Winds Of Change: The WindMade™ Partnership

Second in a series on sustainable wind energy, this column focuses on the new, independent not-for-profit, WindMade™, making its global début at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland starting later this week.

There’s a smart Chinese proverb that begins to describe the fire behind a unique new green industry partnership: “When the wind changes direction, there are those who build walls and those who build windmills.”

For anyone paying attention, the adoption of renewable energy through policy has been lumbering and fickle, unable to advance at the pace that dirty fuels continue to pollute the natural world. While there has been no shortage of talk about the need for a national vision to implement one, no long-reaching federal imperative yet exists.

Walking the Talk.

The shiny new brainchild of a unique consortium of leading businesses and organizations, WindMade™, has just been announced. Single-mindedly instigating a bold ethic of conservation to empower consumers, this independent not-for-profit has just committed to raising awareness about the use of wind energy with credible global consumer labeling—the first of its kind for a single energy source. Intended to distinguish products and companies dedicated to using renewable energy, it will help give consumers the transparency they need to better inform their purchases.

The WindMade™ initiative is a direct response to increasing consumer demand for sustainable products: A Gallup survey of more than 25,000 consumers across twenty markets recently showed that ninety-two percent of respondents believe that renewable energy is a good way to mitigate climate change.

Until now, corporations with ambitious renewable targets also have lacked the means to achieve them. They’ve been without an effective global platform that would get the word out about their greener deeds to consumers. But that, too, is changing.

Making Its Mark.

The WindMade™ partnership—a team that includes the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), the U.N. Global Compact, Vestas Wind Systems, The Lego Group, Bloomberg (the Official Data Provider), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and non-profits like the WWF—make up the fledgling organization’s founding membership. Chief among the innovative group’s goals is to establish a peerless standard of transparency for all of its initiatives.

“We want to build a bridge between consumers and companies committed to clean energy, and give them the option to choose more sustainable products,” says Ditlev Engel, CEO and President of Vestas, who helped pioneer WindMade™. “We strongly encourage forward-looking companies to join us in this effort.”

Starting this month, and rolling out more fully over the next few months, the partnership is working on developing credible labeling criteria, to be certified by independent auditors like PwC and conservation watchdog groups like the WWF. From March, a public-hearing process will be open to other corporations, CEOs, NGOs, and citizen groups to allow them to also weigh in on labeling standards for wind-produced products.

Along with consumer labeling, launching on June 15th - Global Wind Day, a ranking for global corporate renewable energy procurement is also planned as part of a multi-tiered program. It will track and make public information about major corporations’ use of the renewable energy to be posted on WindMade.Org, the organization’s planned web site. Additionally, a WindMade™ foundation is on the horizon. It proposes to offer corporations opportunities to increase wind energy access in developing and emerging markets where it is most needed.

This green team’s new resolve promises to be an important contribution for the prevention of global climate change through wind energy and the promotion of resource efficiency and energy security. The founding members, whose post-Davos mission it is to recruit more international players, recognize that the time has come to put the world on a faster track to greater reliance on renewable energy. There seems little doubt that green energy will drive the 21st century economy, secure a safer climate, and provide a livable planet for future generations.

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The next column in the “Winds of Change” series will profile Vestas Wind Systems’ Senior Vice President, Morten Albaek.