News | March 22, 2023
The United Nations (UN) has designated March 22 as World Water Day to highlight the importance of access to fresh water and accelerate progress toward UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 for clean water and sanitation. On World Water Day 2023, the UN encourages families, schools and communities to participate in this goal by taking active steps to better manage how they use and consume water.
Water stewardship is one of Sands’ core environmental focus areas under the Planet pillar of its global corporate responsibility platform, and the company has set a 2025 target to reduce potable water use per square foot by 3% from a 2019 baseline. Sands is dedicated to preserving this critical resource by improving ongoing water use in business and resort operations, while maintaining the superior experience guests expect at its properties.
“Water is one of the resources most critical to our business,” Katarina Tesarova, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer at Sands, said. “From showers in hotel rooms and drinking fountains in offices to our 200-plus restaurants that use water to clean, cook and serve guests, water is integral to delivering service to all who enter our resorts. Water also is fundamental to our building operations, from cooling systems to landscaping.”
For World Water Day 2023, Sands is sharing its water stewardship efforts, which span three core strategies: promoting water efficiency, increasing water reuse and protecting the water ecosystems that support its communities.
PROMOTING WATER EFFICIENCY
The company aims to use low-flow water fixtures and high-efficiency equipment in as many places as possible at its resorts, such as pools, spas, fountains, hotel rooms, cooling systems, and food and beverage operations. Over the past few years, reducing the water footprint in restaurants has become a significant focus through efforts such as integrating water-efficient fixtures and appliances and pinpointing areas for better water management. As a result, Marina Bay Sands installed water-efficient dishwashers in both convention and hotel areas this past year.
Because water efficiency upgrades alone will not fully address the results needed to achieve Sands’ water reduction target, the company also is focused on driving behavior change to reap water savings. Sands has targeted process improvements through Team Member trainings and collaborative engagement with food and beverage, cleaning services and housekeeping teams.
For example, Marina Bay Sands expanded its water-smart management program to 10 food venues in 2022. The program was developed after an extensive effort to study potential processes to achieve water savings, addressing issues such as constantly running water and wasteful cleaning methods, as well as general opportunities for improvements in water-efficient practices. Using insights from the study, the water-smart management program was developed to drive behavior change by improving practices during high water use activities such as night and daytime cleaning of kitchens, along with addressing opportunities to prevent water loss using leak-detection technology.
With 36,000 global Team Members and more than 4,000 suppliers and partners, Sands’ efforts to drive behavior change through water efficiency education and engagement programs also can reverberate into communities, positively impacting water conservation and protection of local waterways.
INCREASING WATER REUSE
The company’s strategy for water reuse incorporates practices such as rainwater capture and cooling condensate water recovery when possible. Sands periodically evaluates creative ways to use nonpotable water in property water features, landscaping and cooling towers and continuously seeks out new opportunities to expand existing water-recovery systems. In 2022, Marina Bay Sands began an upgrade to its landscape irrigation system, which is scheduled for completion by the end of this year.
Many of Sands’ resorts are located near coastlines and rivers, making protection of these areas a priority for the company. One key initiative is Sands’ work with long-term partner Clean the World, a social enterprise dedicated to WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), on the Drop by Drop Project, which invests Sands’ water savings into local conservation programs via grants to environmental organizations. These investments are intended to reinvigorate local water ecosystems and support biodiversity, while engaging the community with awareness activities.
In 2022, third-year grant recipient University of Saint Joseph (USJ) Macao continued its Drop by Drop work to preserve local wetlands through community-based education and awareness activities and scientific studies of mangroves’ ability to sequester carbon and remove microplastics from freshwater and marine waterways.
USJ conducted exhibits and workshops to engage community members and assist teachers in educating students about the role mangroves play in ecological preservation. In addition, its mangrove studies focused on citizen-based research using local volunteers to collect soil and data samples for microplastic assessment and a field study utilizing smart wave sensors to understand the protection mangrove forests offer in response to severe weather events. In addition, USJ’s annual mangrove planting with Sands China Team Members established 1,000 seedlings along the coast of Taipa, Macao.
Protecting ocean biodiversity also has been a focus over the past several years, and Sands’ support for Drop by Drop grant recipient Conservation International in Singapore is one example. Through its grant from Sands, Conservation International is working to inspire future generations to protect Singapore’s marine ecosystems via a virtual learning series that educates on ocean conservation and biodiversity. In 2022, Marina Bay Sands featured Conservation International’s series at its ArtScience Museum and as part of its Sustainability Action Day, reaching nearly 800 Team Members and their families.
“We aim to make significant positive impact and take a leading role in preserving this vital natural resource and the ecosystems we share with our communities,” Tesarova said. “We continually evaluate our water stewardship strategies and practices to ensure we are making progress and adjusting our strategies to incorporate the latest practices, technologies and research.”
To read more about Sands’ water stewardship work for World Water Day 2023, please read the company’s latest report on its environmental, social and governance performance here: https://www.sands.com/resources/reports/