AAR H US FEST IVAL GO E S WI N DMADE
Aarhus Festival takes first step towards a greener festival and future by test‐running the new global consumer label WindMade. Morten Albæk, senior vice‐president at Vestas, explains what it is all about.
36-year old Morten Albæk is not a typical top business leader. His professional career demonstrates an undeniable talent for business. Yet he is also a philosopher and a keen public debater. WindMade is a brainchild of both the corporate leader and the philosopher. “Windmade is the world’s first global consumer label that helps consumers identify products made by means of one single source of energy, wind. Today the consumer is blindfolded, but with WindMade, you’ll be able to identify which products are made with wind energy.” Vestas launched the WindMade initiative in February 2011 partnered among others by UN Global Compact, GWEC, PwC, Bloomberg, LEGO and WWF. At the turn of the year the first products with the WindMade label will be available in the shops. Before that Aarhus Festival will test-run the current standards for WindMade. This means that all of the events presented by the Festival – from concerts, performances, events in urban spaces, film, litterature and food events - will source all their electricity demand from wind power according to the current draft WindMade standard. To Morten Albæk WindMade and Aarhus Festival is an obvious match: ”This is an alternative way of making a sponsorship deal. Instead of a bronze plaque or a nice logo, we will be activating the WindMade concept at an event which involves several thousand people and which is historical because it is probably the first wind energy based festival in the world”. The citisumer The question is whether sustainable culture is a sustainable idea. Will the festival guests be interested in whether or not the electricity for the loudspeakers or the spotlights comes from wind turbines?
From corporate to NGO Vestas developed the WindMade label, but an independent, non-profit NGO was set up to manage it. This has not been done by any other company before. The underlying logic is simple: An increased consumer demand for products made by wind energy will put pressure on the politicians to expand the market for wind energy, which in the end will benefit wind turbine manufacturers like Vestas. In order to build credibility it was necessary to give WindMade back to the public at large in the shape of an independent, non-profit NGO modelled on such labels as Fairtrade, Organic, FSC or Recycled. Labels that WindMade hopes to emulate, Morten Albæk adds: “This is the seventh global consumer label to be launched, and it can be demonstrated that the other consumer labels have actually had an impact on legislation, but that hasn’t happened overnight. It’s a long slow haul. So I believe – and this is of course easily said – that, if we have this same conversation again in 2015, then we would be able to see the very concrete, manifest results of launching WindMade.” Morten Albæk reinforces each word with rhythmic knocks on his desk and does not lose eye contact. He is clearly passionate about the matter, and several times he refers to well-documented surveys and not least to his own unshakable belief in people’s common sense. “I vow to lay down my weapons and give up the day that proof can be produced that the majority of middle-class consumers in the world have no common sense, but I do insist and believe that they have plenty. It’s just got to be activated.” There is no doubt that WindMade has a formidable advocate in Morten Albæk whose strengths it resembles. Hopefully, the global consumer label will have as good a frontrunner in Aarhus Festival all through its ten days of exclusively wind powered cultural events. Read more on windmade.org.
“WindMade is an attempt to activate not only the consumer in people, but also the citizen. That is why we talk about a citisumer concept, because I don’t think we can separate the consumer from the citizen any longer. You’ve got the ethics you’ve got, and the knowledge you have been equipped with – whether you’re choosing products in a supermarket, which politician to vote for or what cultural experiences to go to.” The same applies to Morten Albæk himself. Whilst he is warmly and passionately advocating the WindMade concept, it is impossible to separate Morten Albæk, the marketing director, who does his best to sell wind turbines, from Morten Albæk, the citizen, who cares about the quality of the planet he will leave to his children.
AAR H U S F EST I VAL
“CO2 emissions have never been as high as they were in 2010. So you and I, all festival goers, and everyone else, who are not devoid of reason, will have to make up our minds whether this is something we think is of durable value, and if not, make some personal choices as to how we can contribute to altering this condition for the better. Quite simply, WindMade is about giving the consumer the possibility for making this choice.”