Saturday, March 19, at 8:30 p.m. local time, millions of people around the world celebrated the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-initiated Earth Hour by turning off their lights for one hour. Participating in Earth Hour is a strong, clear action that encourages everyone to make more environmentally responsible choices beyond the event hour and promote climate awareness in general. For WWF and other participating organizations, it is also a chance to garner support for critical conservation projects and drive necessary legislative changes.

Since its humble beginnings as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia, in 2007, Earth Hour has become the world’s largest grassroots movement promoting environmental stewardship. In 2016, an unprecedented 178 countries and territories (that’s 24 time zones and seven continents) – oh, and the International Space Station – participated in Earth Hour. That resulted in more than 1.23 million individual actions taken to positively impact climate change, and over 400 iconic landmarks and monuments like the CN Tower, Empire State Building and Eiffel Tower going dark.

Coca-Cola has participated in Earth Hour for many years by darkening some of our buildings and most iconic signs, including Times Square in New York, Piccadilly Circus in London and Kings Cross in Sydney.  We also encourage employees and communities to participate at home or via coordinated events, and turning off the lights in office buildings and bottling facilities.

Coke’s participation in Earth Hour supports the company’s strongly held belief that climate change is a profound challenge requiring concerted action by government, business and civil society.

Click here for photos of last year's Earth Hour celebrations around the world.

As a responsible multinational company, we have a role to play in ensuring we manage our business responsibly. That’s why we’re working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across our entire value chain by making comprehensive changes in our manufacturing processes, packaging formats, delivery fleet, refrigeration equipment and ingredient sourcing—all contributing to our goal to reduce the carbon footprint of the “drink in your hand” by 25 percent by 2020.

When it comes to addressing climate change there is a place in the discussion for everybody. Earth Hour is just one opportunity to get involved. Actions can be simple, like participating in the annual event by sharing a candlelight dinner with friends and encouraging others to join, or greater such as donating your social feed to Earth Hour 2016 and committing to a daily activity that can benefit our planet. Only through collective actions—big and small—will we truly make a difference in global challenges.