MGM Resorts Outlines Vision for Social Impact and Environmental Responsibility
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.