You know how sometimes you'll be buying paper or coffee or a chair, and you see some products boasting that they were "made with wind energy?" Up to now, you'd have to either take the company at their word, or do a bunch of investigating to see how they're actually powering their factories and facilities. There might soon be some better transparency in this process.
A handful of nonprofit, corporate, and industry partners have just announced the WindMade Standard, which they describe as "the first global consumer label identifying products and corporations made with wind energy."
Wind industry leader Vestas Wind Systems pioneered the WindMade effort, and partners include the World Wildlife Fund, Price Waterhouse Cooper, the UN Global Compact, Bloomberg, The LEGO Group (yes, that LEGO group!), and the Global Wind Energy Council.
So what exactly will the WindMade Standard certification require? According to their website and press release (pdf), the standard for certification is "currently being developed by a technical expert group," but the "aim will be to drive the development of new wind power plants, over and above what would be developed anyway."
Documentation for the WindMade standard consists of four parts:
Of the certification process, James Leape, the Director General of WWF, said, "It is crucial that the WindMade criteria live up to the high standards necessary for the label to serve consumers’ desire to make tangible impact and boost clean renewables."
The WindMade partners will be announcing more details at Davos in February. They're hoping to have final approval of the standard by May, and to unveil the final WindMade standard certification on June 15, 2011, which happens to be Global Wind Day.
I'll be following up with some folks in the wind industry to get a better sense of whether this is the credible standard it should be, or if they're just, um, blowing hot air.