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At 8.30pm on Saturday 28 March 2015, hundreds of millions of people across the globe will switch their lights off.

Earth Hour started back in 2007, in Sydney, Australia, as a lights-off event to raise awareness about climate change. Now, the map of this 60-minute global happening has grown to include 162 countries and territories worldwide.  

We’ll be switching our lights off in offices, where our stores are still trading, they will support Earth Hour by switching off back-of-house lighting, and, wherever possible, in closed stores we are rescheduling shelf stocking and cleaning activities to turn lights off throughout the store.

Ultimately, its success will depend on getting everybody – from governments and cities, to companies and homeowners – to think differently about energy consumption on an ongoing basis. In effect, what happens when the lights are turned back on is what really matters. 

Every small contribution to Earth Hour makes a big difference – not just in the hour but also how we think about energy moving forwards. It’s what happens when we switch the lights on again that really matters.

At M&S, we’ve been working tirelessly to reduce our energy consumption for many years. We announced our first public energy efficiency targets with the launch of Plan A in 2007 and since then we’ve achieved over a 34% reduction in energy across our stores, offices and distribution centres. We’re now aiming to extend this to a 50% reduction by 2020 – a massive target that will be significantly impacted by our progress in lighting efficiency.

In addition to supporting global programmes such as Earth Hour, we run our own internal ‘switch off’ campaigns. We have been improving our automatic remote lighting controls, to efficiently switch lights off whenever possible. We are also installing motion sensors in our back-of-house areas, so we only light the areas which need to be lit. Most importantly we are rolling out LEDs in our Simply Foods and Outlet stores, which can reduce electricity consumption by up to 50%. Not only do LEDs save energy and therefore carbon emissions, they also better light up our products.

LED Store

Despite all the great work we’re doing, there is always more to do. We are always on the lookout for new technology to help us improve the energy efficiency of our estate, including researching a suitable LED solution for our clothing stores. And we’re passionate about supporting global campaigns such as Earth Hour, both at work and at home. If you’d like to support and join in Earth Hour, sign up here and remember to turn your lights off! Perhaps have a candlelit dinner, or watch the stars. However you celebrate, together we can make a change for the better.

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