THE LIGHTING industry can take inspiration from young people to create sustainable change that benefits the planet. Dervan Alleyne, OEM Commercial Director for the UK and Ireland at Signify, shares with Lux the secrets to successfully implementing a net zero goal.
‘When I talk to my three children and answer their questions about what I do at work, I explain that my job involves developing lighting that saves energy and ultimately improves our lives,’ says Dervan Alleyne, OEM Commercial Director for the UK and Ireland at Signify.
The company has long been a champion of sustainability. Indeed earlier this month company CEO Eric Rondolat spoke at the opening ceremony of Climate Week in New York, where climate campaigner Greta Thunberg made an impassioned plea for action over words. It was rare profile for the lighting sector.
‘Putting sustainability at the heart of our purpose as a business is not only the right thing to do but is central to achieving profitable growth,’ says Alleyne.
He accepts that achieving that combination can be challenging. ‘For business leaders the questions can be complex around how they should do their part to save the planet’.
He thinks 2019 could be a watershed in terms of the level of attention on the consequences of climate change on the environment.
He cites the Glastonbury Festival this summer – where nearly 2,000 festival-goers joined climate change campaigners to stage a procession across the Glastonbury site – to Thunberg’s rise to worldwide attention and the protests of the Extinction Rebellion as reasons it’s moved up the agenda so rapidly.
But what’s brought the point home has been the soaring record-breaking temperatures across Europe and North America this summer.
‘The attention the Strike 4 Schools campaign has got, as well as Greta Thunberg’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, shows how climate change has become part of our social discourse, not a special interest topic’ says Alleyne.
‘Now there’s a challenge for policymakers and business leaders to find the solutions that will deliver carbon neutrality’.
Greenhouse gas emissions in the UK will be cut to almost zero by 2050, under the terms of a new government plan to tackle climate change.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May said there was a ‘moral duty to leave this world in a better condition that what we inherited’.
On a wider level, Alleyne believe that existing Paris Agreement targets do not go far enough: ‘carbon neutrality by the end of the century will not stem the incoming tide’.
As a member of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, Signify is calling on European governments to bring forward the deadline for carbon neutrality to 2050.
‘Companies need to take an ethical stance, based on the understanding that what’s good for the planet is good for business.
‘It’s more than just making products greener and more recyclable, but about adopting a more strategic company-wide approach to sustainability.
‘Transitioning to carbon neutrality is one way and brings new opportunities – new markets, jobs and industries – alongside the societal benefits of cleaner air, healthier lifestyles and a more sustainable natural environment’.
European Commission modelling shows that net-zero emissions would mean estimated benefits of up to two per cent of GDP for Europe by 2050.
On a UK-specific level, the government suggests that placing ‘clean growth’ at the heart of the UK’s industrial strategy could see the number of ‘green collar’ jobs grow to two million, and the value of exports from the low carbon economy grow to £170 billion a year by 2030.
‘To achieve this, companies need to embrace a philosophy where sustainability is central to all that they do.
‘That’s why we want to continue to work closely with OEMs to make supply chains more sustainable and bring more energy efficient products to market.’
‘Our own experience of becoming carbon neutral in several markets, including the UK, proves this. That’s why we’ve committed to be completely carbon neutral worldwide by 2020’.
- See Signify’s latest low-energy LED technology at the LuxLive 2019 exhibition. The show takes place on Wednesday 13 November and Thursday 14 November 2018 at ExCeL London. Entry is free if you pre-register HERE.