The incandescent lamp ban has been rescinded in favour of a voluntary agreement for big retailers and manufacturers to stop restocking and stop selling them by the end of the year. Inevitably Incandescent lamps will become more difficult to buy but they will remain available through smaller, specialist retailers thus allowing people who do not want to, or cannot for health reasons use CFL or LED lamp to obtain products that they want to use.
The decision was made by environment officials who say a public consultation that closed more than a year ago found no majority public support for a mandatory approach. The Hong Kong Government had proposed legislation to eliminate the bulbs from the market, saying it would be faster and more effective than voluntary measures or market forces. But now they say a legal ban will take three years to introduce, including a one-year grace period, and that is too long, according to a paper submitted to lawmakers by the Environment Bureau yesterday.
Philips lighting reaction has been very interesting. A spokesperson in Hong Kong said officials had approached the company a few weeks ago but it would not decide whether to join the charter until it had more details. “If the charter is supported across the industry, we would be happy to join.” Obviously the much vaunted environmental policies come second to retaining market share. The explains their preference for legislation to get rid of products that are less profitable for them without their competitors being able to sell them.
It is a shame that the European Commission are not as democratic as the Hong Kong government who have clearly put the wishes of their people expressed in public consultation ahead of the profitability of big companies.
Kevan Shaw, December 20, 2012