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Signify achieves carbon neutrality across all operations

Jordan O'Brien

Jordan O'Brien

Contributing Editor
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Signify, one of the world’s largest lighting companies, has officially achieved carbon neutrality across its entire operation worldwide.  

The lighting manufacturer has achieved the milestone much earlier than other large tech firms, although this is thanks to the company’s early commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. The firm notes that it has reduced its operational emissions by more than 70% since 2010, having shifted to more energy-efficient technologies at its sites and to more sustainable modes of transport. 

In addition to reaching carbon neutrality, Signify is also now relying on 100% renewable electricity. This is supported through two power purchase agreements, one in Texas and a second in Poland. 

Of course, while Signify is claiming carbon neutrality across all of its operations as of September 2020, it’s important to note that some of this is done through a carbon offsetting program. The firm says that these projects aim at benefiting the wellbeing of local communities, although it does mean that Signify is still technically emitting carbon into the air. 

That’s not to belittle the company’s achievements, however. Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group, noted, “We would like to congratulate Signify on their fantastic achievement of carbon neutrality across all operations in 2020. We have been working in partnership with Signify for over 10 years to accelerate the global adoption of energy efficient LED lighting and through Signify’s support of RE100 and EV100.

“The 2020s are the Climate Decade as we need to halve global emissions by 2030 to get us on track to meet the goals of the Paris agreement, so we need more companies to follow Signify’s lead in setting their own net zero targets.”

Signify to improve its environmental record further

While achieving carbon neutrality is a nice goal, Signify’s CEO, Eric Rondolat, wants the company to go even further. He commented, “I’m extremely proud of all the Signify employees and thank them for supporting our carbon neutrality objective. It is a truly significant achievement for us and we call on many others to join us.

“However, the world is still facing demographic change, urbanization, climate change and resource scarcity. This is not a time to pause and celebrate, but a time to become even more ambitious and accelerate our efforts to address these challenges. Growth for sustainability and providing a great place to work are firmly anchored as central parts of our company strategy. This means that when it comes to sustainability, we will go beyond carbon neutrality and double our positive impact on the environment and on society in 2025.”

That’s why Signify is implementing a new sustainability program and will go beyond carbon neutrality by reducing carbon emissions over its entire value chain. Already in 2025, the firm says it will achieve the 2031 target set out for companies in the Paris agreement to limit temperature rises to 1.5°C over pre-industrial times. It will do so by increasing the energy efficiency of its portfolio, which will reduce emissions of its customers, and by driving carbon reductions at its suppliers.

The company is also calling upon the world to accelerate the adoption of affordable and clean energy (SDG7). Signify’s highly energy-efficient LED lighting saves an average of 50% of the electricity consumed by conventional lighting. An additional saving of around 30% is achieved by using connectivity and lighting control systems. Moreover, the firm believes that the expansion of solar-powered lighting systems will provide another very effective opportunity to reduce carbon emissions.

Investing in the circular revenue

“Making our economy more circular has become more important than ever. Today we use 1.6 times the resources our planet can sustain and resource scarcity and waste have reached worrying proportions. We are committed to responsible consumption and production (SDG12) with products that can be reprinted, refurbished, reused or recycled,” Signify noted in a statement. 

“This will help us to achieve our goal of doubling our revenues from circular products, systems and services to 32% in 2025. This includes revenues from 3D printed luminaires, which we were the first lighting company to develop at scale, and from streetlights with reusable components and recyclable parts that we introduced earlier this year.

“As part of our commitment to a circular economy, we have also committed to sustainable packaging, removing plastics from all our consumer packaging before the end of 2021, and to sending zero waste to landfill.”

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