Did you know Earth Hour is 25th March 2017

Earth Hour is a reminder that small actions make a difference – be part of the movement. 

On 25 March at 8.30pm ‘turn-off’ and show your support for action to address climate change. 

More than 175 countries now participate in this awareness raising exercise.  Buildings from Sydney Opera House, to the Eiffel Tower and Buckingham Palace have all joined in by ‘turning off’ to show their commitment to take action on climate change.

The climate is changing , 2016 was the hottest year on record and the third consecutive record-breaking year of temperatures.  Since 2000, 16 of the 17 hottest years have been recorded, and this pattern is expected to continue.

We have all seen the effects of extreme weather events across the world – too much rain leading to flooding and not enough water contributing to crop failures and droughts.  The increasing unpredictability of weather means we must adapt to change.

For some regions, these impacts are catastrophic, a 1.5C increase in global temperature could see 291 million people become submerged when their land floods due to sea level rise.  At two degrees, parts of southwest Asia, may become uninhabitable without permanent air conditioning.

How a business  adapts will be largely dependent on the location of its operations, the stretch of its supply chain along with the needs and expectations of regulators, customers and consumers in its core markets.  So, gaining an understanding of the cost or reputational risk to businesses, if premises or suppliers were unable to operate, is a good place to start.

The challenge is prioritising the short and long term risks to business and making investments based on uncertainty.  Recent extreme weather events, such as heat waves, localised storms and flooding can help identify some areas where resilience may need to be improved.  Similarly, considering impacts along your supply chain, especially if they are very long, may be challenging but will help you consider alternatives before a disaster strikes.

How to respond?

A dual approach is a good idea.  Acting and investing to reduce energy use and moving to low carbon options helps meet binding carbon reduction targets, and save money.  Adapting to the uncertainty and unpredictability of the weather will increase your business resilience and increase reliability.

Encouragingly, positive action is being taken to reduce emissions; the Paris Agreement signed in 2015 and ratified in 2016 saw governments agree to take actions to limited global warming to an average of two degrees and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C.  The message is being picked up by businesses, and some are making commitments to source 100% renewable energy and increase their energy efficiency.

Where to begin?

  • Understanding energy use – how much energy do you use? Has it gone up since last year?  How good is your data and is it helping you target improvements?  Look at cost and consumption.
  • Where does your energy come from? Is there a reputation benefit to increase the % renewable?  Can any increased cost be offset by being more efficient?
  • Don’t forget the fuel in vehicles – that accounts for about 20% of emissions. How fuel efficient are the vehicles and the drivers?
  • Have you been flooded in the past? Have you increased your resilience?  What about your customers or suppliers?  Are you confident that they will still be functioning in extreme conditions?
  • Where are you vulnerable? What happens if transport networks or couriers are affected so goods and people cannot get to your premises?

Businesses play a big part in addressing the challenges of climate change.  They can act more quickly than governments and can lead by example and show how they are making a massive contribution to national reduction targets.  Businesses are influential, whether that’s along their supply chain or through their employees.  When businesses take the lead, others will follow.

Smart businesses around the world aren’t waiting.  Some of the most influential global companies have started making a change in the way they operate and the way they procure goods and services.  They are using renewable energy, adopting innovative low-carbon technologies, selecting their resources and materials from sustainable sources and are looking for innovative solutions to secure a sustainable, long term future.

Climate change is happening and every time we turn on a light or use another gadget we are adding to the impact.  We may think our contribution is small – but when more than 175 countries get together big things can happen.

Make your Earth Hour matter follow the WWF guidance and:

  • Sign up and send a clear message that you want action on climate change right now
  • Switch off your lights in a symbolic show of global support to protect our amazing planet
  • Bring your friends, family or community together and organise a special Earth Hour event.
  • Share your plans on our Earth Hour map
  • Fundraise for our vital work to tackle pressing threats like climate change and help us to protect our amazing planet.