Andy Ridley is the CEO and Co-Founder of Earth Hour, the global environmental movement initiated in Sydney, Australia in 2007 as a campaign for action on climate change.
Earth Hour's mission is three-fold: To bring people together through a symbolic hour-long event, galvanize people into taking action beyond the hour and create an interconnected global community sharing the goal of a sustainable future for the planet.
Earth Hour has swept the globe, drawing together hundreds of millions of people in 152 countries and territories spanning every continent.
In 2012 Earth Hour launched I Will If You Will, a campaign to encourage action beyond the hour. I Will If You Will sees Earth Hour supporters set themselves a challenge. In return, their family, friends, colleagues and even perfect strangers must do something for the environment. For his own challenge, Andy promised and fulfilled his I Will If You Will dare to swim with whale sharks, if 10,000 people submit their own challenge.
Born in Norwich, England, Andy moved to Sydney in 2002, becoming an Australian citizen in 2009. Prior to settling in Australia, Andy left Norwich – via an honours degree in Modern Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University – for the bright lights of London, where he headed up the special projects team for the Prince’s Trust, working on a number of UK charity campaigns including the very successful ‘Party in the Park’.
An avid scuba diver, Andy was drawn to Australia by the promise of some of the world’s most spectacular coral reefs and marine wildlife sanctuaries. Landing the role as Communications Director with WWF Australia, he worked on major conservation campaigns to protect the Great Barrier Reef, Southern Ocean and Coral Sea, pristine marine wilderness areas threatened by the effects of global warming.
In 2004, inspired by the idea of a campaign to engage everyday people and businesses in the climate change debate through a simple action, Andy initiated a think tank between Leo Burnett and Fairfax Media, forming a partnership to deliver a ‘lights out’ campaign, which would later become known as Earth Hour.
Andy’s vision came to fruition on 31 March 2007, when over two million people and 2,000 businesses in Sydney switched off their lights for the inaugural Earth Hour. By 2010 the open-source nature of the Earth Hour message had swept the globe, and by 2012, hundreds of millions of people in over 7,000 cities and towns across 152 countries and territories on every continent were taking part in the world’s largest ever voluntary action.
In addition to individual support, Earth Hour garnered the backing of tens of thousands of businesses, including Google, Blackberry, HSBC, IKEA, Nickelodeon, PwC and many other multinationals. Earth Hour also attracted support from governments at all levels and high profile global ambassadors including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In the space of three short years, Andy’s inspiration, led by WWF in partnership with Leo Burnett and Fairfax Media, had gone from a one-city initiative to a global phenomenon.
Earth Hour has been supported by hundreds of media organizations worldwide including international outlets such as TIME Magazine, CNN, the Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel to help spread Earth Hour’s message of hope and action for a better, healthier world to a global audience.
Earth Hour has also been lauded for its ingenuity, vision and reach, receiving MTV’s Good Karma Award, The Gold Banksia Award (Australia’s premier environmental honour) and the Cannes Titanium Lion, amongst a host of international accolades.