EnergieFlex believes that companies need to look beyond business profits. Fairtrade Carbon Credits allow businesses to compensate for their CO₂ emissions and conduct business in a green and socially responsible way. To learn more, we interviewed EnergieFlex spokesman Ralph Nadolski.
A young company, EnergieFlex has been supplying electricity and gas to Dutch consumers for about three years now. Although Nadolski prefers to the keep the exact number of EnergieFlex clients to himself, he can confirm that the company’s clientele has doubled this year.
What sets EnergieFlex apart from other energy companies?
‘We are currently the only provider of Fairtrade Carbon Credits on the Dutch energy market. These credits allow our customers to compensate for their CO₂ emissions from gas consumption in a fair way. The money earned with the sale of Fairtrade Carbon Credits ends up in the hands of those who suffer most from the effects of climate change. Fairtrade CO₂ compensation offers us the opportunity to conduct business in a manner that is both green and socially responsible. We call this approach 100% Social Green.
Can you explain to us how an EnergieFlex customer can support CO₂ reduction and better living conditions for people in developing countries?
‘First we look at how much gas you consume as a customer. Then we calculate your CO₂ emissions as a result of this gas consumption. We then compensate these CO₂ emissions with the purchase of Fairtrade Carbon Credits. Using this money, FairClimateFund invests in clean cooktop ovens for people in India. Because these appliances consume less wood, they ensure lower CO₂ emissions. Additionally, they minimize the dangerous side effects of inhaling smoke and contribute to the reduction of deforestation. And since there is no need to collect wood every day, these cooktop ovens save people valuable time. And on top of the minimum price for the Carbon Credits, FairClimateFund provides an additional stipend to train these people to better cope with the consequences of climate change. For instance, they learn how to plant trees to create sufficient shade for their crops.
How is it that you can offer your customers attractive energy prices and Fairtrade CO₂ compensation?
‘We do not make a profit on the supply of gas and electricity. Customers buy energy from us at cost price. We are able to cover our overhead costs through the fixed delivery costs that each customer pays. We firmly believe that green, sustainable energy should be affordable for everyone. That’s why we offer our 100% Social Green package at the same price as our Flex Standard package. This is possible because we don’t offer any special discounts on our 100% Social Green package.’
Does EnergieFlex have any other sustainability initiatives in addition to Fairtrade CO₂ compensation?
‘Certainly. Not only do we compensate for our customers’ CO₂ emissions, but also for our own. For example, we are very careful about our employees’ car consumption. But we also believe that together we should try to consume less energy. Therefore, we advise our customers on how they can reduce their energy consumption by, for example, avoiding screen savers or switching to LED lighting. These may sound like obvious tips, but we’ve found that people are unlikely to take action if they are not aware of their behavior. With our list of ways to save energy, we hope to make people more aware so that these small actions will become second nature to them.’
I read on your website that you promote the generation of solar energy?
‘Yes, we support the micro-generation of solar energy to help tackle the problem of climate change. By installing solar panels—not only on houses, but also on the roofs of sport centers and community clubs—we can eventually supply a large portion of Dutch society with green electricity without immediately having to build large-scale solar parks. We want to support this initiative, so we offer our customers the possibility to purchase solar panels without having to invest in them immediately. Customers can choose to have a panel mounted on their roof free of charge and pay a fixed amount for the energy they generate for the next 15 years. Ultimately, they save by using solar energy, so they incur no extra costs in the long run. And once the solar panels have been paid off after 15 years, they will earn on the energy they generate.’
Last question: Why would you advise other companies to opt for Fairtrade CO₂ compensation?
‘We believe that as a company you have to look beyond your own company’s profit. In our eyes, the only way to be successful as a company is to do business in a socially responsible way. We see Fairtrade CO₂ compensation as a shining example of socially-minded business.’