The Company / Sustainable / Philips Lumec and the environment

Philips Lumec and the environment

Outdoor Lighting Ecodesign

Our Green Roots

Lumec was first confronted by environmental issues in the early ‘80s. Instead of trying to hide from scientific findings, they joined the International Dark-Sky Association to contribute to the solution of the problem of nocturnal light pollution. Lumec’s first decorative, yet Full Cutoff luminaires, were pioneers in the field of outdoor lighting. From that point forward, Lumec worked together with the community and many organizations to further the cause of responsible yet still stunning and high performance lighting fixtures.

With the firm belief that product ecodesign and sound internal environmental practices have become a necessary approach for any business -not only for environmental health but also due to its strategic importance and benefits to business innovation and increased competitiveness- Philips Lumec began a structured and comprehensive sustainable development plan that incorporated internal practices and product design processes. The plan requires a constant rethinking and environmental optimization of every business process, from how people commute to work and organizing a car pool club and bike to work day, to working with Quebec’s foremost industrial research institute designing a dismantling and recycling guide for products ending their lifecycle.

Through internal cooperation, recycle everything and make everything recyclable. If something can’t be recycled, change it or make it recyclable. Constantly reduce the amount of energy you’re using in your operations. Constantly reduce the amount of energy your products need to use. And do all this while making no compromises on product quality, design, or performance.

Our Green Committee

How did we accomplish all our environmentally responsible actions? The answer is simple… Employees, united by a common passion for sustainable development and a common desire to reduce the environmental footprint of the company they work for, joined together and created the Philips Lumec Green Committee.

In 2006, Philips Lumec wanted to know the situation regarding their environmental practices. Instead of hiring an external consultation firm for this analysis, Philips Lumec preferred to invest in the know-how of some of its employees, and encouraged them to become sustainable development ambassadors within the company. That’s how the Green Committee was born; a grouping of approximately ten people from various departments throughout Philips Lumec.

The Green Committee’s mandate was very clear : (1) to be the guardians of sustainable development at Philips Lumec, and (2) to provide upper management with recommendations regarding different projects and actions to be undertaken in order to reduce the company’s environmental footprint. After some thinking, it was decided that one tool would become both the means of analysis and the means of communication: The Annual Sustainability Report.

The members of the Green Committee thus met with all Philips Lumec departments in order to document their various practices, be they green or not. The information was pooled together and the members of the Green Committee wrote down their recommendations and provided management with a short, mid, and long term action plan. Since objectives for each department are decided upon in January, management decided to include objectives for all departments related to sustainable development as well. This way, throughout the year, all the employees contributed to the lowering of Philips Lumec’s environmental footprint with measurable and defined actions. At the end of the year, the Green Committee proceeded with the drafting of a new annual report, which included a follow-up related to the actions undertaken in the previous edition of the report.

Through this process which combines analysis, interpretation, action and retroaction, the annual report is also a tool used to inform and educate upper management on environmental issues related to the outdoor lighting industry, as well as market tendencies that could eventually impact closer to home.

In real-world terms, thanks to the implication of the Green Committee, Philips Lumec is now rated as level 3 by RECYC-QUÉBEC. Level 3 is the highest level of corporate eco-responsibility recognized by the government of Quebec and it acknowledges companies that have implemented exemplary measures to deal with their residual materials. Level 3 means that besides performing sensitization campaigns with its employees, Philips Lumec has managed to put in place various source material reduction, reuse, recycling, and added value policies. It proves that at least 80% of a company’s waste during all stages of production, including pre and post, is being recycled (or will be). Philips Lumec is the first company of its kind in the Province of Québec to receive this rating. Currently Philips Lumec recycles 92% of all waste generated during all stages of production, 12% more than required to obtain the highest possible rating. It’s by taking concrete and measurable actions, from production to transportation, from the way we communicate internally to the way we acquire source material, that Philips Lumec has cemented its commitment to environmental responsibility.

Over time, the members of the Green committee have developed an expertise that is now recognized by other businesses that want to take a step in the direction of sustainable development. Members of the Green Committee have spoken at conferences, have acted as Mentors, and currently belong to many organizations that encourage responsible environmental practices.

Here is a short list of what we’re doing:

  • We make sure that everything we print is printed on 100% post-consumer paperWe encourage the use of more Web-based training tools (Webinars, Web meetings, etc.)
  • We constantly optimize manufacturing procedures in order to reduce energy consumption and waste
  • We encourage local purchasing
  • We reduce transportation distances
  • We reduce transportation weights
  • We encourage bundled shipping
  • We began a program where luminaire components are stored and shipped in reusable light-weight metal cages and not environmentally damaging plastic or cardboard boxesWe make sure that all new products are in line with Philips Lumec’s sustainable development initiatives
  • We chose the materials and procedures that have the least impact on the environment
  • We measure the environmental impact of every aspect of the product for its entire life cycle
  • We measure the environmental impact related to the production of the product
  • We modify material selection procedures so that each component conforms to Philips Lumec’s sustainable development goals

This is but a fraction of what the Green Committee is responsible for. It is a difficult job, and Philips Lumec salutes everyone involved, and their unflinching commitment to this noble goal.