From the tiny Cook Islands to the Las Vegas strip, hotels and resorts across the world, big and small alike are challenging one another to take their participation in Earth Hour, the world's largest mass participation event up a notch.
Earth Hour 2013 will take place on Saturday, March 23 at 8:30PM.
This year, the hotel industry is paving the way to a sustainable future with environmental actions that go beyond the hour.
All the way in the tiny Cook Islands where they are on the brink of climate change and rising sea levels, hotels are implementing their own Earth Hour initiatives to join the global movement and work towards a sustainable future for our planet.
"The impacts of a changing planet can be seen in many places around the world, especially here in the Cook Islands. As we are directly affected by climate change, due to the threat of rising sea levels, we are putting our home at risk of being lost forever. We're urging other hotels around the world to join hands with us this Earth Hour, and to take their sustainability initiatives beyond the hour. Their impacts will not only be felt in their own cities, but even as far as here in the Cook Islands," said Greg Stanaway, CEO of Pacific Resort Hotel Group in the Cook Islands.
In Macao (below image), a total of 13 hotels are extending their Earth Hour lights-off from once a year to every month in 2013. Conrad Macao started the ball rolling when it made a bold decision to switch off its exterior facade and non-essential indoor lighting on the first Tuesday of every month. They then proposed a friendly challenge to any 10 hotels in Macao to join their Earth Hour Every Month, and said they'd go dark twice a month for 2013 if they reached their goal. By March, a total of 13 hotels in Macao had accepted the hotel's 'I Will If You Will' challenge.
Hotels outside of Macao have also been inspired by the initiative, with Singapore's Marina Bay Sands, one of the key landmarks in the country, and South Africa's Cape Grace Hotel accepting Conrad Macao's challenge to go lights off once a month.
Marina Bay Sands has also issued their own 'I Will If You Will' challenge in line with WWF Singapore's Earth Hour campaign One Degree Up, which aims to encourage individuals and buildings to take a simple action of setting their air conditioners at 24 degrees to achieve a big impact beyond the hour.
Air conditioning accounts for 60% of the energy use of buildings in the country. Marina Bay Sands promises to raise our air conditioner by 1C for one day every month if their top 20 vendors raise their air con by 1C during Earth Hour.
Earth Hour's 'I Will If You Will,' is a challenge-based platform that encourages people to make a difference in the world by offering them something in return.
It aims to inspire individuals, communities, businesses, celebrities and government agencies to create their own challenges to protect the planet, resulting in a positive chain reaction, galvanizing more to take urgent action to protect the environment.
In addition to lights off, many hotels are organising community clean-ups, energy-saving competitions, poster contests and going organic with their menus.
New World Hotels, which has deluxe properties in Dalian, Shanghai, Wuhan, Ho Chi Minh City and Manila will also be taking part in Earth Hour and has gone beyond the hour with energy saving measures which resulted in an 11 percent total energy reduction over the last two years. They have set a goal to further reduce the total consumption by another three percent in 2013.
"From a small hotel in the Cook Islands, to the whole Vegas strip, local businesses, governments, and the local community are part of Earth Hour. We challenge every participant of Earth Hour to go beyond the hour. We've shown our collective concern for the future of the planet through lights off, now it's time to take it further. The need has never been greater," said Andy Ridley, CEO and Co-Founder of Earth Hour.
Hotels have consistently been a big supporter of Earth Hour through the years, right since the beginning. The original idea of getting individuals and businesses to switch their lights off for one hour was conceived in the Hilton Hotel in Sydney back in May of 2006. CEO and Co-Founder of Earth Hour, Andy Ridley explains further. "We were at a brainstorming lunch at the Hilton Hotel in May 2006 when the idea of turning the lights off came up and we just thought, 'Bingo!," he said.
Earth Hour 2013 is also supported by the Four Seasons, the Mandarin Oriental, Hilton Hotels Worldwide, Fairmont Hotels, Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriot and many more around the world.
For more information on how hotels can support Earth Hour, please go HERE
Earth Hour 2013 will take place at 8.30pm to 9.30pm on Saturday 23 March