Ambassadors for a better future


    May 06, 2019


    What do Leonardo DiCaprio, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Signify have in common? Together they’re making a difference and bringing clean energy and connectivity to Africa.


    DiCaprio, more than just an actor, is also a fierce advocate of the preservation of our planet; Schwarzenegger has always been an activist, first for health, then for political cooperation and now for climate action; and Signify is taking a leading role to bring better light to the world.


    Each one of these three have different backgrounds but one common goal: provide a better future for the coming generations.


    That’s why, during the first regional edition of the One Planet Summit last March in Nairobi, we co-launched the ‘Global Alliance for Smart Cities in Africa (GASCA) together with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Regions20; the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation; Solektra; JCDecaux and Société Générale.

    GASCA is an integrated solution and a multi-skilled alliance founded by these top companies and global players who share a common vision around the importance of building sustainable and innovative solutions in Africa, bringing clean energy and connectivity to its population.


    During that same week in Nairobi, together with other members of the steering committee, we were invited to speak at the UN Science-Policy-Business Forum (UN SPB Forum).


    The objective was to advise the UN Member State’s Ministers of Environment on what needs to be done to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement.

    GASCA 1

    The keys to change

    Three main points are essential for change to happen.

    First, we need Public Sector leadership to act through targeted initiatives in order to demystify carbon neutrality for society at large, create good case studies, drive job creation and create enhanced public / citizen engagement.


    Second, we need to adopt the required ambition level in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. We can’t afford more delays, as three years have already passed since the agreement was reached in December 2015 at COP21.


    Finally, we need to create integrated policies and enablers for a sustainable energy transition. Instead of escape attempts from a carbon-past, we need to turn this into a race to a cleaner and better future, and that’s why major alliances like GASCA are crucial.


    At Signify we believe that light is a catalyst for productivity, socioeconomic development and people’s wellbeing.


    From this perspective, the GASCA is an exciting initiative to further develop smart solutions in Africa.

    About the author:

    Harry Verhaar

    Harry Verhaar

    Head of Public & Government Affairs, Signify

    For further information, please contact:

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

    Media Assets:


    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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