Sustainability as a Business Differentiator
By: Rose McKinney-James, Chair of the MGM Resorts Board of Directors’ Corporate Social Responsibility Committee
Dec. 15, 2016
A growing number of corporate boards are pursuing sustainable business practices as a strategic objective. Research shows that companies with board-driven sustainability initiatives have a competitive advantage. For instance, a 2014 report released by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) found that companies that strategically reduced their carbon footprints had 21 percent stronger dividends than those that didn’t.
The MGM Resorts International board was ahead of the curve when it made sustainability a strategic goal in 2005. We were driven largely by the company’s mounting of an unprecedented project that became the world’s largest sustainable, mixed-use development: CityCenter, a 16 million square-foot urban complex located on the Las Vegas Strip. The project helped define our company’s approach to water conservation, recycling, waste management and all other aspects of environmental sustainability.
When I joined the MGM board in 2005, I had years of experience in overseeing sustainability issues. I had led the Corporation for Solar Technology and Renewable Resources and served on the board of the Nevada Renewable Energy Task Force. I also had extensive exposure to renewable energy issues when I served as a commissioner with the Nevada Public Service Commission and through my board position with the Energy Foundation. I brought to the board my unique understanding that incorporating environmental best practices throughout our operations as a strategic initiative would make a powerful difference for this company.