Supply Chain
of »LED-Lamps«

This will inform you about the production and the purchase of
LED lamps: Which challenges have to be met in raw materials and
production countries? How does REWE Group improve social
standards in the supply chain and what can consumers do?

Dr Klaus Mayer, the Head of Quality Assurance at REWE Group, talks about REWE Group's supply chain in an interview

To the interview

Raw and auxiliary materials

LED lamps have become an environmentally conscious alternative to other types of lights. They are very similar to the original light bulb. But they use significantly less electricity and have an extremely long life. In spite of their elaborate production process, they have the best overall life cycle assessment. Rare earth is used in the production of these lamps, among other materials. This form of earth is in short supply and large masses of soil must be moved to reach it. But, unlike earlier energy-saving lamps, they contain no mercury.

Open Raw and auxiliary materialsClose Raw and auxiliary materials

Industry-related challenges

General information

  • Risks of raw material supply: The growing demand for LED lamps must be met by rather limited deposits of raw materials that are primarily found in China

Environment

  • Destruction of landscapes as a result of strip mining and mine tailings
  • High energy needs met with lignite to grind rock
  • Large amounts of water and the use of mining chemicals

Social

  • Working conditions in rare earth mining:
    • Compensation below the breadline
    • Violations of human and labour rights (prohibition of unions, child labour)
Heavy rare earth elements, HREE
Y
Yttrium
Gd
Gadolinium
Tb
Terbium
Dy
Dysprosium
Ho
Holmium
Er
Erbium
Tm
Thulium
Yb
Ytterbium
Lu
Lutetium


Light rare earth elements, LREE
Sc
Scandium
La
Lanthanum
Ce
Cerium
Pr
Praseodymium
Nd
Neodymium
Pm
Promethium
Sm
Samarium
99 Mio.
Worldwide reserves of all rare earth oxides
that can be commercially used:
99,000,000 tonnes
Short-term planned mining areas
Other large deposits
Mine production in 2009

Production

Unlike other lights, the LED lamp is a high tech product. The core component of a typical household LED lamp is a semiconductor (LED chip). This converts electricity into light – while using very little energy. In the process, a luminescent substance that produces a certain colour temperature is applied. During mechanical processing step, a metal jacket (aluminium, zinc) to dissipate residual heat, a plastic cover and a lens to bundle the heat are added. Rare earth is primarily used to produce the luminescent substance that converts the blue or near UV light from the LED chip, while gallium is the main element in the LED chip. The multi-stage production process is done largely in China.

Open ProductionClose Production

LED LED stands for light emitting diode
About 3 per cent of CO2 emissions are created during production.
Production 3%
Other 97%
in %

Share of production in the overall life cycle assessment of LEDs (the largest amount is produced during use). About 3 per cent of CO2 emissions are created during production.

Industry-related challenges

Social

  • Failure to comply with employee rights in the production country China

What we are doing

Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI):

REWE Group is a member of the BSCI, an alliance of companies committed to improving labour and social standards in risk countries. The BSCI's Code of Conduct is based on the conventions of the International Labour Organisation and the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The key sections of the code include a renunciation of child and forced labour and compliance with regulated pay and work schedules.

REWE Group is determined to gradually increase the percentage of revenue produced with goods made by socially audited factories. In 2014, 89 per cent of revenue generated with products acquired by REWE Far East (RFE) was attributed to goods made in socially audited factories (BSCI, SA8000).

Logistics

The LED lamps are transported by ship from the production site in China to logistics centres. They are then transported to the stores of REWE Group.

Open LogisticsClose Logistics

Industry-related challenges

Environment

  • Transport-related greenhouse gas emissions

What we are doing

Logistics

REWE Group Stores

The following store brand LED lamps are sold in REWE Group stores:

  • B1 at toom Baumarkt DIY stores, REWE and PENNY
  • Tec Star as a special offer at PENNY
  • Open REWE Group StoresClose REWE Group Stores

    15000 h
    The life of a LED lamp is 15,000 to 25,000 hours

    Comparison of the qualities of light bulbs, halogen, energy-saving lamps, LED

    Criterion   Light bulb   Wolframite   Energy-saving lamps   LED
    Consumption       ++   +++
    Service life   +   +   ++   +++
    ..stability   +++   +++   -/+   +++
    ...turn-on time   +++   +++   -/++   +++
    Dimmability   +++   +++   -/++   -/++
    Raw materials   Wolframite   Inert gases   Mercury   Rare earth
    Disposal   Household rubbish   Household rubbish   Collection points   Collection points
    Energy label   D – G   C – E   A – B   A – A++

    LED lamps perform very well in terms of energy consumption and service life.

    Industry-related challenges

    General information

    • Huge selection of light technologies (light bulbs, halogen, energy-saving lamps, LED) complicates the process of taking informed buying decisions
    • Proper disposal

    What we are doing

    Return

    • Creation of return opportunities at toom Baumarkt DIY stores as a precondition for recycling

    Consumer information

    • toom Baumarkt DIY stores promote the strengths of LED lamps with fliers

    All figures that do not apply specifically to REWE Group were obtained from widely available business publications.

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