Despite the many construction sites we have to deal with as a society, we can also perceive positive impulses. In the media, we see a new generation protesting for climate protection on a global level, and through their passion and perseverance they are also pulling the older generation along with them. In such moments, we pause for a moment and say to all doubters and pessimists: Look, something is actually happening.
Take the barely visible change that is currently taking place in European households and catering establishments. Since July 2021, the EU has banned the production of plastic products such as straws, cotton buds and disposable tableware. While this is only a small change, it is an important step in protecting our environment from avoidable plastic waste in the long run. And this change is happening whether or not individual restaurant owners care about environmental protection. Already, many people are no longer surprised to see a paper straw sticking out of their cocktail. It's almost normal - and the next generation won't know any different.
We live in the age of change. Another example is new registrations for electric cars, which reached a record high in the first half of 2021. The change in the automotive industry becomes clear as soon as someone wants to buy a new vehicle: "Are you driving electric or a plug-in hybrid then? Oh, what, a gasoline-powered car? Is that really necessary?"
Particularly in the area of electromobility, however, which has been heavily promoted by automobile manufacturers in recent years through legal regulations, a new awareness must now emerge. The first step was to communicate the importance of electromobility for environmental and climate protection. This has now happened and the change is well underway. Electric vehicles are "en vogue", as the latest figures from the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) show. The next step: we have to make sure that this increasing number of electric cars is not charged with grey electricity. In other words: as an electric car driver, you should make sure that you are not supporting fossil fuels when charging.
What kind of electricity flows into our cars?
Not every (green) charging station produces clean electricity from solar, wind or hydro power. We now have to talk about the fact that electricity is not necessarily produced with sustainability and environmental protection in mind. But what can we do to create more transparency? As with "greenwashing," where corporations camouflage their sales goals with ostensibly sustainable campaigns, we need to look twice when it comes to electricity use. While there are countless "green" labels and certificates, these often disguise the fact that power companies are selling grey electricity from nuclear, coal or gas. Even when a household pays the tariff for green electricity - and uses it to charge the electric car in the garage - the electricity often comes from the nearest (grey) power source. So, paradoxically, households on green electricity tariffs may be getting their electricity from the nuclear power station around the corner. That's why it's important in this day and age that we take stock and ask the question: Where does our electricity actually come from?
Green certificates are not always transparent
The problem with certifications, such as the RECS certification ("Renewable Energy Certificating System"), is that the producers sell a grey electricity mix when there are too few customers and are even allowed to pass on their certificate to other companies. The supposed green electricity from the municipal utilities then comes from third-party suppliers from abroad who are no longer traceable. At Mer, we want to raise awareness that electric driving is only truly sustainable and environmentally friendly if the electricity comes from renewable sources. That's why we charge our company car fleets with green electricity - and we know exactly where that electricity comes from. Clean electricity from wind and hydroelectric power flows into our cars. This green electricity already puts emissions at 0 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour, but we also offset the construction, operation and dismantling of the wind and hydroelectric power plants. In this way we fulfil our obligations to our customers who want to charge their cars in a CO2-neutral way. In addition, we offset the share that our drivers consume at public charging stations from non-renewable energies.
We are going beyond our "electric for everyone" mission because we want to create awareness that every kilowatt hour counts. Because everyone who charges their vehicle with electricity from solar, wind or hydro power makes a difference. Anyone who drives a company vehicle from Mer can be 100 percent sure of every charging process and simply drive off. Without a guilty conscience and with fairly traded green electricity.