Preview of Ethical Consumer, Issue 189, March/April 2021

Ethical Consumer March/April 2021 14 Electricity & gas suppliers SHOPPING GUIDE Best Buys are decided by the editorial team based on the research we have undertaken, the scoring system and the unique insight into the issues that our editorial team has. 9 times out of 10 this will be the brand (or brands) that are top of the table but sometimes an ethical company which is truly innovative scores less well on our rigid scoring system and we use the Best Buy and Recommended section to acknowledge this. A company cannot be a Best Buy if it scores worst for Supply Chain Management. All the research behind these ratings is available for subscribers to see on the score tables on De nitions of all the categories are at [A] = tariff has some additionality [Vg] = electricity & gas certi ed as vegan e t h i c a l c o n s u m e r . o r g B E S T B U Y Environment Animals People Politics +ve BRAND COMPANY GROUP Green Energy UK[A] 14 H 1 Green Energy (UK) Plc Good Energy [A] 13 H h h 1 Good Energy/Green Britain Group People's Energy 13 H H e People’s Energy CIC Bulb 12.5 H H E Simple Energy Limited Ecotricity [A, Vg] 12.5 H h h H h 2 Green Britain Group Together Energy 12.5 H H 0.5 Together Energy Limited PFP Energy 11.5 H H h Sands Investments Limited Ripple (investment-based) [A] 11.5 h H h h h E Octopus/Midcounties/Ripple Octopus Energy [A] 11 H H h h Octopus Group Utilita 11 H H h h Utilita Group Limited Utility Warehouse 11 H H h h Telecom plus plc Co-op Energy [A] 8.5 h H h h h h h h h h h E Octopus/Midcounties Co-op E.ON 8.5 h H h H H h H E.ON S.E Npower 8.5 h H h H H h H E.ON S.E. EDF 8 h H H H H h H Electricité de France SA Scottish Power 7.5 h H h h H h H H h Iberdrola S.A. British Gas 7 h H H h h H H h H Centrica Plc Ovo Energy 7 h H h h h h h h h H h h OVO Group Ltd SSE 7 h H h h h h h h h H h h OVO Group Ltd Shell Energy 2 h H H H H H H H h h h H H H Royal Dutch Shell plc Ethiscore (out of 14 + 6 extras) Environmental Reporting Climate Change Pollution & Toxics Habitats & Resources Palm Oil Animal Testing Factory Farming Animal Rights Human Rights Workers’ Rights Supply Chain Management Irresponsible Marketing Arms & Military Supply Controversial Technologies Boycott Call Political Activity Anti-Social Finance Tax Conduct Company Ethos Product Sustainability USING THE TABLES Ethiscore: the higher the score, the better the company. Scored out of 14. Plus up to 1 extra point for Company Ethos and up to 5 extra points for Product Sustainability. Green (good) = 12+ Amber (average) = 11.5–5 Red (poor) = 4.5–0 H = worst rating h = middle rating = b est rating/no criticisms found USING THE TABLES Positive ratings (+ve): Company Ethos: e = full mark E = half mark Product Sustainability: Various positive marks available depending on sector. Best Buys are highlighted in blue All tariffs burn fossil fuels at the same rate Whatever company you buy from, however, the most important thing to be aware of is that the electricity you use still has the same carbon footprint – currently 0.26 kg CO 2 e per kWh. It basically works like this – if you are on a green tariff and you turn your kettle on, some renewable electricity will be taken (on paper) from the electricity account of someone on a standard tariff and transferred to yours. Then a gas-fired power station will be turned up in order to replace it. In other words, your turning your kettle on causes a gas-fired power station to be turned up to supply it, just the same amount as when anyone else does it. The electricity system is ultimately a shared thing. Most of the decisions about it are being made at the governmental level, and the cost of decarbonising it is being shared between everyone in the country. So, while it is good to buy from one of the companies that is making more of an effort to help, the key things are to keep minimising your energy use, and to keep pushing for political action.