The Sydney Opera House is one of Australia’s most iconic tourist destinations - a world-class performing arts centre and an important place for the community to come together to celebrate.

This 30 March at 8:30pm the Sydney Opera House will be switching off for the 12th consecutive year. As an important local and international landmark, this symbolic move sends a powerful message that positive action to protect our planet is everyone’s responsibility.

Emma Bombonato, Manager of Environmental Sustainability at the Sydney Opera House, explains why it’s important for organisations to lead by example and demonstrate a greater commitment to sustainability this Earth Hour.

WWF: Emma, tell us why is the Opera House switching off in support of Earth Hour?
Emma:
Sustainability is part of our DNA, from our pioneering sea water cooling system, our Drama Theatre’s chilled ceiling design, to the self-cleaning tiles on our sails.

As the symbol of modern Australia, the Sydney Opera House has an important responsibility to lead by example. Environmental and social sustainability is a big priority for us, and switching off for Earth Hour allows us to send a powerful message globally that the need to protect our environment deserves attention.

WWF: What role do businesses have in protecting the planet?
Emma:
A sustainable future is everybody’s responsibility and involves everyone’s contribution. It’s really important for businesses and organisations like the Opera House to lead the way and demonstrate that, for the future of our environment, we must all act.

WWF: What has the Opera House achieved in sustainability so far?
Emma:
Just last year we achieved certified carbon neutral status for the first time, including reducing our energy consumption by over 14% in the last couple of years and recovering over 60% of our waste from landfill. We are one of the only heritage buildings globally to achieve a four-star Green Star performance rated building, and look for every opportunity to engage our community in sustainability from maintenance of the building to the art and thought-provoking ideas we present on our stages.

WWF: What’s next for the Opera House in terms of sustainability?
Emma:
We’re working towards ambitious sustainability goals ahead of our 50th anniversary in 2023, including maintaining our certified carbon neutral status and achieving a five-star Green Star performance rating. Our new environmental sustainability plan will be released later in the year, including exciting new sustainability projects - watch this space!

WWF: What are your tips for businesses new to Earth Hour who are trying to reduce their footprint?
Emma:
Earth Hour provides a great opportunity to demonstrate leadership and commitment to the environment. Raising awareness for Earth Hour within an organisation involves sending the message that sustainable behaviour is about leadership. Embracing initiatives like bringing KeepCups, reducing single use plastics such as straws, turning out your lights and turning off your computer at the end of the day are ways we can all contribute and ensure a commitment to sustainability is embedded in an organisation's culture.

Join the Sydney Opera House and thousands of organisations globally who want stronger action on climate change. Get your organisation to pledge their support this Earth Hour.

Register here.

 

 

In photos:
Koalas with nowhere to go

Koala carer Clare, from Return to the Wild Inc, has been looking after koalas for decades. Check out some of the photos she has taken during her time in-the-field.

 

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Koala taking refuge on suburban fence, southeast Queensland © Clare Gover, Return to the Wild Inc. / WWF-Aus