Som Energia

“The green energy cooperative”

Saturday 9 June 2012, by Anna Capdevila

3 inspired

A. How did you find this company? What are the main facts about its activities?

Som Energia is a non-profit cooperative born in Girona two years ago. At the beginning, all the green energy they sold was from existing sources but they are also developing own cost-effective renewable energy projects to produce energy for their partners, and their goal is to cover the 100% of the energy demand of their members with new projects, owned and financed primarily by Som Energia.

The idea is allowing people to use affordable eco-electricity in their homes while they are investing in sustainable and environmentally-friendly projects.

B. What are the Ethical challenges this company is addressing?

Regarding ethical challenges, Som Energia aims to encourage the society to practice different values it considers important, below you will find some of these values and standards that guide Som Energia activities.

* Involved and opened to participation members: The members of the cooperative can contribute with knowledge, funds, assets or work.

* Transparency and democratic control: Each member of the cooperative accounts for one vote, independently of their economic contribution.

* All members financing contribution: Small contributions of many members provide Som Energia with the finance power and popular awareness to promote its projects. Everybody is essential and it is a collective work to change the actual situation in order to achieve a better future for all of us.

* Autonomy and independence: They want to establish collaborations with other projects but always according to the cooperative standards. The firm’s mission is more important than the opportunity to grow at any cost.

* Education and information: Som Energia wants to promote a new energetic culture and the popularization of renewable energies among our society.

* Socially focused to the local community: Promoting creation of labor related to renewable energy, whereas contributing to the construction of a truly sustainable economy.

The sum of a lot of people can generate an unstoppable force. As stated, the aim of Som Energia is to become a non for profit cooperative which joints thousands of people with the desire to change the actual energetic model and to commit to achieve a 100% renewable model.

Som Energia believes that society does not have to wait for government to do it for us, they believe we can do it ourselves if we all cooperate. If everybody asks for being able to consume green energy coming from renewable sources in the long run big energetic firms will have to listen to de society/demand and stop searching for profit maximization while abusing of the lower power of consumers that we all face in this industry.

C. What makes this company really inspiring to you and why would you trust it?

We would like to share with you what does really inspires us from this firm.

First of all we have to state that we, as energy consumers face a really low bargaining power of customers when dealing with big energetic firms. They do not care about their client and as we are heavily depending on energy to live our daily lives, we cannot fight against them all alone. Som Energia comes with a modest proposal which is a cooperative form which we will all be better off.

Moreover, the fact that they bet for renewable and green energies encourage us to believe that we all can change the world tendency of consumption until the end of world by a prosperous future where this new culture on energy sources will also affect the way our kids will do business, the global care for the earth and the economic rationality, at least we see this initiative as educational.

Keep standing on the educational role Som Energia has started to play, we see this firm as the platform from which individuals can start contributing to change the actual energetic model, as we said before one person alone has no power but the hole society together gets unstoppable.

Som Energia inspires us to believe in social business models, showing us that everything we propose ourselves is possible and thus lights a fire inside us to keep standing in the green, social and beyond individual wealth side.

Regarding the evidences that make us believe in Som Energia as being an ethical firm are the following:

First of all, the company has designed the project looking at other projects already well developed and functioning successfully in European countries such as the UK, the Netherlands or Belgium.

The first detail that makes us trust the company is that, since the company is a cooperative, the voting is based on the individuals not the numbers of shares, thus preventing large fortunes monopolizing all votes. All the investors will be co-owners.

All the money invested not only serves to pay the electricity consumption but also to create projects to produce their own green energy. This will allow them to achieve independence from the large energy companies and lobbies and enjoy a better service with clear information and personal treatment.

It is also important to mention that their business model is designed to be without publicity costs (another way to avoid depending in big companies), be without large management salaries (all the salaries and expenses are described in the profit and loss statement), have modest and efficient office and avoid the overusing of paper, having all the communications via web.

The fact that they are creating a social movement supporting renewables and public participation and because is another way of putting pressure on governments and markets to have a change from fossil energy to eco-energy.

D.What are the possible challenges facing the company in the future and how do you think this company may improve?

The low profits they had in 2011 are due to the fact they didn’t own any plant yet and all the energy had to be bought from existing sources. Now that they have invested in different projects, all the money earned will be from these planets and they won’t have to pay extra expenses.

One of the main challenges is their brand image: is hard for people to change the provider of a product as essential as the energy. Som Energia will have to do things very well to get people trust them and to expand even more the business.

Bibliography

http://economiasolidaria.org/asociate_a_som_energia
http://www.unaeconomiasostenible.com/2011/10/som-energia-consume-energia-renovable.html
http://www.punt.coop/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=477:som-energia-ja-ven-energia-verda

Start a new discussion

1 Discussion / 1 Message

  • Som Energia 19 June 2012 at 11:24 , by Sara Pardo

    Spain, Catalonia, lags behind in terms of renewable energy. Politicians and government recognize the importance of alternative energies, some aid and subventions have been put available to the public, but few initiatives have been carried out, and the economic downturn is not helping. When you ask to people if they care about climate change, they say "yes" but when you ask them what they actually do to be sustainable, to keep the environment the answer is "little" and justifications such as "the harm I cause is little compared to the one company "x" is doing", "I have no power" arise. People is conscious of the problem, but do little, and what is worst, "we" expect others to take the lead and put the responsibility to government, big firms, etc since they are the ones that "have the power".
    This is why I like SOM energia, To me they are a prove of that people cares and are willing to take they responsibility and a proactive role: the passivity of big players is not a justification for the passivity of the small.
    Besides all this environmental aspect, the project also has an economic value. First is an answer to Peak Oil, It also brings energetic security and an alternative to consumers which face suppliers’ strong bargaining power. At the same time, it contributes to a decentralized energetic production and local economy (creation of jobs in rural areas, etc), .
    Finally it also has a social and educative part, which refers to building up values, responsibility, implication, participation, that is, a much more social cohesion, dialogue and awareness.

Location: Girona (17003) (Catalunya)

Sector: Other service activities

Official website: www.somenergia.coop

Key figures:

Revenues: 4.500 € in 2011, expected 800.000 € in 2012
Number of partners: 2700
Countries of operations: Catalunya
Number of projects: 5

Nbr. visits: 305

Nbr. inspires: 3