WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Mar 07, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Starwood is switching off on March 26 - but just for one hour, and for a great cause.
The global hospitality leader will once again join the worldwide movement of people and businesses planning to turn off the lights for Earth Hour 2011 in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common - our planet.
This year will mark Starwood's third annual participation in Earth Hour, making it one of the biggest companies to create a statement with a voluntary hour of darkness. Hundreds of hotels in the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) portfolio will take part in Earth Hour, the global environmental awareness event created by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to send a powerful global message about the importance of environmental sustainability and caring for the planet.
For the first time, Starwood Preferred Guest - Starwood's award-winning loyalty program - invites guests to take part in Earth Hour and will award 100 Starpoints to every member who registers at www.spg.com/earthhourpledge.
On March 26, from Beijing and Brussels to Baltimore and Buenos Aires, Starwood hotels flying brand flags including St. Regis(R), The Luxury Collection(R), W(R), Westin(R), Le Méridien(R), Sheraton(R), Four Points(R) by Sheraton, Aloft(R), and ElementSM will turn off their lights and take other energy-saving measures for one full hour, underscoring the company's dedication to environmental sustainability.
As they have in previous years, participating Starwood hotels will take the remarkable steps of turning off exterior signage lighting. The darkened hotel buildings offered striking visual imagery that provided an apt symbol of Earth Hour. Properties will also participate by dimming or turning off non-essential interior lighting, using candlelight in appropriate public areas such as restaurants and bars, and using in-room voicemail messages and in-room television messages to inform guests about Earth Hour observances. This year, in more than 100,000 hotel rooms, guests staying in participating Starwood properties will also get encouraged to turn off the lights.
Starwood hotels around the world will also coordinate Earth Hour awareness events, including community walk-a-thons, public candlelight "unplugged" concerts, and guest receptions featuring signature green cocktails.
Among last year's most talked-about events:
"This year's theme emphasizes what we all need to do once the lights come back on, which aligns perfectly with Starwood's ongoing dedication to environmental stewardship," said Sandy Swider, Vice President of Global Citizenship, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. "It was inspiring to see how passionately our associates and guests all over the world embraced the spirit of Earth Hour last year, and they made a powerful statement about how each of us can make a difference."
Starwood itself has made history with industry-leading green initiatives. In 2008, the company launched Element, Starwood's green trailblazer and the first major hotel brand to mandate that all properties pursue the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification for high-performance buildings. Across its entire portfolio of brands, Starwood now leads with 10 LEED-certified buildings. Last year, Starwood set targets to reduce energy and water consumption all of its owned, managed, and franchised properties by 2020. And in 2010, the company installed electric-vehicle charging stations at all nine Element hotels across North America.
Earth Hour is a global grass-roots movement encouraging individuals, businesses and governments around the world to take positive actions for the environment, and celebrating their commitment to the planet by switching off their lights for one designated hour.
The highlight of Earth Hour 2011 will see the world's most iconic landmarks go dark for one designated hour, as hundreds of millions of people transcend race, religion, culture, society, generation and geography, switching off their lights in a global celebration of their commitment to protect the one thing that unites us all - the planet. Earth Hour 2011 will take place on Saturday 26 March at 8.30PM (local time).
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1025 properties in 100 countries and territories with 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis(R), The Luxury Collection(R), W(R), Westin(R), Le Méridien(R), Sheraton(R), Four Points(R) by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft(R), and ElementSM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.
SOURCE: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.