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Crown Resorts sustainability efforts deliver the goods

Crown utilised a rewards system to motivate waste reduction in its restaurants and bars.
Crown utilised a rewards system to motivate waste reduction in its restaurants and bars.

International tourism operator Crown Resorts has put a strong focus on sustainability at its major Melbourne and Perth sites, achieving major reductions in carbon emissions, increased energy efficiency, reduced water use and reduced waste to landfill.

The company has been reporting to the Carbon Disclosure Project for the past six years, and the 2015 report to CDP showed an overall 7.2 per cent decrease in carbon emissions between the 2013 and 2014 financial years, despite an increase in activity and the business footprint.

Since 2015, sustainability reporting has been incorporated into the annual report, with the 2015 report showing a 64 per cent increase in recycling rates, a 3.9 per cent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions intensity per area and a 0.6 per cent decrease in water use.

It has installed resource monitoring and reporting systems across both Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth sites that provide live data on electricity, gas and water consumption. Daily, weekly and monthly reports are generated for each business unit within the resorts to show time-of-use data. This enables managers to identify where further efficiencies can be achieved and also allows them to monitor the effectiveness of programs, including staff education programs.

Both properties have undergone substantial energy efficiency upgrades. At Metropol Melbourne, an upgrade was completed in 2014 that included replacing more than 6000 lights with LED technology, optimising heating, ventilation and cooling controls and improving housekeeping and maintenance procedures.

The various initiatives aimed to achieve a 16 per cent reduction in GHG emissions equating to 2000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent annually. The 2014 corporate social responsibility report stated that energy efficiency measures implemented in 2013-2014 resulted in CO2 abatement of 6800 tonnes.

At Crown Perth, energy efficiency initiatives comprising the upgrade of 15,000 lights to LED technology and an upgrade to facade lighting (also LED) in combination with time scheduling of lighting to convention areas and ongoing reviews of lighting for offices and restaurants, achieved an 80 per cent reduction in lighting energy use.

The organisation has also targeted scope 3 emissions since 2012, with a voluntary carbon offset program for guests through Climate Friendly.

The program offers guests or event organisers the option of having the CO2 generated by their stay through Crown purchasing carbon offsets of their behalf. The offsets are verified under the National Carbon Offset Standard and generated by Tasmanian forestry projects.

In the 2015 CDP report, it was stated that 78 tonnes of scope 3 emissions had been offset through the program between FY 2013-2014.

Water efficiency activities have included the installation of a reverse osmosis system at the Melbourne site that recovers waste water for use in landscape irrigation, fountains and employee toilets. This is saving around 13,500 litres of water a day.

The company has used financial incentives to encourage business unit managers, facility managers, energy managers and sustainability managers to achieve sustainability targets.

In the 2015 CDP report, it stated “that the key performance objectives of relevant managers include targets to improve the performance of Crown’s properties by lowering greenhouse gas emissions and reducing energy and water consumption”.

“Subject to the relevant manager achieving all their performance objectives and relevant financial targets, they may be eligible to a bonus.”

Targets can include percentage reductions in total electricity, gas and water consumption, and increases in waste diversion rates.

The waste front is one in which the company has tackled on a number of levels.

Group manager sustainability Jonathan Wood said the sustainability team has instituted a number of innovative recycling solutions that have seen recycling rates rise from 23 per cent to 68 per cent in just 12 months.

He identified one of its key objectives as “putting the right waste in the right bins and knowing why”.

In order to achieve this behaviour change, it designed a learning-based game in conjunction with Inspire Group. As the learner progressed the game got harder and the items were relevant to different parts of the business depending on the job role.

Crown Melbourne has generated four environmental sustainability online training modules customised for different areas of the business. These include food & beverage, cleaning, housekeeping, and all other staff and contractors.

Employees are required to complete the module within the first four weeks of commencing their job and the level of interactivity helps with knowledge retention.

With an ambitious target of 90-plus per cent diversion of waste from landfill, the company has had to employ a range of strategies as well as the online gaming module – such as waste/recycling audits and a reward/fines program.

The rewards program has mainly focused on the 58 restaurants and bars, areas that usually have the poorest performance in relation to recycling.

The kitchens have a weekly or twice-weekly audit done to identify the best and worst performers in terms of recycling. This requires staff to physically attend each site and conduct visual audits, working on a baseline of around 10 per cent contamination. The best performing outlet for the quarter gets a reward such as movie tickets for the staff in that kitchen.

The group has trialled the introduction of fines for contaminated recycling and is now looking to roll that out more broadly this year from an initial test group of 12 restaurants and bars.

“What it should be is that the worst performers pay for the rewards for the best performers and that’s pretty much the rule,” Mr Wood says.

“We didn’t see as much correlation between improved behaviour and the rewards as we thought but that may be more of a communication issue.

“We’re trying to create a bit of competition among the restaurants,” adding that it’s easier to engage the 40 or 50 people who may work in a kitchen as opposed to the entire workforce.

“We’ve found that probably one of the greatest contributions to behaviour change was the audits… because you’re coming face-to-face with the people and if you find contamination you’re showing the people as it happens,” Mr Wood says.

“Also the audits provide the basis for everything else, so the data that is used for monitoring of rewards or fines, so if we didn’t have the audit we wouldn’t be able to do the rewards or fines.”

The audit data has also assisted in setting key performance indicators for chefs and managers working in restaurants that relate to recycling.

Crown currently separates waste into 21 recycling streams.

In terms of its supply chain, it is using a lifecycle management approach to manage the products and services it requires. This involves a three-fold approach of working with staff, customers and suppliers, as well as working closely with waste contractors.

In its CDP report, it stated that “all potential suppliers are now required to provide information on their environmental credentials and performance of their product when they register their interest in participating in a tender”.

“Information such as the EMS of the company, sustainable sourcing of raw materials and recyclability of the product is then incorporated into the supplier assessment.”

For more information on tackling waste, see our Office Waste ebook.

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