Will companies be impelled to make more of an effort to use clean power if they were publicly recognized for their efforts? The folks behind Windmade are betting they will. Windmade is a new initiative spearheaded by Vestas, the Danish wind company, that will eventually allow companies to place labels on consumer products touting their clean energy commitments. So how, exactly does a company obtain the right to slap a Windmade label on their goods?The energy used to manufacture those products must be at least 25% wind-generated. And the Windmade team's research shows that global climate change is a top concern of consumers around the world -- and that they'd be more likely to purchase products made with clean energy.
Entire organizations will be eligible to receive the Windmade honor as well, if they power a quarter of their operation across the board with wind power. In fact, the debut of the product label is at least a year away -- the label is being rolled out first for organizations that make a strong commitment to wind.
It looks like this:
The label makes it easy to hit the 25% mark. Organizations can either use their own on site wind farms -- as many forward-looking companies have already begun to do -- sign up for a long-term power purchase agreement, or buy enough approved renewable energy credits to ensure that at least a quarter of their energy is coming from wind.
When the time comes for the product label, the specific product in question will have had to be built at a plant or factory (or elsewhere) using wind power in order to qualify.
And that's where this initiative, which was designed to attract more businesses to power their operations with wind, will likely have the largest impact: The label will act as a carrot, in the same way other 'green labels' do, encouraging companies with socially conscious consumer bases to sign on. The actual efficacy of such labels to impact consumer behavior is still hotly debated, of course. And the organization-wide label is a nice pat on the back, but I wonder if companies not already considering alternative energy will be enticed to clean up their energy mix on the behalf of Windmade.
The American Wind Energy Association's Peter Kelley is quick to point out that the best way to get more wind power deployed is through better, more renewable energy-friendly policy (read: pricing carbon, stabilizing and sustaining clean energy tax incentives, a renewable energy standard, etc). In the meantime, however, smaller measures like the implementation of consumer labels should help push businesses -- and consumers -- towards making smarter energy choices.
The standards for Windmade haven't been finalized -- and the group is taking public comments now. Head over to Windmade to voice your opinion about the labeling system.