Would knowing that more wind energy was used to manufacture a cell phone lure you to buy it instead of a similar model made with regular power?
The wind industry hopes so. It's making a high visibility bet that most consumers will be swayed by a new WindMade label that will start appearing on products in the coming year.
The strategy has plenty of precedents. Remember the iconic "Intel Inside" branding campaign? In the course of a few years, by pasting a simple label on practically every PC, Intel transformed its brand image from just-another-chip-maker to that of an industry powerhouse.
The wind industry is hoping its new label -- a circular blue swirl -- will make visible wind's growing, green impact on business and the economy. To that end, WindMade.org, a nonprofit debuted backed by WWF and the Global Wind Energy Council, last week unveiled its first class of companies that will use the mark.
At a press conference in New York, WindMade revealed that -- led by the likes of Bloomberg, Deutsche Bank, LEGO and Motorola Mobility -- more than a dozen companies had signed on to new logo. (Find the full list at the bottom of this post.)
Companies can qualify to use the mark by documenting that they source at least 25 percent of their power from wind energy. The wind power can come either from company-owned turbines, a long-term power purchase agreement, or by buying high quality Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) approved by WindMade.
The label will show the precise percentage of the wind energy share in the product. And companies have the flexibility to certify global, regional or facility level operations, a distinction that will be also clearly displayed on the label.
Companies see the label's potential to burnish their brand's green reputations. The wind industry, meanwhile, is betting the allure of the mark will drive more companies to opt for wind, spurring demand for wind power, and leading to increased investment in new wind capacity.
"It is Motorola Mobility's intent through our participation in the WindMade initiative to encourage greater use of renewable energy sources like wind and solar around the globe," said Bill Olson, director office of sustainability and stewardship at Motorola Mobility in a statement.
WindMade has evidence that consumers will be drawn to the new symbol. In a survey of 31,000 consumers, two thirds "told us they would favor WindMade products, even at a premium," said Morten Albæk in a statement. Albæk is senior vice president of global marketing at Vestas, the Danish wind turbine manufacturer spearheading the initiative.
Next page: Does the world really need another eco-label?