Royal Philips Electronics has called for action to ensure that renovation of existing infrastructure and buildings in cities is accelerated in the battle against climate change. At the UN Leadership Forum on Climate Change, Philips called upon governments worldwide to help ensure a green recovery by setting ambitious CO2 reduction targets, as well as strong legislative standards for implementation. The company has put weight behind its appeal by partnering with the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), committing to make cities 40 percent more energy efficient in the next 10 years.
“These are challenging times for business in general,” says Gerard Kleisterlee, CEO of Royal Philips Electronics. “If an ambitious and effective global climate change program can be agreed, it will create the conditions for transformational change of our world economy and deliver the signals that companies need to speed up investment of billions of dollars in energy efficient products, services, technologies and infrastructure such as LED lighting technology.”
More than half of the world’s population now live in cities and they are responsible for 70 percent of global energy consumption. Up to 50 percent of a municipality’s energy spending goes to lighting. Making buildings alone energy-efficient could save more carbon dioxide than the entire emissions of the transport sector. At the same time, the cost of energy efficiency measures is usually greatly overestimated.*
Philips argues that the current rate of renovation of existing infrastructure, based on inefficient 1960s technology or even older, is much too slow. For office lighting for instance, it is only about 6-7 percent per year. In city lighting, it’s just 3 percent. At this pace, it will take 30 years before the environmental, economical and quality of life benefits of latest technologies can be reaped.
The partnership between Philips and the World Green Building Council is intended to set up some 100 local taskforces in the coming years, joining forces with other partners such as governments and civil society to aggressively reduce the world’s carbon emissions over the next ten years that are a direct result of buildings and infrastructure.
“Business can deliver technologies and financial solutions as well as improve awareness. Efficient technologies for all segments exist today, but the one thing we can’t afford is delay their implementation. That’s why governments have to provide economic stimuli and appropriate policies and regulations. So we urge them to act, setting ambitious legislative standards, stimulate the economy to ensure a green recovery and, moreover, lead by example by making their own public buildings, schools and streets energy efficient today. After all, this is a triple win saving us money, reducing emissions and creating new jobs for a green economy,” adds Rudy Provoost, member of the board of