03.26.09, 10:47 AM EDT
BETHESDA, Md., March 26 /PRNewswire/ -- In demonstration of its commitment to the environment, Marriott International, Inc.World Wildlife Fund announced today that it will officially participate in Earth Hour 2009*, a global climate event organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). From San Francisco and New York City, to Dubai and Shanghai, hundreds of hotels and timeshare units across Marriott's multi-brand portfolio will turn out or dim non-essential lighting for one hour on March 28, 2009, at 8:30 p.m. local time, joining tens of millions of people in more than 2,700 cities worldwide.
"Marriott International's support of Earth Hour is a symbol of the company's commitment to the environment," says Arne Sorenson, Chief Financial Officer of Marriott International and co-chair of the company's Executive Green Council. "Energy efficiency makes good business sense -- it saves money for our hotels and their owners, while conserving resources so that we can continue to welcome guests at our hotels worldwide in the long term."
Marriott hotels and their guests will be participating in Earth Hour in a variety of ways. The JW Marriott Hotel Washington, DC, will dim its lights and host a World Wildlife Fund celebration featuring the organization's CEO Carter Roberts and other dignitaries. In Australia, guests at the Surfers Paradise Marriott will dine on a variety of eco-friendly foods and "carbon-neutral" beverages, while newlyweds and their guests at the JW Marriott Hong Kong will switch off the lights and celebrate their wedding banquet in candlelight.
Last year, Marriott announced its environmental strategy to address climate change, which it calls its "Spirit To Preserve." The plan calls for: Greening its $10 billion supply chain; further reducing fuel and water consumption by 25 percent per available room, and installing solar power at up to 40 hotels by 2017; creating green construction standards for hotel developers to achieve LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council; educating and inspiring employees and guests to support the environment; and helping protect the rainforest.
Earlier this year, Marriott launched "Green Your Hotel Stay," inviting guests to "offset" their hotel stay by making a donation to the Amazon rainforest in Brazil when they make a reservation on Marriott.com.
Marriott has been recognized for its environmental leadership in the hotel industry by several groups, including Ceres, an alliance of investors and environmentalists; the non-profit organization ClimateCounts.org; and Travel + Leisure magazine. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just gave Marriott its Sustained Excellence Award for the third straight year, and has awarded its ENERGY STAR label to 275 Marriott hotels, the most of any hotel company.