Harry Verhaar, Philips Lighting: Circular economy and smart LED will “drive the climate change agenda”

Author:
Ilario D'Amato
22 July 2016

Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public & Government Affairs, Philips Lighting

LONDON: Going net-zero carbon is the smart, inevitable choice for the companies of today and of the future – where “the business model fits as a solution glove to all the things that we need to address in the climate change challenge,” says Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public & Government Affairs, Philips Lighting, in a Climate TV interview during the Business & Climate Summit convened in London last month by The Climate Group.

Speaking about the concept of ‘circular economy’, where the industry plans ahead of its cycle how to avoid the production of carbon emission waste, Harry Verhaar underlines how “it drives the technologies, it accelerates innovation, it actually inspires creation of policies – the like that allow you closing of the loop and organizing societies based on services.

“It also stimulates financing, because in the end it incentivizes the latest state-of-the-art technology and that means that you leverage the savings to manage your front investment. But also there’s a common incentive for the most economical solutions, which is best for our customers as well as for ourselves. And those are the most innovative ones, like connected light-emitting diode (LED) lighting.”

LED REVOLUTION

As part of The Climate Group’s RE100 campaign, a collaborative initiative of influential businesses committed to reach 100% renewable electricity, Philips has also confirmed its intention to achieve carbon neutrality in its operations by 2020 – a pledge made during COP21.

The company is also one of the more than 40 groups of stakeholders that are part of the Global Lighting Challenge, which collectively have so far pledged 6 billion LED lighting products and deployed over 100 million LED bulbs globally.

Philips also participates in The Climate Group’s global campaign LED = Lower Emissions Delivered, set to encourage local governments, cities and utilities to embrace the carbon and cost benefits of switching to LED. The campaign, launched last year during Climate Week NYC, is part of The Climate Group’s call on every single city and utility around the world to schedule the switch of their street lighting to LEDs (or as energy efficient) by 2025.

“We lead the global transition to LED lighting or to connected LED lighting,” confirms Harry Verhaar, “so that the solution not only becomes efficient, but it also become smart and you reap the benefits beyond illumination – like safer cities, more productive workplaces, more comfortable homes.

“We encourage cities, states and regions, national authorities, but also other companies to do the same – so that we can help each other and actually accelerate the change that is needed for so many reasons.”

ENERGY-EFFICIENT TECHNOLOGY

LED technology is proven, easy to implement and is already bringing major savings for cities all around the world. Switching all outdoor lighting for cities and municipalities to LEDs, could stop 109 million tons of CO2 entering the atmosphere and save €21 billion (US$23 billion) globally by 2030, Philips estimates.

In 2014, Madrid upgraded all of its street lighting in the largest project of its kind in the world, with 225,000 new energy-efficient lights provided by Philips enabling energy savings of 44% – which should repay the cost of the technology upgrade.

However, “the solution is much broader than just technology,” underlines Harry Verhaar, “and that is captured by the circular economy.

“We actually provide lighting by not selling the hardware but leasing lighting as a service. We just provide a certain amount of light over a certain amount of time, and that’s what people want.

“Also, we can even move to circular lighting to close the loop: we include maintenance, taking back and everything – so you could say that on the material aspects customers have nothing to worry about.”

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