10.04.2013 in Green by admin 0

Lights Out – Expo leads the way in observing Earth Hour

On the 23rd of March 2013, citizens in more than 130 countries turned off all unnecessary lights for one hour. Landmarks around the world such as the Sydney Opera House, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Eiffel Tower and the London City Hall went dark from 8.30pm to 9.30pm. Uganda made a pledge to plant 250,000 trees in order to combat deforestation. Botswana promised to plant more than a million trees. Jessica Alba, Nelson Mandela, Miranda Kerr, Sachin Tendulkar and other celebrities publicly voiced their support for these initiatives. It was Earth Hour 2013 where people around the world joined hands to raise awareness about the need to take action on climate change.

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The ‘green concept’ of doing business has been inherent in Expolanka’s world since the beginning; and for the past few years Expolanka has taken the lead in promoting the Earth Hour initiative in Sri Lanka. In 2010, employees of the 18 companies of Expolanka Holdings Group came together for the first time to join millions around the world to observe Earth Hour. Our ‘Green Team’, which was appointed and mandated to raise awareness on environmental issues and practices, took the lead. The interest and enthusiasm of our team persuaded the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to recommend their appointment as country coordinators for Sri Lanka in the absence of a WWF office. The team lobbied and won the support of the government and the subsequent programme of action saw people and establishments all over Sri Lanka ‘switching off lights’ for an hour.

In 2012, Expolanka hosted an awareness campaign to educate students about Earth Hour and climate change; students from more than 20 schools participated in this programme. Educational materials on the importance of Earth Hour were displayed in classrooms while questionnaires to measure the level of understanding of global warming were distributed. Expolanka also brought down 25 undergraduates from different parts of the world to conduct an energy audit with a view to reducing overall energy consumption. The company also launched a challenge to people requesting them to do something for the environment: simple acts such as planting a tree, recycling plastic bottles and refraining from using plastic bags etc.

This year Expolanka embarked on its largest Earth Hour initiative to date.  Expolanka began its campaign by launching a Facebook application of ‘I Will if You Will,’ a challenge to people requesting them to ‘Go beyond the Hour’ and do something for the environment. Participants were aplenty and the commitment seen on the Facebook promotion was indeed a success. Partakers were selected and provided with exclusive Earth Hour merchandise such as t-shirts and three lucky entrants walked away with Rs. 10,000.

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On Saturday 23rd March Expolanka launched an event at its premises where Expolankians joined hands to celebrate earth hour and fight climate change. The event was graced with the screening of ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ an award-winning documentary directed by Davis Guggenheim about former United States Vice President Al Gore’s campaign to educate people about global warming. The motion picture was followed by a pledge, where employees of Expolanka were seen taking to a 60+ Earth Hour board to put down their signatures and marking their support towards fighting global warming.

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From Samoa on one side of the International Date Line that bisects the Pacific Ocean to the Cook Islands on the other side, hundreds of millions of people turned off their lights for the seventh annual Earth Hour on the 23rd of March, 2013. They demonstrated that they are determined to create a sustainable future for planet Earth.  Head of Marketing, Corporate Communications and CSR of Expolanka Holdings Paddy Weerasekera commented on Expolanka’s involvement in this gigantic universal project,

“Every year we continue to make a statement to support this global cause. I would like to say that our support to saving Mother Earth is an ongoing promise. Expolanka has been in the forefront of environment protection and we were one of the first Sri Lankan corporates to be associated with Earth Hour. We will continue to build awareness and lead by action as a responsible corporate citizen”.

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