Wonderful, windpowered Copenhagen

April 16, 2012

Copenhagen plans to become the world’s first CO2 neutral capital by 2025, and it’s already got pretty green credentials with its electric buses and free bikes, the world’s most climate-friendly hotel, and even carbon-neutral beer.  But today it notched up another great green landmark as it played host to the world’s first ever event to be certified WindMade. The flagship event of the European Wind Energy Association,  EWEA 2012 Conference & Exhibition in Copenhagen, is the first to be labelled by WindMade as being 100% powered by wind.The total electricity consumed at the conference, exhibition and associated social events, as well as the six month long event preparations, the event itself is being procured exclusively by wind power.

Renewable World is here at the event, as the charity supported by EWEA through a financial donation of 1 Euro for every delegate attending, as well as free conference passes and exhibition space.  This gives us a wonderful opportunity to meet with and thank some of the 50 companies that already support us, as well as to get to know new companies and tell them more about our work. Its been a long day, hard on the feet and the voice, but its a real buzz meeting our supporters face to face and hearing their enthusiasm for our work, and why they personally believe in what we do, and want to continue supporting us.
More taxing, but equally rewarding is answering the questions of people who had not previously come across our work.  If you are a company seeking to support a charity as part of a well-considered CSR strategy, or an individual considering making a donation of your hard-earned cash, you really want to know it is going to a good cause and being spent wisely. So they ask us some pretty tough questions, about how, why and where we do what we do. Too many people have seen or heard of “white elephants” – technology donated to the developing world which has quickly fallen into disuse through lack of finance or skills to maintain it, or perhaps because it wasn’t needed in the first place, or wasn’t appropriate to the local context.  When we explain our strong focus on working in remote communities, often in situations of complete market failure, the full range of support in addition to funding that we provide our local partners, and our emphasis on sustainability in all its aspects – technical, social, financial, and environmental, we know that we are connecting with people who want to make a difference and really value the way we do it – and that is really satisfying. It’s great after a long discussion to hear someone saying “I had become disillusioned – too many charities seem to provide one-off interventions which I worry won’t really make a difference in the long term, but I love the way that you are building livelihoods and helping people to help themselves. It really makes sense.”
Another highlight of the day was the increasing number of online pledges on our Energy4All pledge wall. We were delighted that WindMade was the first company to make a pledge at the conference, and impressed by the commitments of some of our individual pledgers – including installing triple glazing and solar panels!  But you don’t have to do anything that big or  expensive, small changes can make a real difference too. From switching off appliances at night, cycling to work, insulating lofts or changing to a green energy supplier, today’s pledgers proved that everyone can do something in 2012 as part of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for all.
Thanks WindMade!  Have you pledged yet?
Finally, the day was rounded off with a networking reception in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, a museum of ancient cultures.  There was a real “wow factor” as we entered the museum through a cathedral like atrium full of tropical plants, and made new contacts to the sound of chamber music, while surrounded by ancient marble statues.
Networking in the Wintergarden of the Glyptotek
Well, I must be off – got an even longer day tomorrow as I need to get up at the crack of dawn to see off our runners in the EWEA business run, a 5k or 10k run in aid of Renewable World sponsored and organised by Flensborg and Associates together with the Danish Wind Industry Association and EWEA.  More on that tomorrow….