Circular Lighting Report

Why I’m proud to join Recolight, by Ray Molony

Ray Molony

I’ve long been an admirer of Recolight. As a customer of mine when I ran Lux magazine and the LuxLive exhibition, they were great to work with.

And I’ve long admired their achievements. After all, recycling over a third of a billion used lamps isn’t shabby by any stretch.

But what really drew me in was their authenticity. It’s a cliché, but it’s a rare commodity in a commercial world.

Recolight’s CEO Nigel Harvey is a passionate environmentalist, who always puts his principles before his personal convenience. And his ethics have always informed what Recolight does and what it stands for.

I recall being on the Lux Awards judging panel when we named him as the Lux Person of the Year in 2012. In truth, it wasn’t the judging panel’s hardest decision that day.

Now Nigel wants nothing less than to revolutionise the lighting industry.

So when during the pandemic Recolight asked me to chair their webinars on sustainable lighting, I jumped at the chance.

I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that over the last two years they’ve helped lead the conversation about the future of the lighting industry.

And together we’ve just launched the Circular Lighting Live event and the Circular Lighting Report.

I like to think it complements my other project, the Build Back Better Awards, whose values are innovation, creativity, social purpose and environmental leadership.

But I’ll admit that I’m no angel when it comes to the environment. In fact, I’ve written some of this piece on a plane from Dublin. But I AM trying. I cycle to most places if I can. If not I’ll use public transport if I can. Like many boomers, I’m obsessed with minimising waste.

And I’m utterly convinced that we need to move rapidly to a low carbon economy to avoid a climate catastrophe.

And I happen to think there’s a really bright future for our industry if we truly want to play our part.

The move to the circular economy play to our strengths and our skills.

Our creativity, our technical expertise, our knowledge of the market, our closeness to the customer and overall shorter supply chains put us in pole position to benefit.

A circular economy turns the existing luminaires in the ceilings of our customers into assets.

It also turns them into our raw material supply chain. It makes us partners of our customers – where the relationship doesn’t end on commissioning.

As they say in the automotive business, you don’t sell a guy a car, you sell him motoring.

Best of all, it creates ‘spec lock’ products that can’t be easily value engineered.

And it puts clear blue water between our products and the stuff you get on Amazon.

That’s because the business model of global suppliers is the opposite of what a circular economy is about.

We’ve had lots of false dawns in this business.Technologies which never fully delivered on their promise. The Internet of Things, Li-fi, OLED, indoor location tracking, human centric lighting…
So what’s the lesson?  Well, what they have in common is that they were concepts promoted by us in search of a customer pain point, not stuff customers were asking us about.

But it turns out they didn’t want their lights to solve their problems. It turns out they didn’t want for WiFi from the lights, or lights which found the Marmite in a supermarket.

But one thing they are starting to ask for – A LOT – is net zero buildings. They’re asking for sustainability. Not because they’re eco-warriors but because that’s where the money is going. ESG money, pension money, public money.

The lighting industry can have a great story to tell the story.  But we need to educate and create the demand.

Recolight’s activities are key to doing that. Which is why I’m delighted to join the its passionate and talented team. Long live the revolution!

Ray Molony

Recolight Report is an independent guide to the latest developments in sustainable and circular lighting. Learn about the people, products, projects and processes that are shaping our industry’s low carbon future. Plus: explainers on the latest innovations, opinion from thought leaders and video interviews with leading disruptors. Edited by lighting expert, editor and industry figure Ray Molony.