Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) Announces New Partnership with UNEP

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Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) Announces New Partnership with UNEP

GOGLA announced today a new strategic partnership with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to facilitate a market shift towards energy efficient, off-grid lighting. The collaboration with UNEP will see the launch of an international effort to accelerate the deployment of enabling policies towards sustainable off-grid lighting.

During the UNEP Governing Council Press Conference on February 20, 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya, Wolfgang Gregor, Secretary General of GOGLA, stated:

“GOGLA is the global industry association for the off-grid lighting Industry and has been established to act as the industry advocate for the production and distribution of clean, quality lighting systems to replace fuel-based lighting to benefit society and business in developing counties. It was formed in 2012 as public-private initiative, and includes the participation of the most important stakeholders within the off-grid lighting sector.”

Over 1.3 billion people worldwide live without access to electric light. Approximately 25 billion liters of kerosene are consumed every year for lighting purposes which are emitting 75 million tons of CO2. Consumers are spending up to 30 billion US$ every year for hazardous and inefficient fuel based lighting.

For GOGLA, these environmental issues are important however, the business aspect is equally attractive. For customers in developing countries, solar powered off-grid lighting offers one of the best examples of a sustainable business. Worth almost US$30 billion, the off-grid lighting market offers excellent business opportunities. But more importantly, off-grid lighting helps people and creates jobs in developing and emerging countries.

The main partners of GOGLA are the UNEP/GEF en.lighten initiative, The World Bank, the International Finance Corporation and the US Department of Energy (DOE), as a financial sponsor.

GOGLA is comprised of larger established global lighting companies, as well as new entrepreneurial ventures. Some of these young startups have developed their own business models and are successfully selling products into the double digit millions of dollars and are growing fast.

GOGLA aims to become the voice of the industry for all off-grid lighting companies and other market participants by:

  • positioning off-grid lighting outside the philanthropic arena as a fully recognized industry in a fast growing market
  • working with small and medium enterprises in developing and emerging countries to reduce barriers and increase business opportunities
  • co-operating with legislative bodies to develop directives and regulations that are relevant to the industry on a national, regional and global level
  • providing a platform for industry communications and information sharing to enable equal access to opportunities.

Working Groups form the core of GOGLA:

  • Product Quality Assurance - enhancing product quality assurance and standards
  • Life cycle and Recycling - introducing an environmentally friendly end-of-life strategy
  • Business Models and Market Intelligence - moving beyond altruistic business models; providing scaling models and distribution networks for quality products; and making market information available to the industry
  • Policy and Regulations - impacting policy direction to reduce barriers and enable a greater and more open market.

The UNEP en.lighten is one of the most, successful public/private partnerships between Industry and international institutions. Almost 50 countries are members of the en.lighten initiative’s Global Efficient Lighting Partnership Programme with the goal of reducing their carbon footprint. The commitment of UN Under Secretary-General under the Sustainable Energy for All initiative and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner, for the en.lighten project complements the activities of GOGLA.

GOGLA is enlisting the support of politicians to assist the industry to help countries by removing all investment barriers and unnecessary regulations. First steps must include the elimination of kerosene subsidies and the import duty exemption for off-grid products. GOGLA’s pledge is to create green jobs ensure the payment of fair taxes like other industries in these countries.

GOGLA is also appealing to institutions and donors to eliminate the uncontrolled donations of off-grid lighting products, as this is not sustainable. The products that lower-income people want and are willing to buy is not always what is being offered and delivered. “If we want to change something in the living conditions of the people at the base of the economic pyramid, then we must treat them as customers and not as beneficiaries,” said Gregor.

Donations in one region can destroy the young off-grid industry. The mobile phone industry was successful perhaps precisely because their products were not donated or sold as a "social business".

With off-grid lighting, a very attractive and profitable market has been defined. The products, and entrepreneurs are in place and the customers are waiting. GOGLA and its members assure that today, the off-grid lighting industry is ready to take over y as a key partner to promote socio-economic and environmental benefits.

For more information about the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association:

For more information please contact:
Wolfgang Gregor (GOGLA Secretary General)


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