Philips calls for rapid worldwide switch to LED lighting at UN Climate Change Conference (COP17)

December 3, 2011


Tipping point reached in the development of LED lighting to combat climate change, save energy and improve people’s lives

Durban, South Africa: Philips has called for a worldwide switch to LED lighting at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban. The company is stating that a tipping point has been reached in the development of LED lighting that can now be used for general high-quality lighting in almost all applications. A switch to LED lighting will help combat climate change, save energy and improve people’s lives through increased well-being, safety and productivity where they live and work.

At today’s Climate World Summit, a high-level side event convening representatives from the public and private sector, Harry Verhaar, Senior Director for energy and climate change at Philips Lighting, challenged the world’s governments and businesses to make a rapid switch to highly energy-efficient LED lighting.   

“LED lighting offers both dramatic savings in energy use and maintenance costs, while at the same time enhancing the feeling of safety, security and comfort of people on streets and public spaces, in buildings and at home, “ said Verhaar. “ In fact, thanks to the latest solar and battery developments, our LED lighting solutions can provide excellent, reliable and cost-effective lighting solutions for the 1.6 billion people around the world which currently live without electricity. “

Also speaking at the World Climate Summit, Philips Africa CEO, JJ van Dongen, stressed the benefits of LED lighting for African countries. “South Africa has been very proactive in recognizing that investing in energy-efficient and sustainable lighting solutions will reduce consumption and lower public and private costs, while increasing the quality of life. Philips is committed to help African countries invest in a sustainable future by delivering the most innovative and energy-efficient lighting technology. A shift to LED lighting solutions will allow Africa to make a technology leap in the same way as mobile phones are doing right now, and offers Africa and indeed the world very significant benefits”, he said.

Currently, lighting accounts for 19% of global electricity production, according to the IEA (International Energy Agency). Around two thirds of current lighting is based on older, energy wasting technologies developed before 1970. A full switch to the latest energy-efficient LED lighting combined with smart control and management systems could provide very significant energy savings of up to 80% in many applications. Worldwide the switch to LED lighting could save energy consumption for lighting by 40%. This equates to approximately 130 billion euro’s per year in running costs and 670 million tons of avoided carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent output of about 640 medium sized power plants. In most cases it is a simple switch to make. Over two third of the benefit could be achieved in the commercial and industrial world.

Further information

For further information, please contact:

Nick Kelso 
Communication Officer
Senior Communications Manager Philips Lighting Africa.
Telephone: +31 6 100 39 296


Caroline Keulemans
Director External Communications
Philips Lighting, Corporate Communications
Tel: +31 6 51 06 69 49

About Royal Philips Electronics

Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through timely innovations. As a world leader in healthcare, lifestyle and lighting, Philips integrates technologies and design into people-centric solutions, based on fundamental customer insights and the brand promise of “sense and simplicity.” Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips employs over 120,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries worldwide. With sales of EUR 22.3 billion in 2010, the company is a market leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as lifestyle products for personal well-being and pleasure with strong leadership positions in male shaving and grooming, portable entertainment and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at