During a media briefing in New York City, the WindMade consortium, which consists of Vestas, GWEC, WWF, Bloomberg, LEGO and the UN Global Compact, presented the first proposed technical standard for the WindMade label for companies. This standard contains the main requirements that a company has to fulfil in order to apply for using the label.
Many companies are actually doing this already – think of IKEA, Walmart and Google, which have all invested in their own wind farm plants in the past couple of years. These moves received a lot of media attention, because consumers do care where their products come from. Not only do they want to know which ingredients have been used, but they are also increasingly aware of the source of one of the main ingredients in every product: energy.
With the WindMade logo, companies can finally get an independent certificate for using wind turbines, and communicate this clearly by using a label. Just as with the ‘free trade’ and ‘organic’ labels, consumers will be able to vote with their wallets and support a company with high sustainability standards. They can chose between a world they want, and a world they don’t want.
The company label is a first step for WindMade. It will require companies and organisations to procure at least 25% of their electricity needs from wind power, and the exact share will feature on the label to increase transparency. This can be reached either through direct ownership of wind turbines (such as IKEA, Google and Walmart have done), through long-term power purchase agreements with utilities or wind farm operators, or through pre-approved Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). What matters in all of these options is that the decision to become WindMade has a direct impact on driving investment in NEW wind power development.
So, what is happening now? The proposed technical standard is currently undergoing 60 days of public consultation, and we strongly encourage all interested parties to provide input. It will then be finalised in the autumn, when the first companies can start applying for membership and go through the certification programme.
Also later this year, the work on the standard for the product label will start, to be finalised a few months after that. So, theoretically, you should be able to find the first products carrying the WindMade label in your local supermarket early next year!
We believe it’s a no brainer: consumers demand sustainability and transparency, companies are already doing it, but could and should do much more, and the wind industry will see a strong impact on demand for wind power. It is a win-win situation, really, and the biggest winner will be our planet.
By Angelika Pullen, Communications Director, GWEC, blog.ewea.org/