Brand Names


Four large companies share how they are working toward a more sustainable tomorrow.

Belinda Sharr

One of the main reasons executives attend conferences is to learn, and Sustainable Brands annual conference provides just the platform. The collaborative confab allows CR leaders to get insight into how organizations are achieving their sustainability goals. CR Magazine attended the event, and was able to speak with several prominent brands about their sustainability efforts at their organizations.

CR is No Game at Caesars Entertainment

Corporate responsibility is a priority—not a gamble—for Caesars Entertainment. The company strives to exceed guests’—and their own— expectations for sustainability. Gwen Migita, vice president of sustainability and corporate citizenship at Caesars, spoke with CR Magazine about sustainability in the gaming and entertainment industry, and what Caesars’ goals are for the future.

“Caesars is looking to move further into outcome-based approaches to our social responsibility; that is, to what extent does our societal impact affect our host communities relative to the average company in the region when it comes to wages, value of volunteer hour, total giving, and tax dollars,” Migita says.

Caesars has a Code of Commitment that it adheres to to ensure corporate responsibility. The company made a promise of environmental stewardship to preserve the planet for current and future generations by establishing a plan titled CodeGreen in 2007. CodeGreen is the organization-wide, multi-year strategy to identify, monitor, measure, assess, manage, and reduce material impacts on the environment.

Each property has a CodeGreen team with nine members representing different parts of the property operations and a detailed work plan and targets to achieve during the year. They track five key metric areas and create a quarterly scorecard for all properties.

Another area of importance to Caesars is community involvement. The Caesars Foundation was established in 2002 and is funded by a portion of operating income from resorts owned or operated by the company. Caesars Foundation funds charitable programs and projects of $10,000 or more, and meets non-profit giving requirements in certain operating jurisdictions. Since its inception, it has gifted more than $70 million to support its communities, the company says.

Caesars was recently recognized by Points of Light on the Civic 50, a list of that sets standard for corporate civic engagement. Caesars’ commitment to citizenship includes environmental responsibility, economic development in the communities in which it operates, an extensive Responsible Meetings program, diversity and inclusion strategies, and a long-standing employee engagement and volunteerism program.

“We are looking at how social responsibility strategies are further used as levers in our core business strategy,” Migita says. “We are moving our long-time employee engagement and customer loyalty targets to the next level with objectives in the customer environments, and how we can or will address core social issues such as human rights and hunger.”

“In 2015, our total societal impact was four times more than the average U.S. company for every $10M in revenue. We’ve looked at this social ROI or outcome-based approach now for five years, and seek to further develop this into our business strategy,” Migita says.

Driving CR forward at Ford

As Ford builds its reputation as an automobile company of the future, its commitment to sustainability is at the center of its plan. CR Magazine spoke with Mary Wroten, senior manager of supply chain sustainability, and Carrie Majeske, associate director of global sustainability integration, about how they are pushing the boundaries of industry standards for sustainable business practices across Ford’s supply chain and integrating Ford’s sustainability strategy across the company globally.

Wroten recently led the creation of the Partnership for A Cleaner Environment (PACE) program to guide Ford’s suppliers on best practices for water, energy, and carbon emissions reductions. This effort won an outstanding case study award from the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council. “We teach suppliers how to reduce their footprint, and We try to encourage them to responsibly source,” she says. “We want to achieve the same goal and drive change.”

Ford launched the Ford Smart Mobility plan in early 2015, with the goal of making progress in connectivity, mobility, and data analytics.

“We’re getting our foot in the door of future mobility—ride sharing, transportation experiments. We’re testing the waters—[we’re asking] what’s our role in this space?” Says Majeske.

A few of Ford’s other sustainability efforts include investing $4.5 billion in electrified vehicle (EV) solutions and adding 13 new Evs by 2020; using light-weight technologies to help reduce vehicle weight and improve fuel economy; and earning an ‘A’ grade for water conservation efforts from CDP.

Sustainable Snacks and Ethical Efforts at Kashi

Kashi seeks to deliver healthy food options to its customers in a sustainable way. Currently, only one percent of farmland in the United States is organic—and Kashi wants to see that number grow. The company has established a transitional program to help open doors to organic efforts to farmers by using the QAI Transitional protocol, which is a standard created to incentivize producers to transition their land from conventional growing methods to organic growing methods.

“Our goal is to make as big of an impact as we can,” says Nicole Nestojko, Kashi’s senior director of supply chain and sustainability. “It’s a call for other brands to join.”

Since Kashi sources unique ingredients for its products, like hard red wheat, brown rice flower, and flaxseeds for its bars, it can be a challenge to find sustainable suppliers. “We’re on the leading edge and it creates challenges,” Nestojko says. “So we are developing supply chains years in advance.”

Kashi ensures its packaging is sustainable as well. The cereal and snack boxes are made from recycled cardboard, and the inside liners are made of recyclable high density polyethylene.

Kashi is also a partner of Feeding America’s network of local food banks. Kashi helps provide more meals to those in need while educating others about the changing the face of hunger in United States, according to the company. It donates food product to the organization.

A Sustainable ‘Target’ Met

Each year, Target donates 5 percent of their profit to communities, so the company places a great importance on the types of products they chose for their stores. The Target Lounge at Sustainable Brands featured a section dedicated to Target’s Made to Matter line—a collaboration between Target and 20 purpose-driven brands to offer healthy selections of items that make a difference. This collection is a “great opportunity to rethink our current product catalogue,” says Jennifer Silberman, Target’s corporate social responsibility vice president.

Target is always thinking about what it can do to leverage the power of its brand to help meet sustainability goals. “We want to get our vendors thinking about how they source and manufacture products,” she says. “We have to be a part of the solution.”

As far as CR goals, the company has reached many of them. For example. Target achieved its commitment to education by donating $1 billion dollars, working with more than 120,000 schools across the nation, donating more than 8.2 million books, and renovating more than 200 libraries.

But the organization continues to strive for further sustainable efforts in water, energy, packaging, and more. In 2015, Target was one of 154 companies to sign the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. The company committed to reducing energy intensity-per-square- foot by 10 percent by 2020 for the stores against a baseline of 2010. This effort will eliminate 271,500 metric tons of GHG emissions from the stores, according to the company.

Target has also partnered with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in support of UNICEF Kid Power, featuring a child-sized fitness tracker called the Kid Power Band. Target committed $2.5 million to support Kid Power and help the Kid Power school program to reach up to 70,000 students in high-need communities across the country.

As the host of the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open Challenge—a business plan competition for mission-driven startups and entrepreneurs—Target continued to show its commitment to promoting advancements in technology and sustainability.
The competition provided an opportunity for next – generation brands to showcase their innovative solutions to today’s environmental, social, and economic challenges.

A live vote was held to pick a people’s choice winner; the winner was named Grubbly Farms— a company that makes ‘grubblies': sustainable, U. S.-made dehydrated black soldier fly larvae for chicken feed. The overall SB’16 Innovation Open winner was then chosen by a panel of judges. They awarded the honor to ReGrained, a company that repurposes “spent” beer grain, upcycled from the brewing process, to create healthy, sustainable products baked with natural and locally-sourced ingredients.


Posted August 24, 2016 in Social Responsibility