Why I’m not striking on Friday

    September 27, 2019

    Our Head of Corporate Content, Neil Pattie, is passionate about the fight against climate change. He explains why that commitment has him opting out of the climate strike


    Late in 2005 I was so alarmed on reading a news story on global warming that I started looking for answers. My question was simple: was humankind really contributing to climate change or was it just part of a natural planetary cycle of cooling and warming?


    I called a friend who then worked as a reporter at the BBC. She chastised me for even asking the question. “Of course we’re contributing to global warming, I’m surprised that you of all people should ask,” she said.

    Curiosity drove me to a second opinion. I called my friend, Nicholas Booth, who’d written a book, ‘How Soon is Now,’ about the hole in the ozone layer. I asked him the same question. His answer was more equivocal. “The jury is out,” he explained, “although it’s probable we are.”

    Humankind is contributing to the rapid warming of the planet."

    Since then, masses of data have been collected on the subject and the scientific jury has returned and passed a most damning verdict: humankind is contributing to the rapid warming of the planet.
    wmo stripes
    Annual global temperatures from 1850-2017, blue being the coldest years. Source: 

    The burning question on climate change

    The burning question now is how critical is the situation? And – even more importantly – can we do anything about it?

    Once again, the jury is out. Some say the tipping point – the moment when nothing can be done to save the planet and ourselves – is another decade away while others say it’s already too late and we’re doomed.

    I’m not sure who’s right, but what I can say is that a shiver ran down my spine when I read dire warnings from several members of the UK scientific community. These were from respected scientists I once worked with in the 1990s: people I know to be conservative by nature, and not prone to dramatic statements.

    If they’re worried, I thought, we need to be very worried.

    Can anything be done

    The good news is there’s plenty we can do if we act now. Switching from conventional to energy-efficient lighting such as LED is a simple first step and has already had a huge impact.

    In 2006, lighting accounted for 19% of global electricity use. Last year it fell to 13% and by 2030 is expected to hit 8%. Over the same period, the number of light points is expected to increase by 35%.

    That means we’re getting more and better lighting while using less electricity. And Signify leads the way. In 2018, 79% of our sales comprised energy-efficient products, systems and services. Each day we make a difference, one light bulb, one luminaire, at a time. But more, we also walk the talk.

    Last year Signify reduced its carbon footprint by 49% and we’re on track to be a carbon neutral company in 2020."

    Last year Signify reduced its carbon footprint by 49% and we’re on track to be a carbon neutral company in 2020.

    If we can do it, others can too. Shifting to 100% renewable electricity; moving vehicle fleets to hybrid and electric; making buildings carbon neutral, investing in energy efficiency and offset programs, and developing recyclable products for a Circular Economy. These and other actions make a real difference.

    Like many Signify employees, I was proud to see our CEO Eric Rondolat address the UN General Assembly, calling for a carbon neutral world by 2050 latest and for companies to aim for the more ambitious date of 2030.
    He pointed out that if  countries can achieve an increase in 3% energy efficiency a year, driven by a similar 3% in renovation rates combined with a 3% increase in the use of renewables per year, then we are well on the way to achieving a carbon neutral world by 2050.

    Inactivity is the biggest threat to our species."

    Eric Rondolat at UN Climate Summit
    To do this the world needs to act. The clock is ticking.  As Rondolat told the UN, “Inactivity is the biggest threat to our species.”

    It’s time for us all to do our part. Those supporting the climate strike no doubt share this sentiment. I respect those taking part in peaceful direct action, yet I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that’s actively fighting climate change and committed to creating a better world. How cool is that?

    That’s the reason why I will be at work on Friday.

    About the author:

    Ryan Millar

    Neil Pattie

    Head of Corporate Content

    For further information, please contact:

    Signify Global Integrated Communications
    Neil Pattie
    Tel: + 31 6 15 08 48 17

    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. In 2022, we had sales of EUR 7.5 billion, approximately 35,000 employees and a presence in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We achieved carbon neutrality in our operations in 2020, have been in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since our IPO for six 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.

    Meydan Bridge

    More blogs

    • Global stocktake insights on climate action

      November 30, 2023

      Global stocktake insights on climate action

    • Winter is coming

      November 14, 2023

      Winter is coming

    • A better climate future can happen

      October 17, 2023

      A better climate future can happen