Team Earth unites businesses, nonprofit organizations, scientists, educators and engaged citizens in an international effort to focus attention on pressing environmental sustainability issues, inspire collective action and drive innovation towards smarter, greener, more responsible choices," the announcement read.
Harrah's is joining computer company Dell, cleaning product company SC Johnson, Starbucks and the candy-gum company Wrigley as the founding corporations of Team Earth. The companies will work with Conservation International, Rocky Mountain Institute and the Prince of Wales' Rainforest Project in five critical environmental areas: climate change, water, health, waste and food.
The partnership was announced last Monday in Manhattan at a press conference attended by Harrah's Chairman and CEO Gary Loveman. "A key focus of Team Earth is uniting simple, straightforward individual actions to address our planet's most critical environmental issues," Loveman said. "Harrah's Entertainment is proud to join Team Earth not as a single corporate sponsor, but as 80,000 employees working together to make a difference."
The group's first project is to lobby for forest protection at the Copenhagen climate negotiations in December. Harrah's has established employee teams at its casinos and in all corporate activities to create, promote, measure and sustain effective environmental practices.
According to Harrah's, there have been more than 100 major conservation projects across its properties, from installing energy-efficient indoor and outdoor lighting to reducing water consumption by hundreds of millions of gallons every year.
In the past six years, the company has spent us$ 60 million on energy conservation projects alone, averting more than us$ 372 million of carbon dioxide emissions annually, which is equivalent to planting 35,612 hectares of forest or eliminating 12 million passenger car miles.
"By uniting our efforts, we have significantly reduced our company's carbon footprint, dramatically improved our energy efficiency, decreased our waste stream and increased our recycling," Loveman said. "Joining together, we have made Harrah's a sustainability leader and now we are ready to do more by joining an even bigger team: Team Earth."
Harrah's is the only major casino company to join the Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Leaders and Waste Wise programs, and the only company in the industry to win an EPA Environmental Quality Award.