The fair meter is an initiative of Dutch network companies Liander and Stedin to make electricity and gas meters not only smart, but also fair. The first questions on fair are usually around the definition, because what do we mean by fair? In order to define fair we developed the fair performance ladder.
The fair performance ladder includes all elements we deem relevant to fair. It distinguishes between the production process and the product itself. The ladder zooms in on energy use of the product, materials in the product and if they are scarce, toxic or a conflict mineral; if they can be recycled or if recycled content is used. The ladder also looks at labour conditions in the entire supply chain.
Separately we have two overlapping issues, transparency and software and data. The first underlines the importance of transparent information when you want to improve the fairness. The second deals with privacy and security issues.
The fair performance ladder played a key role in the procurement process of the smart meter. The ladder was first used to rank suppliers on the level of fairness in their production process and secondly on the fairness of their product. The fair meter performance ladder has been so successful in the procurement of the smart meter that it can be applied more widely. Therefore, we are now bringing the performance ladder to a next level.
A key area of improvement is the need to quantify fairness and to be able to use the ladder as measuring tool for improvements. We are hoping to develop a system that can compare a specific product on fairness and can be used to track improvements of a particular supplier. In doing so we hope to make the performance ladder a standard in the procurement processes, not only for the meter, not even only for electronics, but for any of the assets we use in our infrastructure.