Changes within the VUE from 1.1.2022

April 2021

The work on developing the naturemade brand and label, which was started two years ago at the Conference for the Future, is now almost complete. Last year and at its meeting on 8 April 2021, the Board adopted the most important elements of these changes, which will generally become effective from 1.1.2022. As a result, the label will be aligned even more strongly with a green energy future, and communications with end customers about naturemade-certified energy will be improved thanks to an updated, uniform label. We have outlined the key information about the changes and transition arrangements on this website.

The VUE executive office has additionally collated a factsheet to assist you with informing your end customers about the changes. The factsheet summarises all relevant aspects clearly and concisely to ensure that all naturemade customers receive consistent information.

Please do not hesitate to contact the VUE executive office with any questions, comments or additional information.

The VUE sharpens its vision

We want to see 100% green energy in Switzerland by 2050. This applies to both the country’s energy production and its supply mix.

naturemade sets the credible Swiss quality benchmark for the certification of renewable and green energy, resources and energy neutrality on the national and international level.

Green energy corresponds to the naturemade star quality level.

The quality of the naturemade energy supply mix is superior to that of the average supply mix in Switzerland in terms of both green energy and the portion of new renewable energies or naturemade resources respectively. Moreover, it is aligned with the pathway to achieving our vision.

ONE label – aligned with the VUE’s vision

One key suggestion taken from the 2019 Conference for the Future was the desire to have just ONE straightforward, credible, well-known naturemade label, which will enhance customers’ understanding of which energies and which resources help protect nature and climate.

We have already carefully and successfully adapted our branding and are now addressing the desire to have just ONE label, to modernise the presentation of the quality label and to align the VUE’s vision with the pathway towards 100% green energy.

The clear ecological positioning of naturemade star will be retained in the process.

A clear message: naturemade protects both climate and nature

naturemade energy, resources and energy neutrality meet criteria that go beyond legal requirements as a matter of principle.

Green energy of naturemade star quality is subject to particularly stringent criteria.

The customers buying naturemade energy, resources and energy efficiency help to green Switzerland’s energy system step by step.

The naturemade green fund reflects the VUE’s vision as it contributes to reducing and off-
setting unavoidable impacts of the energy system on climate and nature and substituting non-renewable energies throughout the entire energy system. The green fund thus also
supports the Swiss federal Energy Strategy 2050.

The differentiation of various qualities will be retained:

  • naturemade (previously naturemade basic): protects the climate and is relevant for the energy system
  • naturemade star: protects both climate and nature and is therefore ecological
Schedule for the changes
Availability of new certification guidelines V 4.0 1 May 2021
   
Implementation of new certification guidelines V 4.0 1 January 2022
   
Availability of design guidelines for the new branding 1 May 2021
   
Preparatory work with the new branding From 1 May 2021
   
Dispatch of a media release throughout Switzerland by the VUE 2nd quarter of 2021
   
Implementation of the new branding in production plants From 1 September 2021
   
Implementation of the new branding in supplies from 1.1.2022 From 1 September 2021

 

The year 2022 will be a transition year for implementing the new branding. The new branding should be in exclusive use from 2023 onwards at the latest.

Transitional provisions and contractual adjustments

License agreements for initial certifications in 2021 will still be finalised according to Version 3.1. of the certification guidelines. However, clause 2.1 of such agreements will require licensees to adopt Version 4.0 of the new certification guidelines from 1.1.2022, when these guidelines become effective.

The start date of license agreements for recertifications in 2021 will be 1.1.2022 anyway, and clause 2.1 will therefore already reference V 4.0 of the new certification guidelines applicable from 1.1.2022.

In the 2nd quarter of 2021, all licensees due to renew their license agreements from 2022 onwards will receive a proposal for an amended agreement incorporating the transition to the new system with effect from 1.1.2022.

Where long-term contracts between energy suppliers and end customers extend beyond the term of the licensing agreement, these will continue to be subject to the old system as a matter of principle.

New negotiations regarding long-term supply contracts with end customers and sublicensees from 1 July 2021: In the interests of all suppliers of end customers as well as in the interests of end customers themselves, the Board suggests that all naturemade suppliers negotiate new long-term contracts with end customers (to be valid from 1.1.2022) exclusively on the basis of V. 4.0 of the certification criteria from the key date of 1 July 2021 onwards. The VUE will send a relevant agreement for confirmation by supply licensees at a later time.

This also applies to negotiations and contracts with sub-licensees.

Quality differentiation

Quality differentiation for renewable electricity

On the production side, there will still be two qualities in the future: naturemade and naturemade star.

On the supply side, there will now be just ONE naturemade label for electricity products, which will allow the different percentages of naturemade star electricity in products to be identified in accordance with the defined pathway. The naturemade star percentages will be defined by the Board 5 years in advance at a time.

