For Earth Hour 2023, at 8.30pm local time on March 25, we are inviting the world to take #TimeOutForNature and join a worldwide community of millions supporting stronger action on climate change.
For business, this means asking what your company or sector can do for nature and sustainability rather than what they can do for you, and how enterprise can serve purpose and responsibility.
At WWF, we accompany partners on a transformative journey — from mapping environmental risks and opportunities, through developing joint initiatives, to catalysing sector-wide change and restoring life on Earth.
Here are six ways your business can take the journey toward sustainability.
1. Be a conscious consumer
Whether you’re buying for your business or yourself, it’s important to know where your products and services come from. For instance, ask yourself, is your business buying ethical and environmentally sourced products?
You don’t have to do everything at once. Start by identifying priorities; establish where there may be a risk within your supply chain of for example, illegally sourced timber, unsustainable seafood, or human rights abuses, and progressively take steps to improve your purchasing patterns. Where possible look for products and services that have been independently certified and work with your suppliers to get them to also shift their policies and practices.
Remember to be honest about your achievements and share with others your journey so people can learn from your experience.
2. Use less energy
It makes good economic sense to reduce your energy consumption to save money. It’s also important given that our main source of energy production in Australia comes from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, which is contributing to climate change.
To avoid dangerous climate change, science is telling us we need to keep additional warming of the planet to no more than 2 degrees celsius. Setting science-based targets for your business that are within a 2 degrees celsius economy are ambitious but achievable. This will mean decarbonisation of the global energy sector by mid-century. As a start making sure our buildings, machinery and appliances are as energy efficient as possible, and then over time, plan to convert buildings and precincts to be “carbon positive” (where buildings are net producers of energy and water) and clever precinct developments, along with technological advances in energy production and materials.
3. Join the renewable energy revolution
Once businesses have looked at reducing their energy footprint, another opportunity is to investigate using renewable energy as a core element of the businesses’ energy and sustainability strategy.
Businesses are actively and successfully adding renewable energy to their own facilities and entering into contracts to buy or invest in offsite renewable energy. While there are still challenges regarding the development of cost-effective projects on favourable terms, exponential leaps taking place in renewable energy technologies will mean that, together, businesses can join the two million households that have already installed renewable energy on their rooftops.
4. Use less, recycle, reuse, share
Making better choices about the things we buy and use as well as reducing water consumption, consuming less and reducing waste will save resources as well as money. Up to 40 per cent of waste that ends up in landfill is building waste. By setting a target of Zero Waste, we can find ways to change our habits, and reuse and repurpose the items that we currently dispose of. The sharing and collaborative economy is here to stay and businesses need to understand how to jump on the opportunities it presents.
As a start remove individual waste bins and introduce recycling facilities. Promote car share programs, invest in bike and shower facilities for staff and convert the company car fleet to electric and hybrid-electric cars.
5. Redirect financial flows
Smart investment choices now can help us create healthy, sustainable workplaces and cities and protect our biodiversity, which can improve the quality of our lives and reduce our environmental footprint. Let’s make sure our investment and superannuation dollars are going to create the future we want.
6. Join the conversation
There’s no better place to start a conversation than over a meal – ideally a candle-lit one during Earth Hour! Talking to work colleagues, and inviting friends and family over to talk about how we can all be a part of the solution and what we can do to reduce our footprint is really powerful. Don't forget to register your business' support. Take #TimeOutForNature by pledging your support for Earth Hour this year and nominating other businesses or business leaders to get involved and make the commitment.