Signify vows to be plastic-free on all consumer packaging by next year
Written by Tim Greenhalgh
Signify, a world leader in lighting, has stepped up with a commitment to zero plastic in its consumer packaging.
The global company, formerly Philips Lighting, says that within 12 months it will shift to paper-based packaging which will avoid the use of more than 2,500 tonnes of plastic a year.
That’s equivalent to around 125 million plastic bottles, which the company calculates would stretch more than 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles), roughly the distance from Tromsø in the north of Norway, to Gibraltar at the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula, and back.
Eight million tons of plastic end up in the oceans annually, killing one million marine birds and threatening hundreds of marine life species.
The company currently is committed to using packaging that contains more than 80% recycled paper and virgin materials that must be from certified renewable sources. Where paper-based materials aren’t applicable, Signify looks into other non-plastic alternatives.
Signify has already started the phase-out of plastic by removing commonly used plastic inserts from Philips Hue LED bulb packaging. It has also selected paper foam to package the recently launched Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box.
It will start replacing blister packs housing the energy-saving LED bulbs with paper-based box packaging in Europe in the third quarter of this year, and the rest of the world following from the start of 2021.
The move should also reduce the company’s emissions. The new packaging is smaller, reducing carbon emissions from transport and the materials used 6,000 tonnes per year – equivalent to the amount of CO2 that 270,000 fully grown trees can absorb in a year.
Signify’s chief executive Eric Rondolat said:
“Plastic waste has a very negative impact on our planet and its biodiversity and we decided that we must take a leading role and start using plastic-free alternatives. It is the right thing to do and meets the increasing expectations of our customers. I look forward to the moment that we can announce that we no longer use plastics in our packaging.”
Consumers have applauded Signify for its environmentally-friendly action in the Pacific region in the plastic blister packaging for its LED lamps with paper-based materials. The company also had increased sales there.
The packaging commitment builds into Signify’s Brighter Lives, Better World sustainability programme and it was recognised in 2019 by being named Industry Leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the third year in a row.
The global company is on track to reach carbon neutrality by the end of the year. It currently operates as a carbon-neutral business in 15 of its 19 markets.
Aside from sustainable packaging, Signify research indicates that a global switch to LEDs could avoid more than 400 million tonnes of CO2 emissions while generating more than £70 billion in cost savings.
LEDs can reduce energy consumption by up to 80% and quality products like those in the Philips range can last for more than a decade with average use. Browse our LED products.
Find out more about how you can reduce your single-use plastic consumption in our Sustainable Living section.