnership with the Second Wind Dreams organization. Volunteers spent the day painting, cleaning, gardening, visiting with the seniors and reconstructing the community garden, which now serves as an active gathering place for residents.
• CodeGreen Farmers Markets: Twice a year, employees at our Las Vegas properties organize on-site farmers markets that are open to family members and friends, offering fresh local produce, baked goods and vendor booths hosted by local green partners. As part of our CodeGreen initiative, which aims to enhance the first-class experience of Caesars Entertainment guests, creating healthier, cleaner communities, the farmers markets invite employees to explore sustainable food options.
Without employees’ genuine interest in positively contributing to their community and environment, these activities would not be the successes they were. Thankfully, our employees care. In fact, a recent company-wide survey revealed that employees are 92 percent more likely to be highly engaged and experience greater work satisfaction the more they engage with and know about the company’s volunteerism efforts and CodeGreen’s environmental sustainability work.
This is good news for all involved — employees, guests and local communities — because the more our employees engage in volunteer efforts like these, the more Las Vegas will thrive.
Jan Jones Blackhurst, a former mayor of Las Vegas, is executive vice president of communications and government relations for Caesars Entertainment.