Accelerating the transition to clean, energy-efficient LED lighting through the Minamata Convention on Mercury.


At the upcoming Fifth Meeting of Parties at the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP5), Regions around the world will have an opportunity to adopt a policy to phase out linear fluorescent lamps and reap the associated health, climate and economic benefits. 


Transitioning to clean, energy-efficient LED lighting in Africa is an opportunity to protect both human and environmental health, while simultaneously stimulating economic and industry growth. Currently, the Africa lighting market is hugely under-regulated, making it a hot-spot for possible environmental dumping as wealthier countries phase out mercury lighting products. With harmonized lighting regulations and investment in new LED businesses across the continent, Africa can supply its own growing demand for energy-efficient lighting products.

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Asia is the largest manufacturer and exporter of lighting products. In 2019, China exported a total of USD $5.35 billion, accounting for about 80% of total global exports that year. Supporting the transition to clean, energy-efficient LEDs would help the region retain its status as the global leader in the manufacture, assembly, and exporter of lighting products.

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EU has already banned fluorescent lighting for domestic sale, but allows for the continued manufacture and export of those products to markets abroad. In December 2021, the European Commission made a decision under the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive to ban the sales of nearly all LFLs and CFLs in 2023. Supporting a global ban will demonstrate a commitment to an equitable global transition to clean lighting.

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The LAC region is a net importer of fluorescent lamps, with nearly no manufacturing of fluorescent lighting. Most CFL manufacturers have already transitioned to producing LEDs. Furthermore, there are many LED manufacturing and assembly companies in several countries in the region, accounting for an important share of the LAC LED market (19 of the top 50 LED companies in LAC are local, and together, these account for 12.7% of the LAC market share, or 395.72 million USD). By supporting a LFL phase out by 2025, the LAC policymakers will protect their region from becoming a dumping ground for toxic mercury-containing lamps that threaten human and environmental health.

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The U.S. and Canada are already taking steps to phase out fluorescents in favor of mercury-free LEDs. The U.S. Department of Energy proposed a new regulation that would raise energy efficiency requirements, phasing compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) from the US market. In 2022, Vermont, and California became the first US states to adopt clean lighting bills – and more states are expected to do the same in 2023. Canada also published a draft proposal in 2022 to phase-out all fluorescent lamps containing mercury (CFLs and LFLs).

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