Many of the green energy companies still use animal by-products in their production process, but are there any in the UK that are completely vegan?
Most energy providers create energy through anaerobic digestion (AD) and biomass. This essentially means that energy is created from the by-products of farmed animals by taking their slurry, waste, and body parts, specifically from fish.
There is an ever-increasing call for ‘green’ energy. But just because it’s slapped a ‘green’ label on itself doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily vegan as many green energy companies have been identified to still use animal by-products in their production process.
The issue with much of green energy is that it is weather dependent so without wind or sunshine nothing is created. The use of AD by these suppliers ensures that there is a constant supply of energy from these providers.
Understandably we do not support the use of any animal by-products from the meat processing industry, however, when it comes to choosing a vegan-friendly energy provider, choices are limited in the UK.
- Ecotricity is the only purely vegan energy provider in the UK. They use wind and sun to harness their energy as well as buying from other green generators.
- Good Energy pride themselves in using greener energy, however, they still use AD to produce energy – the Daily Mail reported in 2017 that their animal slurry came from pigs living in appalling conditions.
- Bulb does use pig excrement but has claimed this only makes up for 1%-2% of their energy. They also claim that they do not buy any animal litter from sites that focus on the intensive farming of animals.
- Octopus does not use any animal-containing food waste or farm waste but they do use animal slurry. They claim on their website that this slurry, when left to breakdown naturaly, is arguably more harmful to the planet so using it in the AD process is a positive way to dispose of their waste. Plus, they point out that AD is a great way to break down animal slurry to be a fertiliser without using harmful chemicals which play a major role in the destruction of bees’ habitats.
- Shell Energy is upfront that they use biomass in their renewable energy pool but does not state where the animal waste comes from or how much of their overall percentage is driven from it.
Which energy providers stand out for using animal parts in their energy production?
- SSE uses diseased fish from the fish farming industry to create their energy.
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There’s more to choosing your broadband provider than you might realise. The datacentres that host all the internet connections have to be supplied by a major energy supplier.
Unfortunately, suppliers like Good Energy and Ecotricity don’t host any of these datacentres due to the high energy demand, which means to get fully ‘green’ and ‘clean’ broadband is tricky.
However, many suppliers are working on ways to make themselves as an organisation ‘green’ and place pressure on energy companies to go ‘green’ to provide ‘clean’ broadband.
Who stands out:
- Sky Digital has been carbon neutral since 2007, using 100% renewable energy across its offices. On top of that, they have one of the best rankings for internet service.
- Green ISP is a not-for-profit organisation where even their own office is solar powered and all other electricity is supplied from Good Energy. For every new customer, they plant a tree to help them become “carbon positive”.
- GreenNet is also a not-for-profit organisation sending all profits to its parent charity. They mainly depend on the BT infrastructure as there are no major UK datacentres in the UK supplied by green energy providers.
The Ethical Company Organisation works with a vast research database of over 30,000 companies, court reports, and major NGO criticisms to measure different ethical criteria for a company including human rights, animal welfare, environmental records, etc.
This is designed to cut through every organisation to give them an independent score for each company and brand that is published on ‘The Good Shopping Guide’. The ones that stand out as being the most ethical are:
- ETA Insurance supports vital environmental products across Britain and the world. They also campaign for sustainable, safe and health transport through their charity the ETA Trust donating towards it with every policy they sell.
- Naturesave plant a tree for every ned policy issued and donate 10% of their annual home and travel insurance premiums to charity.
- Aviva rank highly due to their commitment to human rights, assessing their sustainability issues over time, but fall down due to the lack of ethical investment outside of their organisation.
- More Than score similarly to Aviva equally falling down due to lack of ethical investment happening outside of the organisation.
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