Environmental management at Real Green Lighting includes the sustainable handling of energy, water, waste and chemicals as well as the control of air pollution. Above that, the environmentally conscious design and recycling of products play an important role. These objectives are defined in our EHS guidelines and are therefore mandatory for all locations of operation worldwide. In order to continually monitor the degree of achievement of our objectives for environmental protection, we have created an organization with clearly defined areas of responsibility and a systematic management system certified according to the international standard ISO 14001 for continuous improvement processes.
Environmental management according to ISO 14001
Since 1996, the international standard ISO 14001 has served as the basis for creating environmental management systems. It aims to continually improve environmental protection measures throughout the industry. A company can obtain ISO 14001 certification by:
Pursuing concrete environmental policies, including the establishment of environmental guidelines
Conducting regular environmental analyses aimed at establishing new environmental objectives and environmental programs to meet changing needs
Defining and documenting the allocation of funds for environmental protection
Conducting regular internal environmental management checks
Conducting regular evaluations of its environmental management and making changes where needed
Environmental protection at our production sites
Responsibility for environmental protection at Real Green Lighting lies clearly with company management and is supervised by the EHS department which handles company-wide coordination and continued development. At individual plants, managers and their department heads are responsible for practical implementation. The plants receive support and advice from our environmental experts on energy, water, waste, chemicals and air pollution.
Internal monitoring and environmental analyses
We regularly monitor our environmental management and conduct analyses to test the progress made in environmental protection and ensure that it complies with the EHS guidelines. This monitoring and analysis is carried out by our EHS department. Real Green Lighting uses these results to ensure that all relevant legal and other requirements are respected and to explore innovative ways of improving environmental protection at Real Green Lighting. For environmental reporting we have globally implemented a web-based EHS software suite. Each Real Green Lighting site exceeding a defined threshold in energy consumption, emissions or waste production is required to quarterly report its environmental figures.
Sustainability in Transport Logistics
Sustainability plays an important role for us also in transport logistics because the combustion of fuel produces CO2 emissions. Real Green Lighting records these CO2 emissions so that they can be minimized by making the most efficient use of transport facilities.
Water – a precious and scarce resource
Around 70 percent of our planet is covered with water – over 1.4 billion cubic kilometers. However, most of this water is not directly useable for mankind as it is saltwater, or trapped in permafrost soils and ice. Thus, only 0.3 percent of this huge amount remains as drinking water. In spite of this low percentage there would be enough water to cater to the needs of the world’s population. Nonetheless, water is not equally available in all parts of the world. This is why some regions have an abundant supply of water while others suffer from aridity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one sixth of the world’s population has no access to improved drinking water.
But we are not only dependent on water in our basic human needs. It is also one of the most important resources in the industry. Thus, Real Green Lighting committed itself in its guidelines to manage water and other precious resources sustainably.
Sustainable Water Management at Real Green Lighting
In the production of lighting products water is mainly needed for cooling processes, and thus hardly polluted. But for Real Green Lighting it is still of great importance to use water responsibly and sparingly. Thus we make sure to either clean polluted water ourselves or redirect it to local sewage plants. Furthermore we consider the scarcity of this precious resource in all our production processes. This is why we are proud to have seen water consumption decline in absolute numbers over the past years.
The adaptation of water management to the local availability of water is of great importance to Real Green Lighting. For this reason we keep an extra eye on those production sites that are located in areas of water stress or scarcity. There we place a special focus on continuously monitoring and improving our production processes to make them ever more water-efficient, and thus more economical as well as ecological. Many Real Green Lighting production sites have taken steps to use the most environmentally advanced production techniques that reduce the usage of water to a minimum.
Sustainability Criteria for Our Products
To measure the sustainability of our products, Real Green Lighting has identified the following relevant performance characteristics.
Key Performance Indicators
The three values in the inner circle constitute pivotal indicators for the sustainable performance of our products. Concerning these indicators, we follow a ’no step backwards’ policy when developing new products. Hence, we make it our responsibility to consistently improve the efficacy and life of our products and to further reduce their hazardous contents. This way, we assure a process of continuous improvement.
In several aspects the rated life of product is of great importance. A longer lasting product means less use of resources, less cost for transportation, and less waste to be recycled at the end of its life. In brief, less environmental impact per hour of light. In addition to this environmental advantage, the customer benefits from a longer life in terms of not having to replace the products as often.
Modern lighting technology consists of highly complex products using different technologies to generate light. we have constantly reduced or eliminated hazardous materials in our products and strive for further reduction or elimination. But in some Real Green Lighting products the use of harmful substances is still unavoidable at present. In the last few years mercury has moved into public focus owing to the discussion on replacing inefficient incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps, which contain minute amounts of mercury. However, for this group of lamps, using mercury continues to be unmatched for generating energy efficient lighting.
In addition to mercury, there are other hazardous substances that are necessary for modern lighting products. To minimize their use, Real Green Lighting has compiled an Index List Environment (ILE) which contains substances we prohibit in our products, and substances which we are reducing to the lowest possible levels. To manage their content in our products, we require our suppliers to peruse our ILE, disclose any relevant substance, and confirm their compliance with all these provisions.
Product Lifecycle Management
Product life cycle
The product life cycle comprises the entire life of a product, from raw material extraction and acquisition, through material production and manufacturing, to use and end of life treatment including recycling and final disposal. In other words, a product life cycle encompasses the consecutive and interlinked stages of a product from cradle to grave, or rather from cradle to cradle with regard to recycling.
Life cycle analysis of Real Green Lighting products
Our products affect the environment in a variety of ways. Obviously, they are made in factories that have an environmental footprint and they significantly impact on the environment during their use. However, in order to evaluate lamps and how they actually deal with energy and resources, it is not enough just to consider single stages of their life cycle. Thus, the life cycle analysis (LCA) of a product considers the environmental aspects and potential environmental impacts of a product throughout its entire life cycle.
We avoid waste wherever possible. Our lamps only contain a minimum amount of environmentally damaging substances and we do not use unnecessary packaging materials. We continuously work on improving our products to make them as recyclable as possible. When developing new products, we reduce the amount of harmful substances or, if possible, completely replace them with harmless substances.
Fluorescent lamps and discharge lamps contain small amounts of mercury and valuable raw materials such as rare earths. LED lamps and luminaires also contain valuable raw materials as well as electronic components. That is why these products should not be thrown out with the garbage or other glass, but have to be collected separately and recycled or be disposed of safely in accordance with the WEEE directive.
Lamps are ideal for recycling as more than 90% of a lamp's components can be reused.
Artificial light accounts for around 15 % of the worldwide consumption of electricity and thus for a considerable proportion of CO2 emissions. This amount can be significantly reduced by replacing inefficient technologies with sustainable lighting solutions from components and luminaires to light management systems. A holistic approach to sustainable development and sustainable products is of great importance to Real Green Lighting. We continuously work on an improvement to more environmentally friendly production processes.