Ever wanted to know whether the product in your hand was manufactured using wind energy? Danish turbine manufacturer Vestas wants to make that easier. Announced just prior to the 2011 Zayed Future Energy prize, which Vestas won, the new consumer label, WindMade, will make it easy for manufacturers to demonstrate their sustainability commitments to potential customers. That could be enough of a differentiator when comparing apples to apples to win some hearts and minds.
In Vestas’ own words, WindMade is a “global initiative dedicated to increasing corporate investments in wind power by educating consumers about a corporation’s use of wind energy, and increasing demand for products that embrace this clean and renewable energy source.”
As the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, it’s obviously in Vestas’ interest to increase the usage of wind power, but grain of salt aside, it’s hard to argue that such encouragement is a bad thing. The biggest challenge, I suspect, will be convincing fatigued consumers that yet another trustmark is worth getting to know.
Working on the side of WindMade will be a consortium of reputable brands including the World Wildlife Fund, The Global Wind Energy Council, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Lego (everyone’s other favorite Danish company), and Bloomberg. So the trustworthiness of the trustmark ought to be fairly robust.
Vestas shared some of the details with Fast Company prior to their announcement:
1) Bloomberg will create a “windmade” index – a ranking of companies based on their percentage of various renewable energy use.
2) PWC will vet companies for their inclusion in the program by ensuring that a minimum percentage of a firm’s power is coming from new wind power. Specifically, 12.5% of the company needs to be from wind generating facilities installed after 2010, another 12.5% from wind power in general, plus 25% from “any renewable source.”
Assuming those percentages stick, asking for 50% renewable energy in a manufacturing process is a pretty big deal. It’s a mighty enough goal to satisfy most dark-green consumers, and likely to attract the attention less concerned shoppers as well. It might even be enough to justify a higher product price, though that all remains to be seen. Extra brilliance of the idea lies in it’s appeal to manufacturers. All it takes is one widget maker to achieve the standard over another to make it worth their while to market their WindMade status to consumers.
The rest of the details on WindMade will come to light at Davos, February 28th.
As an aside, Vestas CEO Ditlev Engel, earned some major brownie points at last night’s Zayed awards ceremony by splitting the company’s $1.2 million dollar prize between the WindMade non-profit and the runners up. That’s a class act. Even with the entire program rather obviously benefitting Vestas’ bottom line, what’s not to like?