Electricity subsidised under compensatory feed-in remuneration (KEV-subsidised electricity) may be incorporated into all naturemade-certified electricity products. The following must be noted in this regard:

  • naturemade-certified electricity products with 1–3 dots: The defined minimum quota of naturemade star electricity must always be covered by electricity from naturemade star-certified plants.
  • naturemade star (4 dots) and naturemade resources star-certified electricity products: If KEV-subsidised electricity is incorporated into the product and not backed up by naturemade star or naturemade resources star electricity respectively, the certified electricity product is categorised as comprising a correspondingly lower portion of electricity from naturemade star or naturemade resources star-certified plants respectively.
  • Licensees are responsible for diligent and correct communications with their end customers in any case.
  • There is always the option of voluntarily backing up KEV-subsidised electricity with proofs of origin of naturemade star quality, if the relevant product is to contain 100% electricity of this quality.

Quality differentiation for biogas

On the production side, there will only be one quality in the future, namely naturemade star.

On the supply side, suppliers may continue to label natural gas/biogas products with a biogas content of at least 10%, if it is clearly recognisable that certification only relates to the naturemade portion.

There is no explicitly defined pathway.

Quality differentiation for renewable heat/district heat

On the production side, there will still be two qualities in the future: naturemade (KVA/waste incineration) and naturemade star.

On the supply side, an update for naturemade-certified heat, in particular district heat, is being discussed.

Quality differentiation for electricity, heat, district heat and reusable materials from resources

There is only the naturemade resources star quality on both the production and the supply side.

Quality differentiation for energy neutrality

There is only a supply-side quality for energy neutrality, namely naturemade energy neutral.

Extended green fund

Green fund for electricity

Each kilowatt hour of electricity supplied to end customers in the form of a naturemade certified electricity product is subject to a levy paid into a green fund. The levy is charged on the basis of the naturemade star portion contained in certified products. What is new is that naturemade star-certified electricity from all energy systems is now subject to the levy, including from new renewable energies. This extended scope is offset by a reduction in the amount levied per kWh from 1 cent/kWh to 0.7 cent/kWh. As a result, the overall amounts paid into the funds will be within the same range if the volumes supplied remain the same.

The scope available for using the funds for biodiversity and greening projects will be expanded. Fund monies may be spent on a power plant’s entire hydrological catchment area, in a power plant’s broader environment or now also in the electricity customers’ environment. Even very specific communication initiatives are conceivable, if they support the cause of biodiversity and greening. As a new element, a maximum of 10% of fund monies derived from green hydroelectric power and all fund monies from new renewable energies may now be spent on building green energy production capacities/energy efficiency.

Operators continue to be responsible for managing and using fund monies collected from naturemade star hydroelectric power plants as a matter of principle. However, it is now
envisaged that major, long-term suppliers should be involved in fund managing bodies as a new element. Several funds of naturemade star-certified hydroelectric power plants may merge their fund management.

The licensees of supply licenses will be responsible for fund monies derived from the sale of electricity produced from naturemade star-certified new renewable energy plants (photo-voltaic systems, wind, biomass, drinking water power plants) as a matter of principle. This also applies to supplies to relevant sub-licensees. However, suppliers will be free to manage such fund monies together with an existing fund or to transfer them to a central fund managed by the VUE, if necesssary, provided that the fund monies are identified separately.

Link to the new green fund guidelines

Green fund for biogas

A comparable tool as for electricity is being discussed.

Green fund for heat, resources, energy neutrality

No green fund is envisaged at this stage for supplies of heat, for resources or energy neutrality.

Refreshed branding

We have already carefully and successfully adapted our branding and the new quality levels and are now addressing the desire to have just ONE label, to modernise the presentation of the quality label and to align the VUE’s vision with the pathway towards 100% green energy.

The clear ecological positioning of naturemade star will be retained in the process.

The new quality levels provide energy suppliers with an additional opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to the progressive greening of the energy system.

The parent logo

The VUE Association for Environmentally Sound Energy now communicates using a new parent logo:



The quality label for production

The two naturemade and naturemade star production qualities are visualised as follows in the naturemade quality label. The dots indicate the portion of green energy.

 

The quality label may continue to be shown with a byline (D/F/I/E).

 

The quality label for supply

Four dots in the quality label indicate how closely the naturemade supply matches the VUE’s goal of 100% naturemade star quality. They mark progressively increasing portions of naturemade star quality. These portions, which allow suppliers to use the logo with the respective number of dots, are defined 5 years in advance at a time and apply regardless of the year of certification.

 

The quality label may continue to be complemented by different bylines (D/F/I/E):

 

The naturemade star portions to be contained in the various quality levels of naturemade-certified electricity supplies have been defined as follows for the coming 5 years:

  2022 2023 2024 2025 2026
10% 11% 12% 13% 14%
20% 21% 22% 23% 24%
40% 41% 42% 43% 44%
100% 100% 100% 100% 100%

 

The definition of the naturemade star portions in the various quality levels of naturemade-certified supplies of heat is still ongoing.

 

The quality label for naturemade resources star and naturemade energy neutral