The last time I stayed at a hotel, I quickly took notice of the recycling bins around the facility. At one point during our stay, we learned at all about the hotel’s impressive reuse of rain water. That got me thinking about hotels and resorts, and what they may (or may not) be doing behind the scenes to reduce their environmental impact. Do environmental initiatives at hotels and resorts matter to you? Would you be more likely to stay at a hotel that cares about the earth, or do you not consider the impact of travel on the environment?
As it happens, I do some work with the Caesars Entertainment Group, and recently inquired about their green initiatives. The company has a strategy they call CodeGreen, which provides tangible low-carbon solutions to reduce water, energy and waste consumption at all Caesars resorts. Each individual property has its own CodeGreen team to implement the company strategy. There is also a CodeGreen Steering Committee which drives the overall strategic direction of the program. To date, CodeGreen programs have garnered nearly 60 environmental awards and certifications.
The company has invested nearly $70 million on energy conservation projects in their hotels and resorts since 2004. As a result, they now recycle more than 320,000 gallons of waste vegetable oil annually. They also save more than 290 million pounds of carbon dioxide relative to 2007 emissions. To put that into perspective, it is the equivalent of eliminating 152,000 round trip flights from Los Angeles to New York. The estimated annual energy savings from conservation projects alone is enough to power more than 19,000 average size homes.
Have you ever wondered what hotels and resorts do with all those little bottles of soap and body wash that are left behind? To date, over 1 million bars of soap have been collected at Caesars properties throughout North America. In 2012 alone, Caesars’ U.S. properties donated more than 50 tons of soap and bottled amenities that were recycled to Clean the World, an organization whose mission is to decrease acute respiratory infection and diarrheal disease related deaths that result from lack of soap and health education in impoverished communities around the world. Since 2010, the Caesars Foundation contributed $400,000 to aid Clean the World.
And what about all those pens and writing paper that is left over from meetings and conventions? Caesars Entertainment collects left over convention supplies and donates items to The Public Education Foundation for their use in classrooms. The company and its charitable arm, Caesars Foundation, have given nearly $1.5 million to aid in funding the operation of the program as well as purchase of school supplies.
Makes you think twice about where you lay your head at night while traveling, does it not?
In addition, Caesars Entertainment Group participates in the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour.More than 40 of Caesars casinos and resorts power down exterior and non-essential lighting for one hour to bring attention to the issue of global climate change. Their U.S. properties also host events to promote conservation and outdoor recreation as part of National Park Trust’s (NPT’s) signature National Kids to Parks Day initiative – a grassroots movement that encourages children and families to get outside and explore local, state and national parks in their community. Last year, the events attracted 140,000 participants and 2,500 employees and their families. Caesars Entertainment is also a sponsor of the Big Green Bus Tour, when students from Dartmouth travel coast-to-coast on a bus with a fuel system that has been converted to run on biodiesel in an effort to educate communities about environmental responsibility.
Caesars plans to continue implementing CodGreen initiatives by conserving even more energy at its properties, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and diverting additional waste from landfills via reusing and recycling programs.
So, just out of curiosity, let me ask again. Do environmental initiatives at hotels and resorts matter to you in your decision-making process? Had you considered the impact of travel on the environment?
Oh, and by the way, the Atlantic City properties are having an “extend your summer” sale. Who wouldn’t want to extend summer?