Corporate Social Responsibility writer for Justmeans, Antonio Pasolini is a journalist based in Brazil who writes about alternative energy, green living and sustainability. He also edits Energyrefuge.com, a top web destination for news and comment on renewable energy and Elpis.org, a recycled paper bag/magazine distributed from health food stores in London, formerly his hometown for over a decade....
Caesars Entertainment Switches Off the Lights for Earth Hour
Earth Hour is fast approaching. On March 23, all over the world, people and companies will switch off the lights to raise awareness of the pressing problems the world faces if we don't switch to a more sustainable way of life and producing goods and services. Now in its sixth year, Earth Hour asks people the world over to go beyond the hour and think about what else they can do to make a difference when the lights come back on.
One of the companies that will be supporting this World Wildlife Fund initiative is Caesars Entertainment. The international chain of resorts and casinos that operates in the U.S., Uruguay and China pledged it will shut off non-essential exterior lighting and marquees between 8:30 and 9:30 pm local time on that day.
"By participating in Earth Hour globally, we will be presenting a united visual and call to action for individuals and businesses to address climate change," said Gwen Migita, vice president of sustainability and community affairs at Caesars Entertainment. "Our stewardship of the environment is a firm commitment as we continue to accelerate our sustainable practices at all our resorts to benefit the environment and peoples around the world."
Caesar's Entertainment's commitment to sustainability goes beyond Earth Hour, though. Every year, the company and its nearly 70,000 employees engage in sustainable business practices and environmental programs through CodeGreen, an initiative that provides tangible low-carbon solutions to reduce water, energy and waste consumption at all Caesars resorts. Each property has a CodeGreen team that implements grassroots programs aimed to enhance energy efficiencies, reduce the impact on natural resources and improve waste streams at Caesars' resorts and in their communities.
The company continues to expand its guest and community programs through partnerships with National Park Trust, Rebuilding Together, Sustainable Brands, Global Sustainable Tourism Council and Clean the World, which collects, sanitizes and redistributes in-room amenities for developing countries and homeless shelters in the U.S. Many of these national programs include educational components that illustrate the imperative nature of being environmentally-friendly at home and at work.
Internally, the company executes multiple campaigns under its CodeGreen strategy focused on energy, water and waste reductions throughout the year that drive incremental habit changes in the work place and at home. Caesars Entertainment has also invested more than $70 million in energy efficiencies resulting in resource savings of $26 million annually.
Besides Caesars, other hotel chains are taking up the Earth Hour challenge. In the tiny Cook Islands, where rising sea levels loom as a real threat, hotels are implementing their own Earth Hour initiatives to send a message to the world.
"The impacts of a changing planet can be seen in many places around the world, especially here in the Cook Islands. We're urging other hotels around the world to join hands with us this Earth Hour, and to take their sustainability initiatives beyond the hour. Their impacts will not only be felt in their own cities, but even as far as here in the Cook Islands," said Greg Stanaway, CEO of Pacific Resort Hotel Group in the Cook Islands.
In Macao, a total of 13 hotels are extending their Earth Hour lights-off from once a year to every month in 2013. Conrad Macao took the lead when it took the decision to switch off its exterior facade and non-essential indoor lighting on the first Tuesday of every month. The group then proposed a friendly challenge to any 10 hotels in Macao to join their Earth Hour Every Month, and said they'd go dark twice a month for 2013 if they reached their goal. By March, a total of 13 hotels in Macao had accepted the hotel's 'I Will If You Will' challenge.
Hotels outside of Macao have also been inspired by the initiative, with Singapore's Marina Bay Sands, one of the key landmarks in the country, and South Africa's Cape Grace Hotel accepting Conrad Macao's challenge to go lights off once a month.
Marina Bay Sands has also issued their own 'I Will If You Will' challenge in line with WWF Singapore's Earth Hour campaign One Degree Up, which aims to encourage individuals and buildings to take a simple action of setting their air conditioners at 24 degrees to achieve a big impact beyond the hour. Air conditioning accounts for 60% of the energy use of buildings in the country. Marina Bay Sands promises to raise our air conditioner by 1°C for one day every month if their top 20 vendors raise their air con by 1°C during Earth Hour.
Image credit: Caesars Entertainment