Market Transformation Toolkit

Governments and people no longer need to tolerate toxic, fluorescent lights. Ten years ago, fluorescents were promoted as an energy-efficient alternative to incandescent and halogen light bulbs, and the risks associated with mercury in fluorescents were tolerated as a necessary trade-off. Today, thanks to major advances in light-emitting diode (LED) technology, LED lamps are a safer, mercury-free, cost-effective alternative that can replace fluorescent lamps in virtually all applications.

This toolkit is a resource for governments aiming to accelerate the transition to LED lighting in their national market. As OECD governments ban toxic fluorescent lighting due to the mercury content, government officials must protect their lighting markets from becoming dumping grounds for these banned products. In un- and under-regulated markets, fluorescents are still one of the market leaders. This toolkit contains a wide range of suggested interventions including draft policies, initiatives and programs that governments can launch that will push, pull and support a sustained transition toward energy-efficient LED lighting.

The resources offered in this toolkit are organized to follow the United for Efficiency (U4E) integrated policy approach but have been adapted and tailored to focus on lighting markets. The market interventions are grouped into five thematic areas:

Product Standards

Policy interventions that provide a ‘market push’ that protects national markets from being flooded with substandard, poor quality products. Often referred to as Minimum Energy Performance Standards or MEPS[1], these market regulations encompass a collection of requirements that determine which products can be sold and which are blocked. Standards are the cornerstone of a transition to energy-efficient lighting.

Supporting Policies

Market interventions that provide a ‘market pull’ mechanism, either through informing consumers, incentivizing change in the supply chain or similar actions. Examples of supporting policies include product labelling schemes, endorsement labels, procurement specifications and information/communication campaigns to inform consumers and encourage switching to LED lighting.


Affordability identifies solutions for any first-cost challenges that may exist with LED lighting, including fiscal instruments, incentives, import duty relief, Energy Service Companies and revolving green funds. It also considers incentive mechanisms that overcome incremental costs such as electric utility on-bill financing, trade-in schemes and pay-as-you-save schemes which rely on shared energy savings.


As markets transition and policies and programs are implemented, it becomes increasingly important to ensure suppliers and retailers are following the rules, maintaining a level playing field. This includes market monitoring, verification of performance declarations and enforcement actions taken against non-compliant suppliers. Compliance is strengthened through regional cooperation and sharing of information and skills between countries and across regions.

Environmental Management

At the end of life, lighting products should be disposed of responsibly, taking into consideration issues of e-waste and any hazardous chemicals. All fluorescent lamps contain mercury which is one of the top 10 chemicals of major public health concern. Looking holistically, governments can adopt measures in line with global best practice in order to minimize future impacts, establishing a legal framework and program to ensure environmentally sound, end-of-life treatment of all lighting products.