FAQs about the naturemade quality label

Why is there a need for the naturemade quality label for energy?

Energy quality is not something that is tangible. That’s why it is virtually impossible for energy consumers to verify whether they actually receive electricity, biomethane and heat in the quality they have subscribed to – 100% renewable with continual environmental improvements and, in case of naturemade star, even 100% green. The naturemade quality scheme verifies the quality of the energy balance and criteria for you. naturemade certification gives energy products credibility.

What does the naturemade quality label stand for?

naturemade stands for renewable (naturemade basic) and green energy/eco-power (naturemade star). This quality label guarantees that certified electricity, biogas and heat are 100% obtained from renewable sources and that only the quantities and qualities are sold that have been produced. The naturemade quality label is awarded by the Association for Environmentally Sound Energy VUE.

Who stands behind naturemade?

The naturemade basic and naturemade star quality labels are awarded by the Association for Environmentally Sound Energy (Verein für umweltgerechte Energie/VUE). The Association was established by electricity producers and suppliers and environmental organisations in 1999 to promote the production and use of renewable energies in Switzerland. The Association also aims to promote new renewable energies. Its quality label has enjoyed broad support since it was created.

Association members include:

  • Electricity producers “Hydroelectric power plants” and their associations
  • Producers “New renewable energies” and their associations
  • Energy suppliers and energy traders
  • Environmental organisations
  • Small consumers’ associations
  • Large commercial customers
Why is the naturemade star quality label particularly important for hydroelectric power?

In Switzerland, hydroelectric power plants are very important for power generation, and there are hardly any watercourses that are not used in one way or another. Over 50% of the Swiss electricity production comes from hydroelectric power plants. However, hydroelectric power can only be utilised through the construction of power plants that commonly impair natural habitats to a greater or lesser extent. Fish are, for example, prevented from moving freely and returning to their spawning sites.

Hydroelectric power plants that have been awarded the naturemade star quality label fulfil very high requirements, including fish ladders, regulated water volumes not passing through the power plant (residual flow) or limited variations in outflow volumes. These stringent criteria have been developed in cooperation with scientists of the Eawag aquatic research institute.

Environmental improvement fund
In addition to complying with the stringent naturemade star requirements, each certified power plant also establishes and manages a fund for further, continual environmental improvement measures to be completed in the surrounding area. These funds are financed from contributions of 0.1 centime per kilowatt-hour produced and 0.9 centime per kilowatt-hour sold; they are dedicated to implementing revitalisation projects in the waterways around the power plants.

Is the naturemade quality label also available internationally?

Various power and biogas plants in a number of European countries (Germany, France, Austria, Norway) have been awarded naturemade certification. Most of these power plants are wind power plants.

How does VUE ensure that the criteria applicable under the naturemade quality label are complied with?

Independent auditors from recognised institutes (ISO 17020/ISO7021) verify on behalf of VUE whether all criteria are complied with and make recommendations for certification to the Association. These audits are repeated every five years (recertification). Auditors additionally verify the annual energy production and sale volumes and check that all requirements are complied with.

How does naturemade compare with other international electricity labels?

A broad international study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in 2009 compared the requirements of various electricity quality labels regarding environmental and social aspects, organisation and level of professionalism, energy accounting and transparency. The naturemade quality label scored very well in all areas. It was additionally shown that naturemade star is the only quality label that comprises scientifically developed environmental criteria for hydroelectric power.