EDF's Green Britain Day nothing but 'greenwash' says green energy advocate

10 July 2009 / by Rachael Stiles

Companies are jumping on the band wagon by claiming to be green because it is good for business, and EDF's Green Britain Day is a fine example, according to Dale Vince, founder of green energy provider Ecotricity.

Sourcing energy from renewable sources and offsetting 100 per cent of its customers' Co2 emissions, Ecotricity is a supplier of green energy, and Mr Vince has accused bigger energy companies and other corporations of claiming green credentials for 'kudos', without adopting green methods.

Writing in the Guardian today, Mr Vince attacked EDF's widely advertised Green Britain Day, which is taking place today, as an example of "companies trying to sell themselves as being rather greener and more ethical than they really are."

EDF are "the world's biggest corporate producer of nuclear waste, one of its biggest traders and burners of coal, and have a tiny tiny fleet of windmills," Mr Dale continued. While he allowed that "The campaign itself has laudable aims," such as fighting climate change and making Britain greener, he asks consumers to "look for any substance and you won't find it. It's all recycled and gimmicky."

Mr Vince also denounces the logo of Green Britain Day, which choose to use a green version of the union flag to promote the campaign. He said that the flag "symbolises two things: care for the environment and British identity," and EDF (Electricité de France) "can claim, of course, neither."

Mr Vince is skeptical of large companies reshaping their image to appear more environmentally friendly: "When big brands move into the ethical arena it's for the kudos," he writes, "to look like a better company, to follow a new trend and gain sales – it isn't for the cause, it's for their cause, which is of course to make money and to add 'shareholder value'."

Concluding, Mr Vince expresses concern that such 'PR stunts' as these distract people from the main issue. "Green Britain is a serious goal, it requires a vision underpinned by real policies, a suite of joined up actions that we can all get behind – with meaningful outcomes," he said. "It's a mission not a PR opportunity."

Ecotricity is the UK's oldest and most successful independent electricity company; it spends all of its customers' energy bills on sourcing green energy, spending more money on renewable energy per customer than any other company in the world, and more than all of the UK energy providers combined.

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