MGM Resorts Outlines Vision for Social Impact and Environmental Responsibility

November 25, 2019

Earlier this month, MGM Resorts International launched a standards-driven social impact program called Focused on What Matters: People, Community and Planet” that outlines the company’s vision for a sustainable future through environmental and corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Through its impact on various aspects of the company’s operations, the program will also make it easier for planners to create meetings and events that reflect the sustainability goals and corporate values of their organizations.

The new program is in line with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and addresses four priority areas, including fostering diversity and inclusion, investing in community, caring for one another and protecting the planet. 

MGM has also signed onto the United Nations Global Compact, which calls on companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals.

The move comes as companies across all sectors feel the increasing pressure from the public and investors to address these issues. The rising influence of millennials, a generation considered to be focused on sustainability, is also an important factor. 


“As a company with a global presence and more than 80,000 employees worldwide, MGM Resorts recognizes our responsibility extends beyond simply serving our customers and growing our bottom line,” said MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren. “Focused on What Matters elevates and builds upon our work and investments in responsible leadership and provides a roadmap for making the most meaningful, enduring impact possible." 

As part of the program, the company is setting ambitious goals for 2025, including reducing carbon emissions per square foot by 45 percent, energy per square foot by 25 percent and water per square foot by 30 percent, and achieving a 60 percent materials diversion rate. 

“MGM has always been focused on environmental responsibility and now we have brought it together into a concrete vision,” said Yalmaz Siddiqui, vice president of corporate sustainability at MGM Resorts.

The sustainable energy-related goals will get a serious boost next year when the company breaks ground on a 100 mega-watt solar array near Las Vegas, scheduled to come online by the end of 2020. At peak production, it is expected to power 90 percent of the company’s portfolio of 13 properties on the Las Vegas Strip. 

“It is the next step in our renewable-energy journey,” Siddiqui added. 

In 2016, the company completed an expansion of the solar project on the roof of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to 8.3 mega-watts, making it the largest continuous rooftop solar array in the U.S. 


Food donation is also a major part of the program, which includes a goal of donating more than 5 million pounds of unserved meals from banquets and meetings held at MGM properties. The company already has a food donation mechanism in place through partnership with Three Square Food Bank. Now the collection process will be more efficient with the addition of a new mobile blast chiller, designed by MGM with refrigerated vans manufacturer Peravan.

“It allows us to pick up food from multiple properties safely and quickly,” Siddiqui explained. 

Companies committed to meeting their CSR goals can already pick from a deck of 52 sustainability-related ideas, ranging from venues with specific certifications to organic menu options, digital signage, and outreach programs. 

“From a group and meeting standpoint, I find that green initiatives and volunteerism have become an expectation, and companies want to do business with companies that share their values,” said Stephanie Glanzer, vice president of sales operations and services for MGM.

One of her favorite recent events was an opening reception where instead of Champagne toasts, attendees got to engage with a variety of local charities and civic organizations. 

“They could write a note to a sick child or learn more about a cause [that is] important to them,” Glanzer said. 

Some sustainability ideas come from clients who push the company to set new standards, according to MGM officials. For its recent AWS re:Invent conference, Amazon requested that biodegradable lunch boxes be provided for its attendees and composted after the event. A product like that wasn’t available on the market, so chefs across four properties teamed up to create 100 compostable lunch boxes that turn into soil within two months.

It’s just one of the ways the company is constantly striving to find new ways to integrate sustainability initiatives into our operations and event-related offerings, noted MGM officials.


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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.