This, I have to admit, is a real coup for WindMade: Bloomberg US is the first news organisation in the word to receive the WindMade certification label.
This is also good news for the environment: as much as 58% of the power consumption of Bloomberg’s US operations are covered by wind power, and a further 25% by biomass energy. These shares are much higher than the 25% entry level WindMade requires!
Bloomberg believes that this move will give them a competitive edge, and they might well be right – consumers love renewable energy. Once again, this year’s edition of the Global Consumer Wind Study[i] comes to this conclusion, showing that 79% of respondents would prefer to have their electricity generated by renewables, compared to 5% for fossil fuels and 7% for nuclear. And, what’s more, 74% of consumers answered that they would have a more positive perception of brands that use wind power as their main energy source.
Interestingly, the study also shows that a strong focus on environmental marketing can dramatically shift consumers’ perceptions. Out of all industry sectors, it was the automotive industry that was widely perceived as most climate-friendly, notwithstanding the environmental issues related with driving cars. It looks like the car industry has done some good work, maybe not necessarily on saving emissions, but definitely on talking about how green they are!
These findings indicate that there is a real opportunity for brands to enhance their reputation. By using renewable energy (and especially wind), and communicating this well to their customers, a company can make a real difference to the way its brand is perceived.
Clear communication with consumers, however, seems to be an issue. While many companies publish their share of renewable energy use in their annual sustainability reports, this information rarely reaches consumers, so more PR around this is necessary. A label can be a useful tool for this: As many as 75% of consumers consider labels a useful guidance for their purchasing decisions, and 57% said that the WindMade label would be relevant to them.
Further research points in the same direction: This year’s edition of the Corporate Renewable Energy Index[ii], which Bloomberg recently published with Vestas, shows that out of those companies sourcing a majority of their power from renewable sources, most tend to be in the consumer-facing sectors, such as finance, services and consumer goods. Companies often use renewable energy to enhance the ‘greenness’ of their brand, not only vis-à-vis customers, but also shareholders and employees. Overall, the renewable energy share of the respondents’ total power consumption increased from 14% in 2009 to 16% in 2011, so there is clearly still a trend here, even in difficult economic times.
Bloomberg is one of the trend setters when it comes to investment in renewables. Congratulations!
[i] The Global Consumer Wind Study 2012 was commissioned by Vestas and carried out by TNS Gallup, polling over 24,000 consumers in 20 countries on their preferences for renewable energy and the perception of climate-friendly brands.
[ii] The Global Corporate Renewable Energy Index (CREX) 2012 was jointly published by Bloomberg NEF and Vestas, gathering voluntary information from close to 400 companies on their energy procurement.
By Angelika Pullen, WindMade, http://blog.ewea.org/