It was Earth Day a couple of weeks ago. We could have posted a picture of a tree and said ‘it’s all of our responsibilities to look after our planet and that’s why we supply 100% renewable electricity’.
But we all know that that’s not good enough.
Green is no good if it’s the preserve of the already well-off. Renewable energy shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be the default. Every piece of toast that pops out of a toaster on a fair British morning should have been cooked by renewable electricity. Every electron on the grid should be generated from UK-based renewable energy sources.
Anything less means we’re not trying hard enough.
Because we have bigger problems: gas and carbon-offsetting.
Our country is plumbed for gas. All of those emissions go into the atmosphere, and we can’t simply subtract them again…it’s not that simple. Don’t believe anyone that tells you it is. The only real solution is not to burn fossil fuels at all.
So, we need to move away from gas and towards heat pumps, electrification and fuel-efficient houses. And we need to do it urgently.
Until we get there, the whole carbon-offsetting conversation needs to change. Because the system that we have right now does not work. This market is so dysfunctional that a major company recently purchased carbon credits (a carbon credit is a certificate that allows you to claim you have removed X tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere, you can learn more about it here), and it did this not by planting trees but by *not cutting them down*.
This is a failure on pretty much every level.
But the good news is that there are better, more effective ways of doing it. Like: investing in community-led projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere and restore biodiversity.
That’s why we, as a UK energy supplier, are backing UK carbon-removal projects. We will also back projects overseas where we believe the carbon, biodiversity and social impact merit it, but we will not forget our own fair isles, where 25% of our mammals are at imminent risk of extinction, where we have vast carbon removal potential, and habitat loss on land and in the sea has reached terrifying levels – 97% of our meadows on land, and 92% of our seagrass meadows are gone.
As we think about Earth Day 2021, we know we’re not doing enough yet. But we are working towards that. And we have built our company so we are legally obliged to get better, and better, and better.