Amanda Visser

24 July 2013 — Casino owner Echo Entertainment Group, which also owns Sydney’s Star, plans to ramp up its sustainability program with the appointment of Amanda Visser (née Piper).

The group operates four hotel and casino complexes, The Star in Sydney, Jupiters Hotel & Casino on the Gold Coast, Treasury Casino & Hotel in Brisbane and Jupiters Townsville.

Ms Visser made the move from the DEXUS Property Group and has nine years’ experience in environmental management, sustainability strategy and engagement programs working across the public and private sectors in Australia and the UK.

The Fifth Estate caught up with her last week, six weeks into the new position, for a chat about all things entertainment, gaming and sustainability.

TFE: What led you into sustainability?

Amanda Visser: It is a fantastic industry to be a part of with leading thinkers, global innovation and colleagues with diverse backgrounds, skill-sets and experience. The fusion of business growth with environmental and social impact management is the reason I am passionate about this industry.

The idea that commercial solutions can work symbiotically with positive environmental and social outcomes makes sense to me. The challenge is always finding the best solution for the business need and ensuring that sustainability and environmental solutions carry through to engage our staff, our external stakeholders and deliver our reporting and compliance requirements.

Star Casino

What have been your main goals in your career to date?

There have been many. Working across a number of industries ensures exposure into new technologies, strategies and new ways of doing things. Echo Entertainment is the perfect place for me to be taking the next step in my career.

Why did you join Echo Entertainment?

Many reasons most definitely. The Star is a premier entertainment venue here in Sydney with diverse business lines, each with their own opportunities and challenges to drive sustainability performance.

The business has mandated sustainability at board level therefore we have a green light to move even further into this space.  Not to mention the group’s values being based on “fun, fresh, friendly, fast and focused” which are all easy to identify with.

What do you hope to bring to Echo?

We have some fantastic programs in the pipeline concentrating on our suppliers, energy and water efficiency, demand reduction, increasing recycling and staff engagement. It has been evident to me since joining the team that we already progressing well in this space.

My focus will be to ensure we set strategies and objectives for continuous improvement and communicate this to our staff and guests. My future vision is for all staff working for Echo to consider sustainability performance as part of their role and to see us embedding sustainability as part of our intrinsic decision making process.

This financial year we are focused on establishing comprehensive reporting systems across the group to make this happen. We are also looking to develop our relationships further in social and community space with the charities we support.

What projects will you be working on?

Many of them. We have excellent localised teams with communication channels in place to ensure strategic oversight, on the ground assistance and program delivery across the group.

Across our portfolio, Jupiters in Townsville, Jupiters on the Gold Coast and Treasury Hotel and Casino in Brisbane, we have different buildings with varied facilities and services therefore we take a range of approaches to deliver our group environmental goals. Echo has been driving energy performance at each our venues nationally for many years.

The group has been bold in trialling new technologies and investigating solutions to deliver sustainable outcomes behind the scenes. I will be working further with the teams to deliver our group wide objectives and targets.

What are the sustainability drivers for Echo Entertainment?

The mission of our environment and sustainability program is to identify, recommend and implement strategic projects and programs that deliver continuous improvement in sustainability and environmental performance. Our primary focus is to deliver a world class guest experience across our hotels, dining, nightlife and gaming.  We aim to continue to do this with an integrated sustainability lens.

We are committed to continuous improvement and lasting business change across all our entertainment venues. The way I see us achieving that is to continue to assess opportunities on their merit across our portfolio, ensuring our projects and programs create efficiencies and ensure we utilise new fit for purpose technologies that enhance the overall experience of our guests. We also want to inspire our employees to embrace sustainability at work and at home through our program.

Conrad Treasury Casino

Is it hard to marry up casinos with sustainability?

We operate three of our four venues 24 hours, with that comes its challenges. A heritage building in Brisbane also comes with its challenges from a maintenance and operational point of view.

We have identified that we have significant opportunity at our entertainment venues to drive sustainability from a resource consumption standpoint through retrofitting old plant and controls, through the sustainable design of new developments, through our staff behaviour and especially through our supply chain. A key focus in our upcoming program is to partner with our suppliers to continuous improve the sustainability credentials of the products and services we source.