1 Million Steps to a Greener World
Use a programmable thermostat. Actually read your water bill. Keep plants in your work station. Visit a farmers market in your area.
Employees at MGM Resorts International have been taking these actions while using a helpful online tool to track the impact they’re having on the environment. The program is called MY Green Advantage. A social media-style platform that focuses entirely on being green, it was launched to MGM Resorts’ employees in late 2013. Employees make profiles, upload pictures, and complete “projects” and “actions” that relate to sustainability. Each task earns employees points and virtual badges along the way. Participants can even invite other friends to join in and comment on their activity.
Recently, employees logged 1 million actions completed, a major milestone in the company’s efforts to help make our earth a better place to live.
“We are thrilled the site has made this kind of impact on the Company and the community,” said Sustainability Manager Regina Stepanov. “The Company set a goal of 15 percent participation and all properties have exceeded that goal. Almost half of the corporate team members are signed up. The dedication employees have to the program is why we hit this number as fast as we have.”
The 1 million-action milestone is a culmination of thousands of users engaging in thousands of different acts, large and small, to help the environment. The top five actions that helped push the tally over the mark were: turning off lights (completed 11,325 times); turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth (9,449 times); washing a full load of laundry (8,361 times); closing the shades to save energy (7,923 times) and using that reusable cup or mug (7,893 times).
Sounds simple enough, right? Many of the most popular actions on the website are small, habit-forming acts that can have a big cumulative impact on the environment. Not leaving the faucet on while brushing your teeth is a good example. A standard faucet can use about 2 to 3 gallons of water per minute, so it saves considerable water to shut it off as you do your thing. According the website, turning off the tap saves up to 20 to 30 gallons of water per person per week.
“Some easy things that people are already doing that are green and point-worthy are actions such as taking notes on scrap paper, refilling their water glasses, running the dishwasher only when full and turning off the faucet when you wash your hands,” said Ms. Stepanov.
MY Green Advantage is not slowing down anytime soon, either. New actions and projects are always being added to the site, like the paperless W-2 opt-in project. Ms. Stepanov said that the Sustainability team regularly fields requests from employees and departments across the Company to create specific projects.
“I believe that users are finding relevant content that speaks to them, and from that the program keeps growing organically,” she said. “One of the driving forces is the customizable aspect that allows us to identify areas to educate employees on. It really has become an employee-owned initiative.”
Functionality of the site is a big focus for the team.They are constantly looking at ways to make the site more user-friendly. Users will also find new and creative content, many more projects and badges, and ways to connect with each other. And of course a little friendly competition never hurts.
“There’s always a level of competition with any points-based program,” said Ms. Stepanov. “Properties are now starting to inquire about creating their own new and creative content, as well as an incentive program, that’s relevant to them.”