Xiamen, China – Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE:PHG, AEX: PHI), the global leader in lighting solutions has advocated the creation of “livable cities” as a key component of urban well-being.
Speaking at a session on ‘Entering into the green race’ at the World Investment Forum in Xiamen, Olivier Piccolin, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Philips Lighting Asia, linked the rapid urbanization of Asian societies to the need for sustainable development: “By the middle of the century,” he commented, “It is expected that more than two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities. This will place additional responsibility on municipalities to create cities that are safe and enjoyable to live, to work and do business.”
“Healthy lifestyles, access to affordable healthcare and sustainable urban environments are all cornerstones of the Livable Cities concept,” said Mr. Piccolin. “In particular, provision of energy-efficient lighting is a key building block of a rapidly urbanizing world, particularly in Asia.”
Energy-efficient lighting is fast becoming a core requirement of urban infrastructure and Philips has been taking the lead in driving its adoption. The latest outdoor LED lighting solutions from Philips enable cities to provide safer, more secure urban environments, while helping create attractive urban locations for businesses, visitors and residents alike. LED lighting is also helping municipalities reach their targets of lowering energy consumption and CO₂ emissions.
Mr. Piccolin urged urban planners to link their economic progress with sustainable development: “Cities have a crucial role to play in addressing climate change and governments should not only be setting targets for reducing energy consumption but should lead by example by switching to energy efficient technologies and incentivizing the inflow of green FDI (foreign direct investment).”
Today, cities and their residents represent around 70% of global energy consumption, with as much as 50% of a municipality’s energy spending going to lighting. Economic growth has historically been co-related with a higher consumption of energy. Higher levels of consumption and its environmental impact are a by-product of any country that is experiencing rapid economic growth.
Citing United Nations data, Mr. Piccolin noted that up to $440 billion of additional recurring global investment was required annually between 2010 and 2015 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the 2ºC target defined by the Copenhagen Accord. He highlighted the strong role for public-private sector partnerships to making emerging economies – and urban infrastructure in particular – more sustainable.
“Philips has placed energy-efficient lighting high on its agenda as an immediate and actionable win in the battle against climate change. Philips is committed to sustainability and focusing on making a difference in efficient energy use. We have set ourselves some important targets here: to increase the number of ‘green’ products in our portfolio to 30% by 2012 and to reduce average energy use in our offices by 25% over five years.”