Standing at water’s edge, Marina Bay Sands (MBS) annually attracted 45 million visitors who came to lodge, to gamble, to shop, to relax, to attend meetings or weddings, to eat, or simply to gawk at the facilities. But as the integrated resort had become a temple of luxury recreation, could it also become a symbol of sustainable enterprise?
MBS's management hoped so. A small team led by Kevin Teng and backed by MBS leadership as well as the resort's parent company, Las Vegas Sands Corp., had worked hard to make operations and facilities more resource-efficient. The resort had garnered a Green Mark Platinum Award and was actively tackling its waste, water, and energy systems. The convention center also became the first facility in Southeast Asia to obtain ISO 20121 Sustainable Events Management System certification.
Beyond the physical plant, MBS looked to create user experiences that would reflect a commitment to sustainability. MBS had become a leader in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry in Southeast Asia. In 2013, MBS had started offering a customizable "Green Meeting" package. From five green events in 2013, the program had grown to 142 in 2017, grossing over S$30 million in revenue. The MICE team had set a goal of 500 green meetings annually by the year 2030. Teng had a particular interest in seafood, and worked with WWF to address procurement issues in the fishing sector, starting with removing red grouper, shark fin, and bluefin tuna from all menus in the resort. An estimated 75% of all seafood consumed in Singapore was deemed irresponsibly caught. In October 2017, MBS committed to source 100% of its top-ten species, and 50% of all of its seafood - about two million pieces per year - from responsible sources by 2020.
With some success under its belt, the MBS team was looking to make its operations more sustainable. Was the resort on the right path? What projects should MBS prioritize and how should they make decisions? How should MBS market its green event packages to consumers, and how should sustainable events be priced? To what extent did the green package have to extend beyond the meeting to include other aspects of the facility? Did a focus on sustainability make sense for a luxury brand associated with gambling? More globally, how could the MBS team ensure that the work they were doing would actually positively impact the ecosystems they hoped to preserve?
Developed in partnership with National University of Singapore Business School
Published Date: 30/03/2018
Suggested Citation: Vero Bourg-Meyer, Doreen Kum, Jaan Elias, and Kosuke Uetake, "Marina Bay Sands: Sustainability Challenges and Opportunities in the Events Industry," Global Network Case 101-18, March 30, 2018
Keywords: Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Fish, Fish farm, solar panel, waste, industrial symbiosis, shark fin, restaurant, hotel, slavery, procurement, supply chain, luxury, climate change, coral triangle, certification, plastic pollution, UNCLOS, EEZ