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Earth Day 2015: Another hour of unity from brands that demonstrate sustainability all-year

At 8.30pm local time on March 28, lights and electronics were switched off across the globe as part of Earth Hour 2015.

The first Earth Hour was held in 2007 in Sydney, Australia. It is now a global phenomenon, and an open declaration of the global desire to reverse the impact of climate change. Participants switch off electricity to show that they care about the planet, with their efforts echoed by the darkening of famous landmarks such as New York’s Empire State Building, and Big Ben and Buckingham Palace in London.

EH-logos-2Earth Hour is organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), one of the largest and most respected conservation groups in the world. This year’s event was the largest to date, with hundreds of millions of individuals taking part, spanning 24 time zones, six continents and 172 countries. And it’s not just individuals that take part. Each year more companies, associations and government bodies join in to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.

Here at The Refinishing Touch we work with a client base that includes more than 22,000 organizations in hospitality, education and government, so we often see first-hand that organizations certainly do want to commit to sustainable business practices. No good business manager or owner wants to intentionally damage our planet; they want to help inspire positive change.

As expected, this year’s Earth Hour included activities by a number of brands and businesses that we are proud to work with:

  • Wyndham Worldwide, which has won a number of awards and accolades for its commitment to sustainability, participated for the sixth year in a row. Lights were turned off or dimmed, and a number of hotels planned Earth Hour events including many holding candlelit dinners
  • Hilton Worldwide joined in for its fifth Earth Hour, allowing its 12 brands and 4,300-plus properties to get creative. As well as switching off or dimming lights and neon signs, it also held candlelit dinners with low carbon menus, sustainable cocktails, and even organized candle-making for guests
  • Marriott International participated by switching off lights and by publicizing its commitment to reduce energy and water use by 20 percent by 2020. Marriott’s Ritz-Carlton brand also held a series of fun events including candlelit stories, beach barbeques and star-lit meditation

Events like Earth Hour must be applauded for helping to encourage individuals and brands to recognize environmental change. And yet we are also proud to witness the day-to-day commitment of hotels brands such as Hilton, Marriott and Wyndham as they embrace long-term environmental practices such as furniture asset management. After all, there’s little point in any brand switching off the lights for an hour if they continue to buy lower quality, throw-away furniture destined for landfill, unnecessarily multiplying their carbon footprints by a hundred-fold. Sustainable practices pay more respect to the trees that have been cut down to make the furniture we all use day-to-day.

So we look forward to the next Earth Day on March 19, 2016. But for the 51 weeks in between, we will continue to urge all businesses to embed sustainability in day-to-day best practices.

For further information about how to plan and manage your furniture assets, please contact our team at marketing@therefinishingtouch.com.

Wyndham Worldwide supports Earth Hour

As we mentioned at the beginning of the month, this year marks the 42nd annual Earth Day celebration, and while millions around the world will celebrate in different ways—from committing to recycling to agreeing to compost for a year—millions have already participated in Earth Hour as a prelude. One hour where everyone agreed to stop using electricity and “switch off”.

Observed on March 31, hundreds of millions of people and organizations turned off their lights, recognizing the thought and care that should go into using our precious resources. As a sustainable refinishing company that works with universities, hotels and government agencies across the country, we were interested in learning which organizations participated in Earth Hour.

One of the most notable was Wyndham Worldwide—parent company to hotels such as Planet Hollywood and Ramada—which announced its participation in Earth Hour by saying it would participate and “demonstrate their commitment to environmentally sustainable action.

As a hotel organization known for its leadership in sustainable practices and with our first-hand experience with Wyndham Worldwide’s commitment to sustainability, it comes as little surprise that its energy goals are so substantial. The hospitality company is on track to reduce overall emissions by 12 percent be 2016 and 20 percent by 2020.

We are very happy to see such a large hotel organization be so open and forthcoming about its goal for sustainability. This type of transparency will only encourage other hotel organizations, large and small, to commit to sustainable practices, so we can all work together to help preserve our environment.

For more information on Wyndham Worldwide’s sustainable practices and initiatives, visit Wyndham Green.

For a touching overview of this year’s Earth Hour, watch the video below:

What goes on when the lights go out: Earth Hour visualized

We celebrated Earth Hour by going dark and hope you did as well. This month we’ll be taking a good look at the way various part of our country go green and will be speaking with those who make it happen. But for now we’re taking a look back at the unofficial Earth Day countdown kick-off known as Earth Hour. Here are some of our favorite images from around the world.

Earth Hour candles in Argentina

A firedancer during Earth Hour in Cancun

Dubai went dark during Earth Hour

The Eiffel Tower during Earth Hour

Earth Hour in the United Arab Emirates

The Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent, United Kingdom

All images courtesy the Earth Hour Flickr page

Earth Hour was a total success with over 134 countries participating and an untold amount of business/city/state participation. We’re excited to take this momentum into the month of April and through Earth Day. Be sure to follow us @refinishtouch for updates and insights as we move through the month.

Join The Refinishing Touch and millions of others for Earth Hour

In 2007, citizens and businesses in Sydney, Australia turned their lights off for one hour in support of energy conservation and awareness as a small part in the fight for global climate change. Over the next three years, this simple act would become an event of worldwide fame and importance with over 128 countries and territories participating. Earth Hour, which has become a flagship event in the green movement, is a call to each and every one of us as global citizens to do our part by shutting off our lights for just 60 minutes as a show of support for this shared cause.

Taking place tomorrow, March 26th, at 8:30 pm local time, Earth Hour is expected to see a larger participation rate than ever before. Through the incredibly simple but effective act of going dark for a short while, we expect to see the message of change being embraced across the world. Globally recognized monuments like the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building and even the Las Vegas Strip will be switching off non-essential lighting in a show of support. Of course, you can count on everyone here at The Refinishing Touch to participate as well!

Further to the message of Earth Hour, the program ‘Beyond the Hour’ has been developed to provide inspiration for others to commit to long term changes that not only better the environment, but our everyday lives. The message here is clear. The green movement isn’t just about the environment anymore, but the world we leave behind for generations to come. We’ve taken action to get involved on the Beyond the Hour site.  Check it out here: http://www.beyondthehour.org/#/Act/83820/

Will you be observing Earth Hour this weekend? Leave us a comment and let us know! We hope you join us this Saturday as we ‘go dark’ to support positive global change.