How Las Vegas is Making a Sustainable Splash
Green Guys Finish First
If you’ve been following along, we kicked off Earth Day with a spotlight on sustainability and how corporate social responsibility (CSR) is taking shape in hotels and convention centers across the U.S. We began the series highlighting New York and Chicago, discussing urban ecosystems and agriculture, and how to get started partnering on a food recovery plan. But what does sustainability look like in a vastly different environment, like the desert? Let’s hop on over to Las Vegas and take a look!
Environmental concerns are taken to heart in Las Vegas, and as the city’s fueled by tourism and events, hotels are a key player at the table. For Vegas properties, it’s not just about a single green act and then wiping their hands clean. Some hotels have adopted complete sustainability programs, paving the way for this desert city to become a seriously green city.
Bellagio Las Vegas is highly committed to conservation efforts, through an array of traditional and unconventional practices. The hotel’s furniture is made from fast-growing, renewable eucalyptus (how cool!). Grocery vendors are committed to delivering 90% of all items through two distributors, reducing fuel consumption. And Bellagio has over 1,500 employees involved in the Club Ride carpooling program, the highest participation in Vegas. Bellagio even hosts Internal Green Fairs, engaging employees on how to adopt sustainable habits in their own homes and personal lives.1
But let’s talk water. Two of the most iconic performances in Vegas are the Fountains of Bellagio and Cirque du Soleil®. How can opulence also go hand-in-hand with saving the planet? Are the hotel’s sustainability efforts just smoke and mirrors, a slight of hand like a showy Vegas illusionist? Nope. Lake Bellagio and the aquatic, acrobatic production “O” by Cirque du Soleil are both replenished with non-drinkable well water. On top of that, the hotel’s upgraded water treatment system saves 24m gallons of water annually. And the towel/linen reuse program? Another 15.5m gallons conserved. Who else is making a splash in towards a more sustainable city? ARIA Resort & Casino. Simply by installing low flow shower heads, this hotel saves 50m gallons of water each year, providing enough clean water for over 45,000 people.
All cooking oil used in ARIA restaurants is also repurposed and converted into biofuel, serving as a renewable energy source and reducing the resort’s dependence on water.2
The Las Vegas Sands Corp—which includes The Venetian, The Palazzo, and Sands Expo & Convention Center—is celebrating 11 years of dedication to the environment. “Sustainability is an ever-evolving conversation, and so are high-performance building strategies…Since 2007, we’ve made it a strategic priority to become a more sustainable company,” says Sheldon Adelson, Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp.3
Sands has a comprehensive CSR plan, which include some pretty cool measures! Things that fit in the palm of your hand, like equipping 2,000 housekeeping staff with iPods instead of paper for assignments, takes the company “from paper to pixels.”4 Zooming out, Sands runs one of the largest rooftop solar-thermal systems in the U.S. It provides hot water for all swimming pools, spas, and an area of The Palazzo tower. Plus, the company’s nano-filtration system allows The Palazzo to care for all plants without accessing the municipal water grid.4
Conservation efforts like this are huge. From 2008 to 2016, Las Vegas reduced its water consumption by 20%5, not only by changing out shower heads. Grass in new developments is replaced with synthetic turf, and drought-tolerant plants are being used in landscaping and public art. Combined, these city-wide practices are evolving Vegas into a model, eco-friendly city.
It’s evident that CSR has been prevalent for some time, but “with the current volatile social and political climates and widening divides, CSR is being pushed to the next level…Consumers are also responding, demanding more of the businesses with which they interact. In an age where people are overwhelmed with choices, the brand that stands for the social justice issues consumers care about is often the one that wins their dollars.”6
Our goal with this series on sustainability and social responsibility is not only meant to highlight your screen a little greener this Earth Week. We want to shout from the rooftop gardens that the hospitality and events industries are recognizing their ability to reform their sustainable practices, increasing transparency and decreasing their footprints. We want you to be inspired, because as a traveler, a meeting planner, a hotelier or other participant in the events industry, your voice and values are essential to making progress. Thanks for joining us on this journey!
1 “Environmental Commitment,” MGM Resorts International, last modified 2018. https://www.bellagio.com/en/hotel/environmental-commitment.html
2 “Behind the Scenes of Las Vegas: how ARIA guests experience green,” MGM Resorts International, last modified 2018. https://www.aria.com/en/hotel/sustainability.html
3 “SandsEco360: 2016 Environmental Report,” Las Vegas Sands Corp, last modified July 31, 2017. https://www.ifoldsflip.com/i/855010-sands-eco360-2016-environmental-report
4 “A Sustainable Path Forward,” Venetian Meetings Las Vegas, last modified 2018. https://www.venetian.com/meetings/why-us/sustainability.html
5 “Sustainability,” City of Las Vegas, last modified 2017. https://www.lasvegasnevada.gov/portal/faces/wcnav_externalId/ci-sustainability
6 “2018 Experiential Marketing Trend Report: Top 10 Trends to Transform Events in 2018,” AgencyEA, last modified 2018. https://agencyea.com/experiential-marketing-trends-in-2018/