Carbon neutral light fittings
Netherlands, 19th April 2010
Still in Holland…still no flights…it is quite an extraordinary situation. I can’t remember a time where the airspace was closed for so long. The last time was during 9-11 but not for days like this. And if the volcano remains active producing the ash clouds and the wind keeps blowing this way it can continue for weeks! The funny thing is that here in Holland we have beautiful weather, not a cloud in the sky (and not a plane :)), so it feels a bit surreal.
Besides my project work I am still working my way through the stacks of catalogues and leaflets I brought back from the fair. A bit like looking at holiday pictures once you are back… One of the things I found is that some lighting manufacturers (Philips again leading the way…) are starting to offer carbon neutral fixtures, of course specifically the LED ones. The manufacturer takes the responsibility for offsetting all CO2 emitted during the production of its light fittings. The amount of carbon emitted for producing the light fittings is then offset by purchasing carbon credits from certified carbon credit companies. These companies are specialized in projects that generate carbon credits. Philips claims that producing their Mini- Iridium Cosmopolis streetlight fitting produces 46kg of CO2 per fitting. One carbon credit is equivalent to a verified reduction of 1 ton of CO2.
Now while this is an interesting thought again, one could question the motives similarly as with the UNICEF initiative from IKEA that I mentioned yesterday. I believe the manufacturer’s initiative is good, though I still have some difficulties with the fact that they buy carbon credits rather than actually really reducing the carbon emissions themselves. I also have some hesitation about creating moral guilt when purchasing a light fitting. On one hand it is good for the public to know the company they are buying from is actively involved in carbon emission reductions, but there is a clear danger that it can be commercially exploited to stimulate specific consumer buying.