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    Lessons from Signify’s Race to Zero

     

    November 10, 2021

     

    We’re humbled for the recognition of UNFCC for our years of hard work on creating Brighter Lives and a Better World.

     

    There are days where one can only feel humbled. Humbled for the appreciation and recognition of our company’s achievements after years of hard work. Yesterday was such a day.

    During COP26 in Glasgow, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate awarded Signify with a UN Global Climate Action Award for our leadership in climate action.

    The members of the UN Global Climate Action Awards Advisory Panel said they felt our Brighter Lives, Better World program serves as an excellent example of a large company not just pledging to work toward climate neutrality but actually delivering on it. They were also impressed by our integrated approach to climate action and found our activities to be truly transformative and innovative.”

     

    The members of the UN Global Climate Action Awards Advisory Panel, which is responsible for selecting the winning activities, said that they were particularly impressed by our Brighter Lives, Better World project.

     

    They felt it serves as an excellent example of a large company not just pledging to work toward climate neutrality but actually delivering on it. They were also impressed by our integrated approach to climate action and found our activities to be truly transformative and innovative.

     

    Yesterday, I had the privilege of accepting this award on behalf of the 37 thousand Signify employees around the globe who have created, innovated and pushed themselves and each other to lighten Signify’s environmental footprint and to enable greener solutions for our customers.

     

    So, on behalf of the Signify team, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on how we got here. How can a 130-year old electronics company with an international manufacturing footprint go on to be recognized as a climate leader?

    Brighter Lives, Better World program

    Let me take you back to 2015, which is when we committed to our 2020 goal to be carbon neutral and to convert to the use of 100% renewable electricity in all our operations. With a global manufacturing footprint and supply chain, nearly 40 thousand people, and offices in more than 70 countries, those commitments felt like a big step.

     

    But we made it. And for those of your embarking on your own Race to Zero, here are some of the things we learned along the way.

    1. Embed sustainability in your company strategy

     

    We created integrated emission reductions efforts as growth drivers within our core business goals, ensuring that everything we did commercially also brought us closer to achieving our sustainability ambitions.

     

    Examples of this include connected LED lighting, which on average saves 50% of the electricity consumed by conventional lighting, and which together with our Interact software platform, provides additional savings of 30% in offices, hotels and our city’s streets. Or 3D printed luminaires, which have a 75% lower carbon footprint than conventionally manufactured luminaires. And horticulture lighting, helping growers to grow more and higher quality crops, all year round, while using less electricity.

    And on the side of the consumer, we recently introduced the Philips LED A-class bulb, our most energy efficient LED bulb and the first in a range of ultra-efficient LEDs.

    You can only make changes if you know what it is you need to change. We intensively analyzed our operational energy use and made a comprehensive plan to improve our operational footprint.”

    2. Analyze operational energy use

     

    You can only make changes if you know what it is you need to change. We intensively analyzed our operational energy use and made a comprehensive plan to improve our operational footprint, upgrading all lighting to our own energy-efficient lighting, installing more efficient HVAC systems, optimizing our industrial processes and our office space utilization, and switching to 100% renewable electricity. We also moved to more sustainable transport modes. Sea freight, for instance, emits 34 times less carbon dioxide than air freight. Together, these actions helped us to reduce our operational carbon footprint by more than 70% in the last ten years.

    3. Embrace renewables

     

    The use of 100% renewable electricity is an important pillar of our commitment to sustainability. We started our switch to renewables in strategic geographies with a relatively high electricity consumption and in countries with a more developed renewable electricity infrastructure. These were soon followed by other countries where we have a presence.

     

    Today, 100% of our electricity comes from renewable sources.

    4. Find the right partners

     

    Some level of emissions is unavoidable. While many companies offer carbon offset services, it was important to us that we find the right partner to ensure that what we do is credible and traceable.

     

    We found this partner in South Pole, a specialist firm that helps us navigate options to find programs that align with our corporate social responsibility programs and meet our requirements to reduce our environmental impact, while also contributing to the wellbeing of the communities where these projects take place.

     

    You can read more about our offsetting projects here: Carbon offsetting | Signify Company Website.

    5. Work with like-minded advocates

     

    In addition to finding the right partners, we collaborate with organizations that share a similar vision. The Climate Group is a non-profit organization that works with business and government leaders to tackle climate change. And we have also partnered with initiatives like the World Green Building Council’s (WGBC) Net Zero Carbon Buildings initiative.

     

    You can learn more about The Climate Groups RE100 and EV100 initiatives here and here.


    These kinds of collaborations allow us to meet kindred spirits, to turn our inspiration into collaboration and action, and to do it at high speed.

    This is not a time to be complacent, and there is work to be done to reach our goals. But by setting our ambition levels high, working together and sharing our experiences, I believe that Signify’s goals, and the world’s, can be achieved.”

    Setting, and achieving, our targets was a big moment for Signify, and also a chance to reflect on and refresh our goals. In 2020, we announced that in the coming years, we will double our positive impact on the environment and society.

     

    This Brighter Lives, Better World 2025 sustainability program has four important pillars:

     

    1. To reduce emissions over our value chain to the extent that we meet the targets of the Paris Agreement in 2025 instead of 2031, helping to limit temperature rises to 1.5°C over pre-industrial times.

    2. To double the percentage of our circular revenues to 32%. This represents revenues coming from products, systems and services designed for a circular economy, such as our innovative Light as a Service model or our 3D-printed luminaires.

    3. To double our ‘brighter lives’ revenues to 32%. This includes revenues from lighting to increase food availability, safety and security, and health and wellbeing.

    4. To double our commitment to diversity and inclusion and double the percentage of the women in leadership positions to 34%.

      This is not a time to be complacent, and there is work to be done to reach our goals. But by setting our ambition levels high, working together and sharing our experiences, I believe that Signify’s goals, and the world’s, can be achieved.

      After all, it takes all of us to win this Race to Zero

    Learn more about our sustainability plans for the coming five years and visit these webpages: Brighter Lives, Better World 2025 | Signify Company Website

    About the author:

    Harry Verhaar

    Harry Verhaar

    Head of Global Public and Government Affairs at Signify

     

     

     

    For further information, please contact:

    Signify Corporate Communications
    Elco van Groningen
    Tel: +31 6 10 86 55 19
    Email: elco.van.groningen@signify.com

    About Signify

     

    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals and consumers and lighting for the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact connected lighting systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. With 2020 sales of EUR 6.5 billion, we have approximately 37,000 employees and are present in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We achieved carbon neutrality in 2020, have been in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since our IPO for four consecutive years and were named Industry Leader in 2017, 2018 and 2019. News from Signify is located at the Newsroom, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors can be found on the Investor Relations page.

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