When it comes to assessing overall performance, the lighting industry tends to look inwards first. and nowhere else after that. Perhaps that's the case with every industry. The lighting business cares about things like energy efficiency, developing wonderful light sources and super-efficient light fixtures, so it believes that its sustainability credentials are sound. Well, only to a point.
If we were to take the eight headline issues that go to make up a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy, the lighting industry would probably order the priorities in this way:
1. The Environment (energy efficiency)
2. Product Responsibility (quality of design and manufacture)
3. Society (the customer)
4. Corporate Governance (how the business is run)
5. Labour Practices (employee contracts)
6. Human Rights (honouring the rights of men and women in general)
7. Community Development (doing good things)
In other words, organisations concern themselves mostly with the things they feel they have influence over and the further away from the front door an issue appears to be, the less importance it is given.
The problem for the manufacturer is that there is a very different view in the world at large. There is huge support for ethical business performance, and that support puts the issues of human rights, localism and labour practices very high on the ethical agenda. Perhaps because the person in the street feels that the technical side of things can be left safely in the hands of a business that puts ethical behaviour higher up its priority list.
A recent report by FairPensions: Ethically Engaged? A survey of UK ethical funds is critical of financial fund managers who do not take ethical business principles seriously. The report points out that ethical funds tend to be chosen by pension savers who are more concerned with non-financial impacts; forced and child labour, fraud and corruption, as well as environmental impacts. Ethical funds have over 11bn under management, so this is no small beer, but the report concludes that these fund managers need to work harder for its clients and find better ways of communicating its decision-making and be far more transparent about how it selects organisations for its ethical portfolios.
That is a message that should echo around all business sectors; customers may have very different priorities to the organisation and it's the organisation's job to ensure that it's doing the things that give it the kind of ethical credentials that really mean something to a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy.
For more on the FairPensions campaign and how you might be able to influence your own pension fund - click here.
Greenwashing: a guidline for good behaviour
The elephant box in the room
What Lighting Designers Should be Looking For . . . and Asking For
The Children's Fire
Products That Last - Redux
Products That Last - Review No.3
Products That Last - Review No.2
Products That Last - Review No.1
Products That Last
Talking about Waste - as we were . . .
Sustainability - They Seek it Here, They Seek it There . . .
Sustainability - the core message
The Life and Times of the LED - a series in ten parts
Sustainability: They Seek it Here; They Seek it There . . .
John Bullock writes a regular column for lighting magazines. You can find all of the archived pieces here.
BLOGS - LIGHTING DESIGN
John Bullock writes about all things and anything concerning architectural lighting design; new technologies and old lamps; anything,really.
HOME LIGHTING CONSULTANT
John Bullock designs innovative lighting designs for people's homes. By working closely with clients he is able to deliver solutions that meet - and exceed - their expectations.
BLOGS - CPD RIBA CORE PROGRAMME 2015
John Bullock will be presenting a seminar on latest lighting design and technologies as part of the RIBA CPD Core programme 2015
BLOGS - SUSTAINABILITY
John Bullock believes that the UK lighting industry needs to embrace a sustainable way of delivering good quality product through good design, fabrication and end-of-life management.
BLOGS - LIGHTING HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Lighting has a vital role to play in our health and wellbeing.
CONDUIT (6) - Lighting for Winter Gardens
CONDUIT 5: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (2)
FX Magazine: Lighting Focus - Sustainability (Issue 258)
CONDUIT 4: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (1)
Can Smart Lighting Save The Planet?
CONDUIT 3: Home Lighting - The Bathroom
Can Lighting Save Us From Ourselves . . . NO!
CONDUIT 2: Home Lighting - The Dining Room