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Some lights turned off during Earth Hour at a Tesco Qibao Store in Shanghai. Provided to China Daily
Hundreds of iconic buildings plunged into darkness for 1hr
On March 23 more than 150 countries across the world switched off their lights for an hour to show their support to create a sustainable planet.
Spotlights on iconic buildings around the world, including the tower that houses the Big Ben bell in London, Paris' Eiffel Tower, Sydney's Opera House, Taipei 101 and the Bird's Nest in Beijing were turned off, leaving them in darkness.
It was not just cities across the globe that joined the move. Multinational companies did the same to show their efforts to green the planet.
The UK's Tesco Plc China division took part in the Earth Hour activity for the fifth consecutive year. This year the company turned off one-third of the lighting in all its 116 hypermarkets, one Extra store and 14 on-trial Express stores in China from 20:30 to 21:30.
Tesco China has been actively advocating a resolution to carry out low-carbon and climate change actions since first taking part in the campaign in 2009. The British retail giant said it will hold various "green" theme community activities at more than 100 stores this year, including visiting energy-saving stores and "green" logistic centers and riding bicycles in order to bring energy-saving concepts to more communities. The company suggests people make their own contributions in small but cumulative steps.
Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change.
The following year, Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating.
This year 7,001 cities took part, calling on governments, organizations and individuals to make a commitment to tackling climate change.
"Energy-saving is an important part of Tesco Group's global development strategy. It has an ambitious goal of becoming a zero-carbon company by 2050. Therefore, in China, we'll keep making an effort with low carbon and energy saving to further promote the sustainable development of the Chinese retail industry," said Haiqing Lu, senior vice-president of Tesco China. "At the same time, we'll call on our customers to join us as well. We believe that with the efforts of all we will tackle climate change. "
Founded in 1919, Tesco is the world's third largest retailer by sales, after Wal-Mart Stores Inc in the US and France's Carrefour SA. Tesco has more than 6,600 stores in 13 countries, with more than 500,000 employees worldwide.
In 2004, Tesco entered China by operating hypermarkets under the Legou brand which means "happy shopping" in English. In addition, Tesco has developed freehold shopping malls since 2008 under the Lifespace brand. By March this year Tesco China had built a network of 116 Legou hypermarkets, one Extra store, eight Lifespace shopping malls and 14 on-trial Express stores.
In 2010 and 2011, Tesco China won China Excellent Corporate Social Responsibility Award from the China Association of Enterprise with Foreign Investment, China Charity Federation and China Enterprise News, and also won 2010 Best Corporate Charity Practice Award from the China Red Cross Foundation, Jinghua Charity Foundation and the Beijing Times, along with the 2010 China Green Retail Contribution Award from the China General Chamber of Commerce.
"People from all walks of life, from all nations around the world, are the lifeblood of the Earth Hour interconnected global community. They have proven time and time again that if you believe in something strongly enough, you can achieve amazing things. These stories aren't unique. This is happening all over the world" said Andy Ridley, chief executive officer and co-founder of Earth Hour, at this year's launch ceremony in Singapore.
"Global warming is a real problem but Earth Hour is not the answer. Taken to its logical conclusion, if switching the lights off for one hour is a good idea, why not for all the other 8,759 hours of the year?" asked Prof Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School, in an article.
(China Daily 04/08/2013 page22)