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SUSTAINABILITY| 25.03.2022

Earth Hour: Switch off the light to light up the cause

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Earth Hour took place on March 26, 2022, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. However, this initiative extends beyond the event held on the last Saturday of March. Earth Hour is the largest environmental demonstration in history. By turning off the lights in our homes, businesses, cities, and monuments for one hour, it brings millions of people from all over the world together as a symbolic act to raise awareness about the severe consequences of global warming.

This a way to make society aware of the importance of the planet, which is the source of everything we need, from the air we breathe to the water we drink and the food we eat. It is imperative that we fight against the effects of climate change and defend nature to safeguard the health of our planet and, in turn, our own health and well-being.

How and when was this initiative conceived?

The first Earth Hour was born 15 years ago in Sydney, on March 31, 2007, as a symbolic gesture to draw attention to the problem of climate change. It was driven and conceived by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and advertising agency Leo Burnett to engage Australians on climate change. The first year of the campaign was a success and sowed the seeds for a larger global mobilization campaign against climate change. The movement has already grown into one of the largest environmental movements in the world, with events in more than 200 countries and a voice for millions of people and thousands of companies.

Despite the fact that the pandemic was still raging, the campaign achieved a very high level of participation worldwide last year. In Spain, they had the support of thousands of people, 477 municipalities, and more than 300 companies that demonstrated their commitment in public, as we did in MAPFRE by turning off the lights and signs in our offices and buildings in 12 different countries.

Climate change and the 2030 Agenda

2019 was the second warmest year of all time and marked the end of the warmest decade we have ever recorded. Moreover, in the same year, carbon dioxide levels and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere reached record highs.  In the absence of action, the Earth’s average surface temperature will rise by approximately three degrees Celsius during this century.

We are seeing the effects of climate change on our own skin, including changes in weather patterns, rising sea levels, and the most intense weather events we have ever seen. In addition, these effects of climate change adversely affect the economy and the lives of individuals, communities, and countries, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable.

According to scientific consensus, we are at a crucial point in time when we can no longer allow irreversible changes to occur to the planet’s ecosystems and climate. The 2022 edition takes place at a particularly relevant moment, because only a few weeks after Earth Hour, the COP15 of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity will take place, at which a new global action plan capable of halting and reversing biodiversity loss will be discussed.

What have we accomplished at MAPFRE?

 

We at MAPFRE have been participating in this campaign since 2009, turning off the lights in our buildings and offices, and encouraging our 32,000 employees worldwide to actively participate with small gestures aimed at reducing energy consumption at home.

Our commitment to environmental protection is materialized in different actions. Our goal is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 in all countries where we operate, and we are taking several actions to achieve this goal. Actions that are materialized in objectives through a sustainability policy and the 2022-2024 Sustainability Plan.

Our 2022-2024 Sustainability Plan focuses on those global challenges to which, from our activity, we can contribute in a balanced way in three dimensions: environmental, social, and governance. Sustainability is strategic for us because each pillar of our plan allows us to continue advancing our purpose: take care of what matters to you.

How can we join this initiative?

This year, for the 16th time, WWF is asking people, companies, governments and organizations around the world to turn off their lights for one hour on March 26 between 8:30 pm and 9:30 pm (local time).

As every year, some of the most emblematic monuments of each city will also be added, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Puerta de Alcalá in Madrid or the Empire State Building in New York, among other 12,000 iconic monuments around the world.

This initiative is a call to action for all of us, since we are all responsible for the state of the planet. In addition to the message of awareness, this celebration carries a message of hope because we can all make a difference with simple daily gestures.

Our sustainability efforts are reflected in #LaParteQueNosToca, which represents just such a commitment from all of us. A people-oriented, fact-based concept that represents the part that each of us plays, the thousands of gestures that add up to the common goal of protecting the planet and people. By joining this collaborative action, we reinforce our commitment to the future of our planet and, at the same time, to our own well-being and that of future generations.

“The hour has come, we must turn off the light to illuminate the cause.”

 

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