|Purpose||Environmental protection, nature conservation|
EKOenergy is a network of 36 European environmental organisations, with the headquarters in Helsinki. The network supports the growth of renewable energy in Europe and the protection of the climate and environment. The most visible tool of the network is EKOenergy, the European ecolabel for green electricity. Not to be confused with the Canadian heating and cooling company "Ekoenergy".
Aims and motivation
- stimulate the development of the renewable electricity sector
- contribute to the protection of biodiversity, habitats and ecosystem services
- inform consumers about the electricity they are buying and the impact of their purchase
- mobilize the positive energy of thousands of individuals, groups and companies that share our ambition, and to give them the opportunity to get involved
- foster dialogue and join forces with the electricity sector, environmental NGOs and other stakeholders (e.g. consumer organisations and authorities)
Alongside Swedish Bra Miljöval, the Finnish Norppaenergia was the first ecolabel for electricity in the world. FANC (The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation), the biggest environmental NGO in Finland operated the Norppaenergia label since 1998.
In May 2010, FANC announced its intention to create an international ecolabel for electricity. Bellona Russia, the Estonian Nature Fund, the Latvian Fund for Nature, Ecoserveis and AccioNatura from Spain, as well as 100% Energia Verde and REEF from Italy joined the project shortly after. In the initial stages of setting up the network, RECS International also offered its cooperation. Following several rounds of public consultation, on 23rd February 2013, the EKOenergy Board approved the text ‘EKOenergy – Network and Label’.
The governance of the network consists of the Board, the advisory group and the arbitration panel. Every network member selects one representative to be on the Board. The EKOenergy office is hosted by FANC. The work in the office is supported, alongside the staff, by volunteers from the European Voluntary Service and trainees.
The network consists of 36 environmental organisations from 27 European countries. The members included some of the biggest national environmental organisations and small organisations specialised in renewable energy. Every member organisation appoints one person to the Board. All decisions are taken with a 3/4 majority decision.
The EKOenergy label is the most visible tool of the network. It is the only European ecolabel for 100% green electricity. Electricity can only be sold as EKOenergy if the product fulfills the criteria, which are defined by the network. It includes the following aspects:
19 electricity suppliers from 9 European countries currently offer EKOenergy certified electricity. Environmental organisations from 27 countries support EKOenergy. The website is available in 38 languages. Well-known consumers include The Body Shop Finland, Globe Hope, Jalotofu and the Otava Group, which is one of the biggest media companies in Finland.
Results: Climate and Environmental Funds
For every EKOenergy purchase, money goes into the Climate Fund. In the case of EKOenergy from hydropower, money also goes into the Environmental Fund.
The Climate Fund finances renewable energy projects. The first project funded was a solar energy project in Tanzania. In 2011, the Italian NGO Oikos received EU funding to install a small hydro turbine near the Ngarenanyuki Secondary School in the Meru District, Northern Tanzania. In the dry season and during irrigation time, the school often remains without electricity. In May 2014, EKOenergy donated €10,000 to Oikos to install 3kWp of solar panels on the roof of the school. In June 2015, EKOenergy donated a further €18,000 to a project to install solar panels on three schools in South Cameroon for the Swiss organisation Solafrica.
The Environmental Fund finances river restoration projects which reduce the negative impacts of hydropower production. The EKOenergy Network took over an existing fund of the old Finnish ecolabel for electricity, which was managed by FANC. Since 2009, the Environmental Fund has donated a total of €564,000 to projects. For example, EKOenergy invested €50,000 from its Environmental Fund to bring trout and European crayfish back to the River Murronjoki, in Saarijärvi, Central Finland. The contributions to the Fund came from sales of EKOenergy labelled hydropower. The River Murronjoki had been heavily affected by hydropower plants and other industrial activities which were hindering trout migration.
In other standards
The European versions of the LEED Standard explicitly recommend the use of EKOenergy labelled electricity. Buildings aiming at LEED certification can get extra points if the electricity used in that building is EKOenergy certified. The text “LEED 2009 BD+C Supplemental Reference Guide with Alternative Compliance Paths for Europe” gives EKOenergy the same status as Green-e certified RECs in the US. They write: "The EKOenergy electricity certification scheme represents the best available pan-European option for the sustainable and additional consumption of renewable electricity within Europe. EKOenergy certifies renewable electricity that goes beyond the regulations of European directives and national governments of Europe."
Greenhouse Gas Protocol
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is a worldwide standard for carbon accounting. It is a joint product of the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. In January 2015, the Secretariat of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol published the Scope 2 Guidance, which gave advice about carbon accounting. The Guidance refers to EKOenergy several times. Chapter 11, which encourages companies to go one step further, refers to EKOenergy’s Climate Fund.