Signify contracted South Pole for support on meeting a range of ambitious sustainability measures set out in its 'Brighter Lives, Better World' program, including achieving carbon neutrality and sourcing 100% renewable electricity by 2020. Thanks to South Pole's broad portfolio of international offsets and renewable energy certificates and its ability to develop tailored projects, the company was able to select the range of actions that best match its sustainability strategy and brand. Signify will not only offset its carbon emissions, it will also highlight the potential of light to improve lives by introducing innovative technologies to developing economies.
The Brighter Lives, Better World program encompasses Signify's company vision to minimise their impact on the environment and unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. This sustainability goal is built on a range of concrete commitments including, but not limited to, achieving carbon neutrality and 100% renewable electricity use by 2020.
Having already reduced its carbon footprint by 54% since 2007 by improving energy efficiency throughout its manufacturing processes and switching to renewable electricity across many countries of operation, Signify wanted to take further ambitious steps. It aims to compensate for the emissions generated by combustion in operations, purchased electricity, logistics and business travel to become carbon neutral by 2020.
Signify built a portfolio of carbon offsetting projects from which to source carbon credits. To maximise the impact of their carbon finance investments, they included different types of projects, all of which reduce carbon emissions by applying innovative technology in emerging economies across the world. By offsetting with a run-of-river hydropower project in China, a biogas project in Thailand and an avoided deforestation and sustainable communities project in Zimbabwe, Signify were able to promote renewable energy generation and environmental protection globally. In addition to this, supporting these projects provides jobs, improves health conditions and creates better livelihoods for communities in emerging economies.
In 2016, Signify financed three carbon offset projects with South Pole to compensate for unavoidable company emissions and further their journey towards carbon neutrality by 2020. In total they sourced 122,000 metric tons of carbon credits, offsetting 23% of their 2016 operational carbon footprint. Sustainability performance is of increasing importance to Signify. They found customers across their broad B2C, B2B and B2G industries are more interested in products that are sustainable and from a company with a good reputation for sustainability. Having a well-designed carbon offsetting program lends credibility and gives Signify an advantage in the supplier market.
These steps towards carbon neutrality also had internal benefits. South Pole prepared videos of three projects that Signify employees could select via an online global voting event. By showing leadership in the journey towards carbon neutrality, Signify employees took an active role in defining its sustainability strategy and are now motivated to become ambassadors for action on climate and development.
During our search for a carbon offsetting partnership, South Pole showed the best understanding of our key drivers for wanting to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as 2020. Our common values provide a solid foundation for our partnership to build on.