I’ve long admired the beauty and resourcefulness of Vancouver, ever since I first visited the city on my annual trips up to the northwest as a kid from Hawaii. I’m honored and excited to revisit the city once again in June as speaker at the 2018 Sustainable Brands conference.
In honor of the conference’s theme Redesigning the Good Life, I’m going to speak about bringing a more human quality to the work we all do to drive business objectives: It’s through a social justice-driven approach to the work I do in corporate social responsibility for Caesars Entertainment.
Underpinning a social justice approach to CSR is a clear definition of ‘equity:’ it means that we are leveling the playing field to allow each team member the same level of access to hiring, advancement, performance reviews and professional and personal development. This approach also extends to our work with suppliers and how we fund community needs – what we call community reinvestment – wherein many of our diversity and inclusion partners operate as policy and civil rights leaders advancing social justice.
Our definition of ‘equality’ assumes that the field is level and all are starting at the same place for access to jobs, rights, opportunity, advancement, and access, which, of course isn’t true. When we do use the term equality, it means that we want fairness and equal opportunity. Equality is more closely aligned with a majority male approach to efforts around diversity and inclusion – thinks like equal opportunity laws – and gay rights.
Equity and equality combined can be pretty powerful. Thus, we use both.
Last year at Caesars Entertainment, we updated our long-term CSR goals, including a five-year diversity and inclusion strategy. As everyone attending the conference knows, there are macro-issues that don’t easily fit into the pillars of a single company’s CSR strategy. To address these bigger issues that cut across all our goals, we’ve identified four priority initiatives that will help identify root solutions to drive equity: Immigration integration, a community-based workforce development blueprint, gender equity and countering human trafficking.
One example is our work in our corporate headquarters area of Southern Nevada, where we developed a master blueprint with long-term goals that will require systemic solutions to issues such as youth homelessness and trafficking. As well as the integration of healthy immigrant communities. This is a 5-10 year initiative with cities, NGOs and service providers that will require extensive alignment, resources and regulatory expectations.
I can’t wait to share this story and more at SB’18 Vancouver, this June 4-7, and, importantly, to learn how others are approaching CSR — there’s always so much to learn. Don’t miss out — Join me and 3,000 passionate individuals from across disciplines in Vancouver.
Social Impact & Inclusion Vice President, Chief Sustainability Officer
April 10, 2018