Sharing the power of light


    May 16, 2019


    Today is the International Day of Light, and our head of CSR, Prajna Khanna, explains how at Signify we approach our responsibility to give light to the world.


    For most of us who are living north of the equator, our day starts with the flick of the light switch. In the bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen. We then come to work – and the lights are on, our kids are at school being prepared for their future, under the glow of artificial lights, people in hospitals are being healed with precision under varying shades of light.


    And of course, when the days get darker, our path home is illuminated, and we go back to the warmth of our homes and families surrounded by the lighting we have so carefully curate to enhance our lives.

    Sharing the power of light

    Let there be light

    When I came to work for a lighting company, I would joke that we were even referred to in the Bible: “And God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light!” It was a comment only in jest, but there’s a serious point there too: as a lighting company we can give back to communities – and literally light up lives – simply by doing what we do best.


    Around one billion people – or about 13% of the world’s population – still live without electric light. If current policies and population trends continue, as many as 674 million people will continue to live without electricity in 2030.1


    As Signify, we feel it’s our responsibility to not just manage the impact of our own operations but to give back to the communities we operate in. And we don’t just honor this responsibility, we celebrate it.


    Some examples include providing women in Tanzania with a livelihood through project WE SOLVE, our support for the Solar Saheli in rural India and our employees’ commitment to volunteering.

    Let there be light

    Maslow’s hierarchy for companies

    Psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed his highly influential ‘hierarchy of needs’ for people in 1943. He visualized it as a pyramid in which people need to move upward by meeting basic needs such as ‘safety’ and ‘love and belonging’ in order to reach the pinnacle of ‘self-actualization’.
    Maslow’s hierarchy for companies

    Drawing from Maslow’s theory of the human path to self-actualization, it’s my belief that a company can similarly move upward in its role as a responsible corporate citizen. I call it “the social hierarchy for responsible companies”.


    Progressing from managing its own environmental footprint, to giving back through charity and reaching the peak by embedding and promoting transformational practices that contribute to addressing shared global challenges. I see this as ‘self-actualization’ for companies.

    Solar Sahelis during TnB

    Signify shines a light

    From our work towards complete carbon neutrality in 2020, to the R&D that has gone into every LED light bulb we sell, we’re mitigating the impact of climate change. And our commitment to making the world a better place extends to ending the imbalance in the world’s population. By enabling sustainable, universal access to electric light we’re contributing towards a fundamental social need.


    At the peak, our vision of light as a service is the best example of a company building its business value to accelerate sustainable transitions. I am deeply proud of the company I work for, as it exemplifies the highest level of commitment to all three levels of ‘the actualization of a company as a corporate citizen.


    During 2018, we were able to enable to light the lives of 540,000 people in underserved communities and supported 2,656 lighting entrepreneurs. Our aim is to light the lives of 5 million people by 2020 and 10,000 entrepreneurs.

    About the author:

    Prajna Khanna

    Prajna Khanna

    Head of CSR at Signify

    For further information, please contact:

    Signify Global Media Relations
    Neil Pattie
    Tel: + 31 6 15 08 48 17

    About Signify


    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals, consumers and the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. In 2023, we had sales of EUR 6.7 billion, approximately 32,000 employees and a presence in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We have been in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since our IPO for seven consecutive years and have achieved the EcoVadis Platinum rating for four consecutive years, placing Signify in the top one percent of companies assessed. News from Signify can be found in the Newsroom, on X, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors is located on the Investor Relations page.

    Meydan Bridge

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