Earth Hour: What Can Businesses Do?

Earth Hour, which takes place in March, began as a lights out event in 2007, has grown to become an international movement encouraging individuals and businesses alike to spark conversation and 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.

Start Simple: Plan to turn off or dim the lights at your business (or home) for just an hour for Earth Hour.

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.
  • If you can’t turn off lights, dim them. Major retail chains like Walmart have even dimmed lighting in their stores in the past.
  • Turn off marquee/external building lights. In the past, the city of Las Vegas has dimmed their iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, and Coca-Cola has darkened its signs in New York’s Times Square, London’s Piccadilly Circus and Sydney’s Kings Cross.

Expand your efforts:

  • Go beyond the hour. Perhaps plan to switch off or dim for an hour a day for a week, a month, or even year round.
  • 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.  


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 email to invite staff, tenants and colleagues to join in to mark the hour in their own way, and to share their efforts on social media. Talking about Earth Hour is a start.

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

Learn more:

Great Forest Wins Daylight Hour Award, Announces Daylight Fridays

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