Jason Ni | Plastic-free is ultimate goal: Wynn Research Director

Work on reducing the use of disposable plastic is in progress at Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace, alongside work in other aspects to promote environmental protection, as noted by Dr Jason Ni, executive director for research, planning and strategy.

Ni took the role of moderator at a forum held over the weekend to discuss corporate social responsibility management. As discussed at the forum, environmental protection is part and parcel of corporate social responsibility.

Ni’s employer, Wynn Resorts (Macau) S.A., operates a corporate social responsibility program, called the Wynn Care Program. It has a wide coverage, from charitable undertakings to initiatives intended to reinvigorate and nurture the environment.

“Wynn Care has seven pillars, including higher education, helping local SMEs, [and the] conventional definition of sustainability, which is more environmentally focused,” explained Ni. Many people associate corporate social responsibility initiatives with donations and charitable events, but the forum on Sunday focused quite heavily on environmental efforts.

“As for real programs, we’ve achieved a breakthrough as we’ve gone beyond charity donations and into more practical programs which fulfil the policy direction of the government,” said Ni. “For example, we’ve reduced the use of plastic.”

Ni said Wynn has expanded efforts to spread the word to other small and medium-sized enterprises. “We not only did it for ourselves, but also [to] distribute this spirit [by means] such as offering paper straws to local restaurants for free,” added Ni.

The resort operator has turned to paper straws instead of plastic ones. It did not stop at this, however, for it has started to provide reusable metal straws at their restaurants.

“In our restaurants, we’ve changed to drinking water supplied from a water fountain. We’ve also started using reusable [metal] straws [for dine-in customers],” said Ni.

“Going entirely plastic free is one of our goals. I would say it’s not [going to be] easy, but from an academic perspective, the most important thing is to find a substitute. It should be biodegradable: it can be paper or other materials. We’ve been looking into different options,” the executive added.

As for the eco-friendly three-step initiative of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” Ni discussed the efforts the company has taken. “Wynn has started initiatives to reduce food waste. We encourage our team members to avoid over-scooping food from the buffet line [during team dining].”

The executive considers this a good step: “At the corporate level, this is beneficial as well, because at the end of the day, such waste is sent to the incinerator, which involves extra costs. Therefore, we’re trying to [consolidate] and categorize this waste so as to facilitate a feasible post-process.”

In its annual report, the company has been taking into account the Sustainable Development Goals guidelines issued by the UN.

In other aspects, there is a six-month program over the course of which Wynn works with the Macau Institute of Engineers. It also works with the University of Macau in smart city development, which has a more technological focus.

Originally from Taiwan, Ni joined Wynn Resorts (Macau) S.A.’s two properties on the Macau Peninsula and Cotai in September 2018 as the Executive Director for Research, Planning and Strategy. Before joining the company, he was assistant professor at the City University of Hong Kong. He has been involved in various research and consultancy projects in transportation and tourism planning in Macau. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of California at Davis in the United States.

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