The electricity market is developing quickly. Liberalisation, internationalisation, product differentiation…
This fast evolution has created opportunities, but also a lot of confusion: How can I switch from one supplier to another? How can I choose an electricity product if we are all on the same grid? Which supplier and what products should I choose? And if I have a green contract, how does this affect my CO2 emissions?
Today, these basic questions get very different answers depending on where you live. Most of the consumers who buy green electricity, do so because they want to make a change. But making a difference is difficult if consumers in different parts of the world get contradictory advice.
Until recently, nobody was coordinating the positions of environmental organisations and consumer organisations. But this has now changed.
Towards a common approach
In 2010 Bellona Russia, the Estonian Fund for Nature, the Latvian Fund for Nature, the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, Ecoserveis and AccioNatura from Spain as well as 100% Energia Verde and REEF from Italy joined forces to develop an international ecolabel for electricity.
From the start, transparency and involvement were cornerstones of the process. The partners followed the procedure prescribed by the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards, and drew inspiration from the approach of the North American Green-e label.
In 2011 and 2012, over 400 stakeholders were consulted: electricity producers, suppliers, consumers, environmental NGOs and authorities. We also held a public consultation.
At the end of 2012, the environmental organisations involved decided to create the EKOenergy Network. They also set up an Advisory Group, to comment once more on the plans. On 23rd February 2013, the EKOenergy Board approved the text ‘EKOenergy – Network and label’.
2013: EKOenergy was launched, the Secretariat was set up to manage and promote the label and a team of international trainees and volunteers was hired. There is a good chance that our multilingual team speaks your language! We started by focusing on Finland, Spain, Italy and Latvia.
2014: We were active on many fronts. The EKOenergy Network expanded to include Germany, France and Poland. We arrived on social media and joined the Global 100% Renewable Energy campaign. We donated the first income of our Climate Fund to a solar project in Tanzania and to river restoration projects in Finland.
2015: The number of new members and licensees grew. We established a cooperation with two Asian NGOs and one Taiwanese seller. We started a lot of new and promising projects, such as a project focusing on green electricity sales in Russia.
2016: The EU funded project, named LIFE, which focuses on freshwater restoration in Finland started. We had a successful campaign with Protect Our Winters Finland and another one with breweries in Spain and Italy.
2017: New campaigns started – a wine campaign with ForGreen in Italy, a campaign for ski centers with Protect Our Winters Sweden and a campaign in the hospitality sector with Green Key International. Additionally we got several sellers which offer EKOenergy since January, and we are working on achieving more success.