Economist Impact: Decarbonising Industry


    January 22, 2023

    LED lighting solutions and innovative technologies play a key role in decarbonizing industry
    According to the International Energy Agency, in 2022 industry accounted for 25% of the world’s carbon emissions. This makes industrial decarbonization critical if net zero goals are to be met.
    Industry accounted for 25% of global carbon emissions in 2022
    Governments have recognized the importance of decarbonizing industry, with a range of initiatives designed to back companies investing in energy efficiency and sustainable development. Notable among these are, in the US, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, and in the EU, the Green Deal, REPowerEU, and Fit for 55. To make the most of that backing, however, industry needs the right partners.

    Innovation and efficiency


    At Signify, we believe that technological and business model innovation can play a vital role in industrial energy efficiency. With out commitment to innovation, we have reinvested 4.8% of annual sales into R&D, entered into more than 100 partnerships with universities, and filed 17,750 patents.

    Our LED lighting systems can increase the energy efficiency of buildings and infrastructure, while our connected LED lighting can serve as a platform for smart technologies that can increase operational efficiencies. We created the Green Switch program to help industries leverage the potential of our innovative technologies and maximize the impact of available funding for sustainable development.

    Green Switch has been designed to guide companies through the process of obtaining financing while also specifying the appropriate lighting products, systems and services to help them to meet sustainability goals. From port and rail operators to logistics and manufacturing giants our partner companies are already realizing huge benefits in energy efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, and cost savings.

    LEED-certified buildings consume 25% less energy and 11% less water, and produce 34% less carbon emissions

    Delivering on ESG commitments


    Serving nearly 6,000 customers in 19 countries, Prologis is the world’s largest industrial landlord, with around 2.5% of global GDP passing through its warehouses. Partnering with Signify, Prologis created LED Essentials, an innovative service that offers tenants in 12 European countries energy-efficient lighting.

    Prologis relied on Signify to deliver project design and a turnkey solution, and to manage the project and the product supply chain. Signify’s international footprint meant that it could deliver a consistent experience for Prologis’s international clients. Within four years of the launch of LED Essentials, 6.4 million sq meters of space had been converted to LED lighting, more than 90% of the Prologis portfolio where the service is offered.

    As Mark Zulver, senior vice president and head of Prologis Essentials Europe, points out, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) commitments are now critical for customers, their employees, and investors. LED Essentials is helping Prologis and its customers deliver on those commitments and on multiple fronts.

    The explosive growth of e-commerce has created ever-increasing demand for logistics and fulfillment centers. It has also made them more visible and has created greater concern about their energy performance and the working environment they offer.

    When you walked into a warehouse a decade ago, you would think, ‘Wow, it's dark in here!,' With all the new lighting that we put into our buildings, they are now a very pleasant place to be. There is a lot more we are trying to do and light is the key to those improvements.”


    Mark Zulver

    Senior Vice President and Head of Prologis Essentials Europe

    A smart platform


    All the LED lights installed as part of the LED Essentials program are equipped with sensors, enabling the system to support operational optimization projects. Prologis is also investigating ways to extend the program and retrofit customer warehouses that the company does not own.

    DHL’s “warehouse of the future” in Columbus, Ohio, is another example of how innovation can help with industrial energy efficiency. DHL turned to Signify to design and install a smart lighting system at its 31,400 sq meter facility.

    Using Signify’s Interact connected lighting system, DHL can now adjust lighting to meet the specific requirements of each functional area in the warehouse. The controllable lighting creates a safer, more pleasing environment for its workforce. DHL is also on track to save 1 m kWh of electricity per year—a cost saving more than double its initial expectation. In addition, DHL is targeting longer-term benefits from asset tracking and lower maintenance costs.

    Pilkington, one of the world’s largest glass suppliers, is another user of Interact. Its new automotive glass warehouse in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, measures 47,000 sq meters. Pilkington uses Interact to manage more than 1,300 luminaires throughout the facility.

    Interact manages the lighting in Pilkington’s automotive glass warehouse in Gelsenkirchen, Germany

    With Interact, we received a connected lighting system that does more than just provide light. It also gives us data about our site and allows us to make smarter decisions about our operations.”


    Marcel Devereaux

    Category Manager, Energy Projects for NSG Group (Pilkington’s parent company)

    The energy efficiency gains were substantial. The new warehouse uses up to 50% less energy than comparable sites with conventional lighting systems.

    Industrial lighting is not just restricted to buildings. Transportation infrastructure is often burdened with energy-inefficient legacy lighting systems. The energy demand of those systems can be slashed by retrofitting them with more energy-efficient technology.

    The Dublin Port Tunnel in Ireland replaced 1,800 sodium lamps with Signify’s energy-efficient LED lighting. The overhaul instantly resulted in a 60% reduction in electricity usage, equivalent to the annual consumption of 300 Irish households, and promises to deliver €4m in cost savings over the coming five years.

    A huge step towards reducing the carbon emissions, energy consumption, and future maintenance of the Dublin Port Tunnel, while also improving overall lighting and power quality.”


    Patrick O’Hanlon

    Senior Engineer at Transport Infrastructure Ireland

    Industrial decarbonization and electrification are critical to meeting net zero commitments. It is also essential that industry maximizes its energy efficiency to avoid overloading power grids. At a local level, the electricity saved annually by fitting a 100,000 sq meter logistics hub with connected LED lighting could be used to keep 433 e-vans or 114 e-forklifts recharged.

    As we move towards 2050, power demand will only increase. Industry must also increase its use of innovative technologies to continuously improve its energy efficiency and implement sustainable development practices. Innovation and initiatives such as Green Switch will be a cornerstone of this strategy.

    Created by Signify, on The Sustainability Project by Economist Impact:

    Signify Logo

    Collaboration between Signify and Economist Impact



    For further information, please contact:

    Signify Global Media relations - Professional Lighting
    Claire Phillips

    Tel: +44 7956 489081


    For commercial enquiries:

    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.

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