Most companies featured on the score table above lacked any real discussion of toxics like PVC and BFRs. They all got a worst Ethical Consumer rating apart from Samsung which got a best.
Unfortunately, almost all of the companies in this guide did not have a publicly available conflict minerals policy, and were therefore given a worst Ethical Consumer rating for conflict minerals. The only companies that did better were Panasonic, Samsung and Siemens, which achieved a middle rating and Russell Hobbs which received a best.
There was a much wider spread on ratings for likely use of tax avoidance strategies. The companies that didn’t get a worst were rated as follows:
Best: Glen Dimplex (Belling, New World, Stoves), Zorlu Holding (Servis), Gorenje Group, Smeg, Howden Joinery (Lamona).
Middle: Miele, Candy, Investor AB (AEG, Zanussi, Electrolux).
Gas or electric?
The table below shows the average energy consumption and CO2 emitted per use in 2018 and 2014. As you can see, since we last covered cookers in 2014, the average CO2 emitted by electric ovens and hobs has fallen by almost 22%. This is thanks to a reduction in the carbon intensity of the UK’s electricity, which many predict will continue to fall.
Is it therefore time to make the big switch to electric?
Well, probably not. Although it is true that the CO2 emissions of gas will not change greatly, recent government action has demonstrated that green energy production is not its primary concern. A recent study found that investment in renewable energy in the UK is set to fall by 95% over the next three years.
If you want to check the latest statistics and input your specific oven’s energy consumption, you could use the carbon calculator.
As for hobs, it may very well be time to consider induction hobs as the most environmentally friendly option. Even if electricity in the UK only becomes slightly less CO2 intensive, they are set to overtake gas hobs in the coming years. Induction works by applying electromagnetism to pans with a high iron content (i.e. not ceramic, glass or aluminium). This effectively directly heats the pan and not the hob surface.
As you can see in the table, induction hobs consume far less energy per use than gas or electric. However, many consumers will have to replace some/all of their existing pans to use an induction hob, thereby buying products which come with their own energy consumed during manufacture.