As part of its ongoing efforts to implement energy-saving practices, McDonald’s Canada and participating restaurants nationwide will be actively supporting Earth Hour, and in the process could save more than 10,000 kWh in electricity usage, which is the same amount of energy the average Canadian household uses in a year. This is the third year McDonald’s is taking part in Earth Hour.

A global initiative led by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to inspire people to take action on climate change, Earth Hour will take place on March 27. While all participating McDonald’s restaurants will remain open and fully operational, at 8:30 p.m., for one full hour, customers and passers-by will notice darkened road signs and roof beams at each location as they show their support by cutting down on their electricity usage.

“We’re committed to doing our part in raising environmental awareness by participating in Earth Hour and dimming our lights at all 1,400 McDonald’s restaurants in Canada on March 27th,” says Richard Ellis, senior vice president of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada. “Our commitment to sustainability extends well beyond energy conservation-McDonald’s proactive approach to waste diversion is a multi-faceted partnership with suppliers, franchisees, and employees to reduce and recycle materials used in production and packaging, as well as diverting as much waste as possible away from the solid waste stream.”

As the official restaurant of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, McDonald’s received a VANOC Sustainability Star in recognition of waste diversion initiatives at the three Olympic venue restaurants located at the Athlete’s Villages in Whistler and Vancouver and the Main Media Centre in Vancouver. The Sustainability Star program recognizes initiatives by Games partners, sponsors, and VANOC that demonstrate positive and measurable social, economic and environmental impacts.

Supporting VANOC’s goal to divert 85 percent of Games-time waste from landfill, McDonald’s made a commitment to provide source separation of organics, waste, and recyclables at its Games-time restaurant locations. The venue restaurants were outfitted with energy-efficient lighting and equipment that will be reused at other locations after the Games. In addition, approximately 90 percent of McDonald’s packaging is made from renewable resources.

McDonald’s Canada also engages its suppliers and encourages them to be more environmentally conscious. In 2007, this led to the creation of an annual Sustainability Award, which recognizes a supplier who has demonstrated a commitment to advancing environmental sustainability in the areas of energy conservation, solid waste mitigation, and recycling, among others.

Pioneered in Australia in 2007, Earth Hour has proven to be a huge success in showing that it is possible to take action on climate change. Earth Hour 2010 is set to be an unprecedented public demonstration for action on climate change.

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