Friday, January 21, 2011

Label Recognition: Wind Washing?

I came across an interesting article on the NY Times Environmental Blog that was talking about a new label that people may start to come across more as they are shopping.

A few companies are hoping that this label will begin to appear on products in the near future:
Now, a group of companies and environmental organizations, including the wind turbine maker Vestas and the World Wildlife Fund, have unveiled a new label that they hope will tug at consumers’ heartstrings by detailing to what extent wind power was used to make various products. Called “WindMade,” the label will be run by a nonprofit foundation and will require participating companies to undergo certification.

Exactly how the certification process will work has not yet been decided, and further details will be announced this month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the group behind the initiative said.
I want alternative energy to play a bigger role in the world, for both social and economic reasons, but I hope that the requirements to apply this label to your products are strict.

If any corporation that incorporates a fraction of wind energy in their utility bill can slap this label on their products, then I believe that this is just another form of "green washing" which can be seen all over the place these days.

I can appreciate that wind energy has suffered recently due to cheap natural gas cannibalizing demand to switch to wind turbines, but mislabeling products to spark demand for more wind energy is not the answer. It may work in the short run, but ultimately it cheapens the entire concept of clean energy and distracts from the real issues that clean energy is attempting to address.

I remain confident that companies like Vestas and organizations like the WWF will not screw this up, but this is certainly opening the door for other companies to end up creating their own labels that may not have the same standards.

1 comment:

  1. 6 months later, CNN announces the official release of this branding!

    Looks like they got it right!