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Author's profile photo Uwe Fetzer

The Bio Bakery

The Bio Bakery

Once upon a time, there was a baker with a big, very big bakery. Together with his brothers, who holds there own bakeries, he delivers the whole country with his bread.
He cultivates the wheat in his own farms, grinds it in his mills and of course he sells the bread thru his own distribution channels.
Most of his mills were powered by gas, carbon and magic glowing sticks. Only a couple of his mills were powered by wind and water. These bio mills he inherits from his father and grandfather. Some of the water mills are about 100 years old.

Together with some external bio mills, whose flour he has to buy by law, he uses 4.5% (in 1997) of bio flour in his bread.

All went well until, in the late 1990th, some customers asks for bio bread, because they were worried about the big pollution of the bakers mills. And a rumor said, that the baker would borrow the magic glowing sticks in his backyard.

Sure, we do have bio bread“, he said. “Here is yours, this makes €1,10” (this was legal, because he can sell up to 4.5% of his bread as “bio”, because he has used 4.5% bio flour).
The customer was happy about it and he finally could sleep without remorse now. He didn’t know, that this was the same bread he bought before for just €1,–.

A clever businessman heard about this big deal. “Hey baker, can you sell me 100 ‘bio’ breads for €0,95?”. Handshake.

‘Bio’ bread, Fresh ‘Bio’ bread, we are the real bio bakery, because we sell 100% certified ‘bio’ bread!“, the businessman announced in his commercials from now on. “You as my customer pays me and you will be delivered with bread by the big bakery like before”. Remember: it was still the same bread with just 4.5% bio flour in it…

The external bio mill companies went another way by founding new business models: they sell bread now, too. But for each sold bread, they sell a pound of real bio flour to the big bakery who has to buy and use this flour by law. Because of the big demand the external mill companies had to build new wind mills and the percentage of bio flour in the big bakery grows up to 14.2% in 2007.

Sure you have recognized already: I’m not talking about flour and bread but about green energy.
Okay, I have simplified the story a little bit to make it more easy. And some facts I don’t understand myself yet. But how should I, I’m just a dumb customer.

Did you think about the several business models of the energy companies yet? I have made my choice two years ago.

(14.2% is the part of renewable energy related to the whole energy consumption in Germany in 2007, Bundesministerium für Umweltschutz, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit)

Example of an “external bio mill company” 😉  Naturstrom

In memoriam to the GOM, R.i.p.


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      Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt
      Marilyn Pratt
      Hi Uwe,
      By reading through this piece, it appears you might want to be tagging this CSR/Sustainability to get the proper visability.
      Your premise is provocative.  I think many might have missed it and you miss a potential interested audience because folks don't realize this piece has to do with Sustainability .  We've just discussed creating a clearer identification for such topics. Am intrigued to hear more from you and if you would be so kind, have you give a bit more background to the links that take us to German sites and statistics.  I'd would very much like to hear from others as well on this important topic.  Your story-telling approach is edu-taining.
      Author's profile photo Uwe Fetzer
      Uwe Fetzer
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Marilyn,
      you are absolutely right, I wanted to tag this blog as “Sustainability”, but didn’t found the tag , because I have searched under the letter “S” 😉

      The statistics are from the official Website of the German government, the “Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety”. Sorry, there is no English version of these stats (English homepage

      As you can imagine, there is no technical possibility to buy and consume green energy, your energy always comes from your nearest power plant. In my case it’s a large carbon power plant. But for all KW/h I consume, and this is not little, my supplier has to feed in the same amount of KW/h into the national grid, produced with NEW solar/wind/water etc. equipment.

      In the last couple of weeks there were many commercials of green energy resellers in my newspaper. This makes me ill, because buying this energy changes nothing (or not enough), because the energy is taken from old, already existing assets.

      Are there any stats from other countries about the percentage of renewable energy?

      Regards, Uwe

      Author's profile photo Jim Spath
      Jim Spath

        Thanks to Marilyn Pratt for highlighting your blog. I recently posted An hour a month, an hour a week, etc. about similar topics; in the comments Marilyn included a link to alternate energy in her U.S. state of New Jersey.  I followed up on my personal blog with a few links, including a 49 page U.S. Government report titled "Green Power Marketing in the United States: A Status Report (11th Edition)", by Lori Bird, Claire Kreycik, and Barry Friedman.

      I promise I will digest this for the SAP community if there is interest...