On Saturday, March 27, people and businesses around the world will turn off their lights for one hour starting at 8:30 p.m. local time as part of the fourth annual Earth Hour, which was created to encourage people to become more aware of what they can do to help the environment.
Earth Hour, organized by World Wildlife Fund, was launched in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, as a stand against climate change. This year, more than 115 countries will be participating as people look for ways to make an impact.
Here, in the last of three interviews with the people involved in creating and establishing Earth Hour, John Sintras, CEO of Starcom MediaVest Group, Australia, in Sydney, talks about the need for increasing awareness of climate change and taking action.
Ad Age: What is your company's involvement in Earth Hour?
John Sintras: Starcom Australia is proud to have been involved with the Earth Hour initiative since its creation in Sydney from 2007. As WWF International is a charity, Starcom provides services free of charge, and we leverage our media partnerships to provide Earth Hour with a communications platform for WWF Earth Hour messaging. To date Starcom Australia has generated more than $2.5 million worth of no-charge media exposure. As Earth Hour has increased its global footprint, we have increased the involvement of our network, with many of our international Starcom offices now engaged in generating Earth Hour consumer and corporate awareness.
Ad Age: Why did you get involved? Why is this important to you?
John Sintras: Starcom works collaboratively with the Leo Burnett creative agency network, so it was natural for us to have been invited to participate from the outset. Starcom saw the importance of the issue immediately and was happy to endorse and help address the issue of climate change. As a company, it's very important for our people to give back and be involved in causes that they are passionate about, and our people are very passionate about this issue in particular. We are very proud to have been part of the original team that created what is now an amazing global initiative.
Ad Age: Do you see Earth Hour having a lasting effect globally? If so, how, and how would you envision that growing?
John Sintras: Absolutely. In 2010, the Earth Hour message has evolved to "Earth Hour, Every Hour" and tells people how they can make a difference every single day as individuals and in corporate business.
Earth Hour 2010 this year will go live in over 115 countries, 57 capitals and 2,424 cities around the globe. Already we have created a groundswell of support around the world to participate in Earth Hour and send a clear message to world leaders that we need global action on climate change. The fact that WWF and Earth Hour featured as significantly as it did among the world leader congress in Copenhagen '09, says that they have recognized people's support of this need for change.
We acknowledge that Earth Hour has to go beyond symbolism. With more fundraising contributions, we need to affect change in people's daily behaviors. We want to provide an ongoing communication platform that shows people how they can lead sustainable lives, every hour and every day of the year.