Philips Lighting: RE100 "sends a clear signal to the market that renewable energy is wanted"

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22 September 2016

Philips Lighting has committed to powering its entire operations with 100% renewable electricity by 2020, as part of its RE100 commitment. We hear from Nicola Kimm, Head of Sustainability, Environment, Health & Safety, on how the global lighting company plans to achieve this.

Why is Philips Lighting aiming to become 100% renewable? 

"Fossil fuels are a finite source of energy, that’s clear. Therefore, we want to lead the change and make our operations future proof. Next to that, renewable electricity also simply brings several benefits compared to electricity generated from fossil fuel, for example greater cost stability."

How did you decide on your 100% goal? 

"Philips Lighting believes in walking the talk. Therefore, having committed to being a carbon neutral company in 2020, it only makes sense to also strive for sourcing 100% of electricity from renewable sources in the same year."

What have been your achievements so far? 

"In 2015 we achieved 58% of our global electricity consumption coming from renewable sources. This covered almost all our electricity use in Europe, and the largest part of our consumption in the Unites States. From December 2016 onwards, our US operations will be supplied for 100% with renewable electricity from our Power Purchase Agreement at the Hidalgo Wind Farm in McCook, Texas."

What challenges and opportunities are you experiencing as you work towards your 100% goal? 

"As for many other companies, so far, availability of renewables in our Asian operations has been challenging. Also, our manufacturing footprint is heavily influenced by the rapid shift in lighting technology from conventional light sources to light-emitting diode (LED). This sometimes complicates the longer time frame commitment required for shifting to renewables."

What are your plans for switching to renewables going forward? 

"We are working with our current energy providers to explore all viable options for switching to renewables sources; where possible we will switch to locally generated renewable electricity. Also we are closely monitoring the development of renewables generation and tracking and cancellation schemes for renewable energy certificates in markets of interest."

Why do you think it is important for companies to help increase demand for renewable electricity? 

"Over the past years we've seen the cost of renewable electricity coming down significantly, this is - in part - driven by solar and wind technology finally being able to achieve economies of scale. For renewable electricity to become truly cost-competitive, also when unsubsidized, it needs large volumes to be committed to leverage size and scale."

Why do you think RE100 is a good initiative to join? 

"By joining RE100, companies can show thought leadership on a topic that will remain relevant in the years and decade - or decades - to come. The platform also sends a clear signal to the market that renewable energy is wanted and its availability should become common good, no matter where businesses are operating."

What else are you doing to help drive a low carbon economy based on net zero emissions? 

"We lead the global transition to connected LED lighting. LED technology is proven, easy to implement and is already bringing major energy savings all around the world. Combining the LED revolution with a switch to renewable sources of power, brings maximum impact in our battle against climate change and achieving net zero emissions as a society. 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."

by Marie Reynolds

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