Sears flicking off the lights

CANADA - Sears Canada, the country's largest seller of home appliances, will flick off every light it can this year for Earth Hour, in every store and warehouse across the country, leaving on only those required by law or for safety.

That will be the most visual, the most noticeable contribution from Sears, one of Earth Hour's national sponsors. But, in less spectacular but perhaps equally meaningful ways, Sears' customers can also get involved.

James Gray-Donald, sustainability leader and associate vice-president of Sears Canada, said that in the week leading up to Earth Hour on March 28, customers can choose to have their bills rounded up to the nearest dollar – with all proceeds going to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which runs Earth Hour.

That week, people can also choose to convert Sears Club points into cash that will then be donated to WWF. Sears Travel is also paying the transportation costs for one of WWF's Earth Hour-related prizes – a trip to Churchill, Man., to see first-hand the effects of climate change on the subarctic.

What is Sears doing to reduce the corporation's carbon footprint?

Sears now sells more Energy Star-approved appliances, which are more environmentally friendly, than ones that do not have the certification. Gray-Donald attributes this to the sales team.

"We help the consumer understand the long-term cost benefits of energy conservation," he said, as well as the positive impact such products can have on the environment.

The company has also made a five-year commitment to reduce energy use by 20 per cent per square foot by 2014, and also increase the percentage of waste it can recycle to 90 per cent.

What does Earth Hour mean to the brand?

"What Sears wants is for every hour to be Earth Hour," Gray-Donald said, adding that Sears is planning to start a profit-neutral scheme of reusable bags in its stores, with 10 cents from the sale of each bag going to the WWF.



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