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.
- 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
- 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
- Working conditions in rare earth mining:
- Compensation below the breadline
- Violations of human and labour rights (prohibition of unions, child labour)
Light rare earth elements, LREE
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.
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.
- Failure to comply with employee rights in the production country China
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).
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.
REWE Group Stores
The following store brand LED lamps are sold in REWE Group stores:
Comparison of the qualities of light bulbs, halogen, energy-saving lamps, LED
|Criterion||Light bulb||Wolframite||Energy-saving lamps||LED|
|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.
- Huge selection of light technologies (light bulbs, halogen, energy-saving lamps, LED) complicates the process of taking informed buying decisions
- Proper disposal
- Creation of return opportunities at toom Baumarkt DIY stores as a precondition for recycling
- 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.