Signify: response to EEB greenwash claims

Last week, The Light Review published a review of an online article by the European Environmental Bureau that accused Signify of engaging in greenwashing by promoting the sale of less efficient, toxic, fluorescent lamps while at the same time heavily promoting the use of LED technology.

We asked Signify for a reply. Here it is:

Signify is the main force driving the switch from fluorescent lighting to energy-efficient LED and smart LED lighting systems – more than 80% of our sales being generated by energy-efficient LED products, systems and services.

We recognize the positive energy savings from LED tubes; however, an outright ban on fluorescent lighting would impose a hasty switch to retrofit LED tubes.

  1. A ban would slow down the transition to more energy-efficient smart LED lighting systems (due to the long life of LED tubes). A product for product replacement is old thinking as the market is moving on to smart LED lighting. In Japan, the auto industry advocated hybrid vehicles. The 10–15-year life of hybrid vehicles locked in many customers, slowing the adoption of more energy-efficient electric vehicles.
  2. A switch to smart LED systems will increase electricity savings by up to 6% for lighting in 2030 vs 2021, in comparison to a hasty switch to LED tubes. This advantage over LED tubes will become gradually bigger in the years thereafter.
  1. The current considered approach will increase the uptake of smart LED systems, offering even greater electricity savings as well as the benefits from connecting lighting to the IoT. For example office lights you can control with your phone; lights attuned to your circadian rhythm, helping you to relax, concentrate, boost productivity; lights that provide internet connectivity, etc.)
  2. The built environment and building industry will benefit from non-disruptive change. Green economic stimuli (through programs like the EU Green Deal) are prompting a more than doubling of building renovation rates to 3% per year, which supports a faster switch to smart LED lighting systems.

We have also contributed to big strides made in mitigating waste related to fluorescent tubes. The collection and recycling of fluorescent lamps in the EU is done by the Collection and Recycling Service Organizations (CRSOs), which we co-founded together with other lighting players in the market. Thanks to CSROs, more than 90% off a tube is recycled.

So then, as a response to claims that your business isn’t being quite as upfront about its sales practices as it might be . . what do you think? Does Signify’s argument stack up? Are they off the greenwashing hook that others seem to hung them on?

If you’d like to comment on the current state of affairs with an industry claiming one thing while delivering something different, email me at

I look forward to hearing from you.

John Bullock is the editor of The Light Review

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