Sustainability 101

Earth Hour: What Can Businesses Do?

Earth Hour 2019 is on 30 March 2019, 8:30 pm.

Earth Hour, which began as a lights out event in 2007, has grown to become an international movement encouraging individuals and businesses alike to raise the conversation and spark action about ways to protect the planet, with events planned in hundreds of countries. 

Over the years, many businesses have moved beyond just turning out the lights for one hour to make longer-lasting changes that have turned out to be good decisions in terms of reputation, money saved, and happier employees.

So what are you waiting for? Here are some ways your business can mark Earth hour. Check out the Earth Hour toolkit for businesses for more tips.

Start Simple: Plan to turn off or dim the lights at your business (or home) for just an hour on Saturday, March 30, at 8:30 p.m.

You can make an impact in just one hour. And large corporations or businesses with multiple locations can make an even bigger impact. Check your energy bill. You might be surprised. Molson Coors Canada reported in 2009 that their Earth Hour efforts saved 1,595 kilowatt hours of energy–enough to power a house for a month! Your participation can take many forms:

  • Turn off non-essential lighting.
  • Turn off marquee/external building lights. This year, the city of Las Vegas will be dimming its iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. At least 22 other properties in Vegas will be participating in Earth Hour. In the past, Coca-Cola has darkened its signs in New York’s Times Square, London’s Piccadilly Circus and Sydney’s Kings Cross.
  • Dim the lights. If you can’t switch off your lights, then consider dimming them in common areas. Major retail chains like Walmart have even dimmed lighting in their stores in the past.

Expand your efforts:

  • Go beyond the hour. Perhaps plan to switch off an hour a day for a week, or even a month! Or consider going dark for the entire evening.
  • You can also consider switching off more than just lights–let your computers and mobile phones go dark, turn off TV screens, lower the air conditioning or heating, run fewer elevators/escalators, and so on.
  • Or you can raise awareness about other ways to be more sustainable, such as encouraging staff to ride their bicycles to work or take public transportation; to bring their own reusable mugs to cut down on wasteful bottled water and takeaway coffee cups that are difficult to recycle; or perhaps you can institute a “straws on request” policy if you run a restaurant or cafe — that is a quick way to cut down on single-use plastic straws.  

Educate/Inform:

Don’t forget to spread the word about your Earth Hour efforts. Let your staff, tenants, clients, vendors and colleagues know what you are planning so that they can participate, and help support your efforts, and maybe even be start their own campaigns. Raising awareness is how the a movement spreads and makes a difference. 

Think It’s too Late to Plan Something?

Think again. Marking Earth Hour could be a simple as sending an educational email about the movement to staff, tenants and colleagues telling them about your businesses’ year-round sustainability achievements or goals. Or you can simply share your #Connect2Earth Earth Hour stories on social media. Talking about Earth Hour is a start.

And if you miss Earth Hour this year, there’s always Earth Day to look forward to in April. Start planning now.

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