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The After Party

We sat in total darkness on the Penthouse Floor of our offices, the only light illuminating our desks coming from the overhead bright red and yellow Arab Malaysian Bank logo behind our building. It was shut off 30 mins into Earth Hour. Looking around at the buildings beneath us, parts of Kuala Lumpur were switched off. It could have been better.

Whilst we sat about and discussed the possibility of driving from Brazil to Bolivia, Azmi and Wong manned the NOC in total darkness and Chan was scurrying from floor to floor, measuring the power consumption of our data centres during Earth Hour. 6MW of power deployed, 3MW in current use with another 1MW coming online - the equivalent of carbon emissions from 5 barrels of oil consumed for the hour, we rallied all our business partners and stakeholders in the week leading up to Earth Hour to take it a step further - Turn off your mobiles, turn off your phones, computers, faxes, PDAs etc. Let's take this opportunity to REALLY save power. Not to mention my lengthy SMS 30 minutes prior to the event reminding and urging everyone to take part.

As promised, we measured our power savings totaling 73kW. Falling short by half of our intended target, it was nevertheless a good first effort - the equivalent of carbon emissions from 0.12 barrel of oil consumed. Not bad for an hour of switching off the lights, not using the phone and surfing the Web. An interesting point to note was the SMS I sent out 30 mins before Earth Hour reached some of its intended recipients way after Earth Hour ended... . Which leads me to surmise that everyone participating in Earth Hour was SMS-ing all their friends to take part, thus really jamming the SMS clouds during the time where we should have been aware of energy conservation!

Other funny facts, on Bukit Bintang between two competing malls, whilst one took part actively, it threw a concert in celebration of Earth Hour - how much power did that save? Whilst the other, one of the biggest and newest malls in downtown Kuala Lumpur just did not bother. Their mall was brighter than the giant Christmas tree they had at their front entrance a few months back! C'est la vie.

As for some quotable quotes from my friends, let me share some of the SMSes I received (many hours later !) in reply to mine...

"Hi! Te-Shen, just got out of the darkness n got your msg. Read chapter 5 n 6 of 'Dreams from my father' in semi darkness. Reminded me of school days in Brickfields late 1950s n 60s. There were days when we had to read under candle light."

"Why didn't you just switch off the exchange? :)"

"I have realized alcohol taste better in the dark... . As long as you can find the bottle!"

"%$#% earth hour dude. Get a hybrid and have a earth year. :)"

"I am busy playing mahjong lar. But I turned off all other essential lights. :)"

On the face of it, it seemed like a great excuse for some of us to party whilst others found a sense of purpose and meaning beyond the hour of darkness. One reader who wrote into The Star derided Earth Hour as a cheap publicity stunt and instead drawing his readers to focus on lifestyle and consumption habits. I might not agree with him on it being totally a cheap publicity stunt, it definitely got us thinking and reflecting, Earth Hour is a start for all of us to be more mindful of needless consumption in our lifestyles and habits.

Dubai apparently saved 200,000 kWh of electricity according to a video on Youtube. What can we do in Kuala Lumpur for 2010?




The Megawisra Group supports Earth Hour 2009

8:30 PM Saturday 28th March 2009

This year The Megawisra Group is going to take part in Earth Hour, a global Earth Campaign to urge more than one billion people in 1000 cities by simply turning out all non-essential lighting for one hour on Saturday, 28th of March at 8.30 p.m. We will join tens of millions of concerned citizens throughout the world in calling for action to save our planet for future generations. This initiative forms part of our Group’s Corporate Social Responsibility program. Please be assured that there will be no interruption to the services that The Megawisra Group’s subsidiaries are providing to you.

We’d like to invite you, our valued business partner, to join us in this important effort. The lights out initiative, which began in Sydney in 2007 as a public awareness campaign on climate change, has grown significantly over the past two years. All together 74 Cities in 62 countries have committed to Earth Hour 2009 - from South America, to Europe, to Asia, to the South Pacific. Nations are now seeing the global economic downturn as an opportunity to steer their economies toward safer sustainable futures.

Kuala Lumpur is one of the cities to take part in this Campaign. In Malaysia the Earth Hour has set a goal to gather 5 Million sign-ups. Landmark buildings here such as KL tower, Sunway Lagoon Resort, Starhill gallery and Mid Valley are already committed to turning their lights off on 28th of March, 2009 at 8.30.

In the week leading up to Earth Hour, we plan to take a closer look at ways our companies can operate more efficiently, waste less and reduce our environmental footprint—not only in our own operations, but throughout our supply chain. Joining Earth Hour is a great way to demonstrate that we at the Megawisra Group care about the planet and want to operate in a responsible way.  In this regard we have set a target during this hour to reduce our group’s overall carbon footprint by 0.1 metric tones, the equivalent of CO2 emissions from 35 liters of gasoline consumed. We hope this will be the beginning of effectively approaching our operational carbon emissions for the foreseeable future.

Take action! We hope you’ll join us in this important and inspiring effort and encourage your employees, customers and suppliers to take part by turning off the nonessential lights on 28th of March at 8.30 pm for one hour.

If you would like your organization to participate you can find more information at www.earthhour.org.my or www.earthhour.org or if you would like to calculate your carbon emmission click on this link http://www.epa.gov/solar/energy-resources/calculator.html

This initiative is organized by World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF).

Sincerely,
The CSR Team



Happy New Year

Happy Belated New Year!

It seems difficult to maintain an upbeat mood these days. The slew of bad news that we have been inundated with has prompted me to remove all evidence of newsprint from our office. Not that it would stop us from scouring the Net for news however, I take consolation in the fact that it's a great way to start our social responsibility program - at least we are doing our bit in reducing paper consumption!

Now that everyone has come to the realization that America is no longer going to be the world's biggest consumer and in fact, moving in the exact opposite direction of an open, liberalised economy - the question remains if the worlds' producers are expecting the BRIC nations to replace Uncle Tom as the world's largest consumer. Don't hold your breath. You would have a better chance of winning the Hong Kong Mark 6.

Of the four, Brazil seems to be relatively unscathed by the economic downturn. Or so, we thought of ourselves in Asia just six months ago. Even if that's the case, Brazil's GDP as reported by the CIA Factbook is 1/7th that of the United States in 2008. In fact, the combined GDPs of the BRIC bloc is short by a mere trillion.

With worldwide production levels down affected by general consumption, the G8 looking increasingly inward to repair their broken economies, maybe its time for us to take stock of our habits. I believe in signs and whatever mother earth is telling us at the start of the year ain't good - snow in England, drought in China, ravaging bush fires in Australia - all at the same time. It's time for us to only consume what we need.

The imbalance needs to be rectified from want to need.

 


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