March 26, 2011

Celebrate Earth Hour Tonight

As Earth Hour approaches, businesses are challenged to go a step further

The Earth Hour 2011 lights-off day is is here, and the organization has called on businesses and organizations to commit to lasting action for the planet when the lights come back on.

A record 131 countries and territories are registered to take part in Earth Hour tonight at 8:30 local time, and many global organizations will join the hundreds of millions that are expected to take part.

"It is only through the collective action of business, organizations, individuals, communities and governments that we will be able to affect change on the scale required to address the environmental challenges we face," said Andy Ridley, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Earth Hour.

"We are calling on businesses and organizations to use the annual lights-out event as the time to show their commitment to lasting action for the planet, beyond the hour," Ridley said.

Industry leaders from the tourism, finance, media, food and beverage, telecommunications, real estate, and online sectors are committing to participate in Earth Hour.

Earth Hour 2011 has garnered support from global companies and organizations as diverse as Nokia, FIFA, the International Olympic Committee, Canon, Coca Cola, IKEA, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Hostel World and CB Richard Ellis.

This year Earth Hour launches an online platform that aims to inspire and showcase positive actions the global community will take for the planet throughout the year.

The platform allows businesses, governments and individuals all over the world to commit to an ongoing environmental action and share it to inspire others.

"We have developed this platform for people, organizations and companies around the world to show what can be done, by showcasing and sharing their actions throughout the year," Ridley said in a press release.

Leading Chinese Internet company Baidu pledged to reduce office resource consumption, including paper, water and electricity, by 30 percent from 2010 levels.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, which includes hotel chains Westin, Sheraton and Le Meridien, will focus on broader sustainability efforts.  Last year the company set targets to reduce energy and water consumption across all of their owned, managed and franchised properties by 2020.

"This year's theme emphasizes what we all need to do once the lights come back on," said Sandy Swider, Vice President of Global Citizenship, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

"It was inspiring to see how passionately our associates and guests all over the world embraced the spirit of Earth Hour last year, and they made a powerful statement about how each of us can make a difference."


On the Net: