Few actions could reduce global carbon emissions as expensively and easily as the phase-out of inefficient lighting, making it one of the most effective and economically advantageous ways to combat climate change.


Lighting from electricity accounts for approximately 15 per cent of global energy consumption and five per cent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Unless policies are implemented immediately to address this issue, overall energy consumption for lighting will have grown by 60 – 70 per cent by 2030 with dramatic consequences for climate change. The phase-out of inefficient incandescent lamps provides one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reduce carbon emissions.


The UNEP/Global Environment Facility (GEF) en.lighten initiative supports countries in implementing policies and concrete measures that will accelerate market transformation to efficient lighting technologies. A target date for the global phase-out of all inefficient lighting has been set for the end of 2016.

In order to mobilize efforts to make the global transition to efficient lighting a reality, UNEP has convened government representatives and international lighting experts from over 40 organizations representing 30 countries, to provide guidance on the development and implementation of successful efficient lighting strategies.

Shifting to energy efficient lighting significantly lowers electricity bills, reduces energy imports, improves end-user welfare and reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The replacement of all inefficient on-grid and off-grid lighting in the world yield annual cost savings of over US$140 billion and would also achieve annual CO2 reductions of 580 million tonnes, more than the emissions of the entire United Kingdom.

As part of the en.lighten initiative, UNEP has published Country Lighting Assessments for over 150 countries for on-grid and for 80 countries for off-grid lighting. The Country Lighting Assessments highlight the energy, financial and CO2 savings potential of efficient lighting. It also published the online global policy map for efficient lighting that provides an overview of readiness of countries with regard to efficient lighting policies, programmes and successes.


en.lighten initiative

The UNEP/GEF en.lighten initiative has been established to accelerate the global market transformation to environmentally sustainable lighting technologies by developing a coordinated global strategy and providing technical support for the phase-out of inefficient lighting.

The en.lighten initiative supports national regulators and regional bodies in the development of policies, strategies and actions for the phase-out of inefficient lighting products.  To date, 55 developing and emerging countries have joined the Global Efficient Lighting Partnership Programme to transition to energy efficient lighting by the target date of the end of 2016.

The initiative is a public/private partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme, OSRAM and Philips Lighting, with the support of the Global Environment Facility. The National Lighting Test Centre of China became a Partner in 2011. The most recent partner is the Australian Government to support developing countries in South-East Asia and the Pacific in their efforts to respond to climate change.