For conscientious consumers who pay particular attention to how the goods they use are made, a new label is soon to adorn packaging to help make sustainability choices easier.
The WindMade label will be the first global consumer label identifying corporations and products made with wind energy—a direct response to increasing consumer demand for sustainable products. The development of the label is supported by several organizations and businesses, including the Global Wind Energy Council and the WWF, and it could appear on packaging as soon as 2012.
“We want to build a bridge between consumers and companies committed to clean energy and give consumers the option to choose more sustainable products. We hope that this will create a strong element of consumer pull, which will accelerate the pace of wind-energy development globally,” said Ditlev Engel, CEO and president for Vestas Wind Systems, who pioneered the WindMade initiative.
In a global survey of more than 25,000 consumers across 20 markets, 92 percent of respondents said they believe renewable energy is a good option for mitigating climate change. If presented with a choice, most of them would prefer products made with wind energy, even at a premium. However, there is currently no way to verify if companies’ energy claims are true.
“Already now, many companies use (or at least claim to use) renewable energy sources,” says Angelika Pullen, communications director for GWEC. “Once the label is available, they will be able to get this certified by an independent body, which will greatly increase the credibility of their efforts.”
The WindMade developers are talking to a number of companies—mostly consumer brands—that are interested in becoming WindMade certified. To use the WindMade label for their communications or products, companies will undergo a certification process, currently being developed by a group of technical experts, to verify their wind energy procurement.
“There are no limits as to what products could be certified, as long as they meet the requirements defined in the standard,” Pullen says. “Classic consumer products are, of course, an obvious choice, but the label could go much beyond that. Why not imagine WindMade events, or metro systems or maybe even entire towns?”
The aim of the certification standard is to drive the development of new wind-power plants over and above what would be developed anyway.
“It is crucial that the WindMade criteria live up to the high standards necessary for the label to serve consumers’ desire to make a tangible impact and boost clean renewables. We believe that voluntary certification is one key to raising the bar for mainstream performance,” says James Leape, director general of WWF.