Philips Lighting Committed to End Light Poverty Around the World

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On Monday January 19th, The International Year of Light 2015 was officially launched at the UNESCO Headquarter in Paris.

During the Opening Ceremony, Philips Lighting CEO, Eric Rondolat, who was one of the speakers announced that Philips Lighting is committed to help end light poverty. He stated “We need to end light poverty for 1.3 billion people by 2030… Eradicating Light Poverty is the most socio-economic thing to do”.  Eric Rondolat also talked about how solar powered LED lighting is an alternative to kerosene.

Eric Rondolat, CEO of Philips Lighting delivering his speech at UNESCO Headquarter in Paris. (All Photos Courtesy of Philips Lighting)

More than 1.3 billion people are trapped in light poverty as they don’t have access to electricity. Most of those affected resort to kerosene lamps and candles to light their homes and businesses. But these primitive light sources claim the lives of 1.5 million people every year through respiratory illnesses and fires – the same number killed annually by HIV-related diseases.

Light poverty affects huge swathes of Africa, Asia and South America with as few as 1.5% of people in South Sudan provided access to electric light. In many developing countries, electrical grids are unviable due to the geographic and financial constraints of linking hundreds of remote communities. However, solar LED technology can provide light at a fraction of the cost of running kerosene lamps, without any of the health, safety or environmental dangers – or the need for major investment in infrastructure.

Light poverty map. (Source: Philips)

“Human suffering on this scale is unacceptable in the 21st century,” said Eric Rondolat. “Solar-powered LED lighting can transform rural communities and save millions of lives. What’s more, it does not have to be invented – it already exists and is proven. I call on politicians to stand together and commit to ending light poverty by 2030.”

A single solar-powered LED lantern uses zero energy and can fill a room with clean, electric light for a one-off cost of $10-20 (£7-14), compared to the $50 (£33) annual fuel bill of running a kerosene lamp. On a larger scale, energy efficient LED luminaires and solar panels can be combined to produce sustainable lighting in public places and bring communities to life outside of daylight hours. These Community Light Centers (CLCs) allow healthcare services and businesses to operate after sunset as well as encouraging sports and other social activities. Philips is in the process of installing 100 CLCs across 12 countries in Africa, where some 500 million people do not have access to light.

Philips Gift of Light program will help end light poverty

The Philips Gift of Light program – an employee engagement initiative in which Philips employees nominated and voted for worthy projects deserving of a Philips gift of light made up of lighting products and services. During the coming months, further projects will be implemented by Philips employees in 17 countries around the world.

Solar LED Lighting for the Democratic Republic of Congo

Philips Lighting has provided a gift of solar powered LED lighting to an off-grid village Bikuku near Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo where 1600 people did not have access to electric light. The donation provides light after dark to homes, businesses and a Community Light Centre (CLC). CLCs allow healthcare services and businesses to operate after sunset as well as encourage sports and other social activities. Philips is in the process of installing 100 CLCs across 12 countries in Africa, where some 500 million people do not have access to light. This particular project is part of the Philips Gift of Light program.

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