oday, as we tackle the challenges ofdwindling global resources (energy, rawmaterials, water and food), sustainabilityand climate change, the direction weneed to go is crystal clear, but the momentum is just too weak. We are simply not getting to the solutionsquickly enough. When it comes to the mind-set needed to build a low-carbon economy, society can be divided into threebroad categories. First there are the "eco-innovators"who actively seek action, but who are in a minority. Atthe other end of the spectrum are what we call the"eco-laggards," who do not recognise, or even refute,the need for action; this group is also in a minority. Andthird, in the middle, we have the vast majority ofsociety: people who are to some extent "eco-conscious" and agree that action is needed, but whomay need a helping hand to commit their support. Ourtask, then, is to win the hearts and minds of this "eco-majority" and power-up the momentum for change. In creating momentum for change, it is imperative tounderstand the core of the issue at hand. Over the pastdecades, we have created a society that is optimisedtowards lowest initial cost. Our behaviour has becomeprice-tag focused; most of our decision-makingprocesses (e.g. public tendering) as well as the way we(e.g. consumers, media, politicians, businesses) makeour judgments are based primarily on obtaining thelowest initial cost and receiving the fastest instantgratification. This "lowest initial cost" mentalitymeans we are consistently pushing the operational,economic and ecological bill into the future. But wealready know that the next generation will not be ableto pay this bill, let alone ourselves today. In fact, we arethe only species in nature that still lives in afundamentally linear society (with GDP as the keyindicator) that extracts, consumes and emits resources(energy, water, materials, food), and actually still insome places considers the amount of waste weproduce as a sign of prosperity. So we need to movefrom a linear to a circular society (with Quality of Lifeas the key indicator) where an effective use and re-useof resources - starting with energy - creates acompetitive economy centered on the health andwellbeing of our citizens. Our second challenge in winning the hearts and mindsof the eco-conscious majority is to shift emphasis tothe social benefits of sustainability programmes andactivities. We all know the economic arguments aboutenergy-efficient products and processes. Lighting, forexample, represents 19 per cent of global electricityconsumption. Significant savings are possible - onaverage 40 per cent - by switching to energy-efficientlighting solutions. In fact if this "switch" is completedbefore 2020, on a global level these savings canamount to ?128 billion in reduced electricity cost,670 million tonnes of CO2, or the equivalent of 642power plants - in itself representing a ?300 billionsavings in reduced need for power infrastructure. Yetthese arguments alone have not propelled sustainedaction. We must now focus on the social benefits of sustainability drivers, rather than the driversthemselves, to ensure emotional resonance and secure commitment. Our third challenge is to develop and apply a new, moreemotionally appealing lexicon that highlights thebenefits of making positive resource-efficiency choices.How many ordinary people would be inclined to sendtheir children to a "low-carbon school?" It sounds quiteoff-putting. Or a "green" school - it sounds better, butcould carry a political connotation for many parents. AtPhilips, we call schools with energy-efficient systemsTOWARDS A "CIRCULAR"SOCIETY: BUILDING AN ECO-MAJORITY FOR CHANGE014THE NEW ECONOMYHARRY VERHAAR, SENIOR DIRECTOR ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE, PHILIPST
In concrete terms, we need three types of measures todrive this process forward:1. Adopt dynamic energy performance standards, raisingthe bar as technologies progress to phase out oldinefficient products, and combine this with innovativeways to make energy consumption visible and transparent(e.g. through web applications and social media);2. Legislate to encourage the renovation of all existingbuilding stock and other city infrastructure with energyand resource-efficient solutions and approaches. Anambitious commitment to three per cent annual energy-efficiency improvement (compared to the currentcommitment of one per cent) would reduce the need toinvest in zero carbon energy infrastructure (renewableenergy; nuclear; carbon capture and storage) up to2050 by a factor of three, thus dramatically relievingglobal, regional and country budget constraints. 3. Embrace a novel approach to financing solutions,encouraging investors to look more closely at theupfront life-cycle impact of decisions. An examplewould be a "green budgeting" mechanism that wouldintegrate capital and operational expenditure,requiring operational expenses (dominated by risingenergy costs) to be considered up front. All of the above measures are not "just" about savingthe planet, but much more about creating a prosperousfuture for our world, where people have good jobs andenjoy the best possible quality of life. nABOUT THE AUTHORHarry Verhaar has over 20 years of experience in the lighting industry, with his current role being Senior Director Energy and Climate Change, and Head of Strategic Sustainability Initiatives at Philips Lighting. In the past seven years he has been the architect of the lighting strategy on energy and climate change, which has resulted in a global momentum on phasing out of old lighting technologies for cities, non-residential buildings and homes. He is an active member of a number of partnership networks, among which are: The Climate Group, the WBCSD, the World Green Building Council, and the Prince of Wales's Corporate Leadership Group on Climate Change. Mr Verhaar is also a member of the Advisory Board of The Lisbon Council. Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org.ABOUT ROYAL PHILIPS ELECTRONICSRoyal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands is adiversified Health and Wellbeing company, focusedon improving people's lives through timelyinnovations. As a world leader in healthcare, lifestyleand lighting, Philips integrates technologies anddesign into people-centric solutions, based onfundamental customer insights and the brandpromise of "sense and simplicity". News from Philipsis located at www.philips.com/newscenter.THE NEW ECONOMY015Below:SchoolVisionlighting in a primaryschool in Wintelre, The Netherlands"bright schools," a much more appealing designation,with its allusion to better light, better learning and sobrighter children. The narrative and language we use isgoing to be a key in changing behaviour and havingpeople join in on the journey. And there are otherbenefits as well. Our dedicated classroom lighting -which allows teachers to adjust both the brightness andwarmth of the light to suit the activity at hand - hasbeen proven to promote learning by boosting children'sconcentration, motivation and behaviour andsupporting their general feeling of wellbeing. When we answer these challenges - and win theemotional buy-in of the public at large - it will translateto changed voting and buying behaviour of individuals.It will also provide much needed impetus for co-operation between the business community and keypublic stakeholders, who in new public-privatepartnerships can tackle the enormous task of buildingthe low-carbon economy and transforming our linearsociety into a circular and sustainable one.