Good Energy staff joined climate strike activists in Bristol
Green power supplier Good Energy walked the walk and ordered employees to skip work and attend a climate change protest led by Greta Thunberg. Read on for the full story from Selectra.
Good Energy joins Greta Thunberg
Good Energy said its 250 staff would not have to book time off to take part in the Fridays for Future school strike in Bristol.
While a number of the Wiltshire-based firm’s staff had voluntarily gone to the Bristol Global Climate Strike event in September, this time it seems attendance was mandatory.
Good Energy accounts specialist Johanna Pettipher said the order to attend the strike felt “like a blessing” as her last job forced her to take a day off to attend an October strike.
“My passions are now aligned with my company’s and I hope that we can encourage more people to show their support for making a difference,” she said.
“Protesting is the best way to tell the world that we are ready for better.”
Youth climate campaigners have attracted support from the company in the past, featuring them regularly on its blog and social media outlets.
School strikers were given control of the provider’s Twitter account in May last year and it sponsored the UK’s first Local Conference of Youth in Manchester.
Some critics and contrarians enjoy using climate change activists’ own arguments against them in bad faith and grumble about the fact that the company’s attendance at the strike was in itself contributing to making climate change worse.
For example, the special banners and T-shirts printed for the occasion could be seen as wasteful and it’s likely not all staff used public transport or EVs to make the journey to Bristol.
However, while green campaigners advocate for eliminating or reducing environmentally harmful activities, they also realize this is not always practical and promote reusing and recycling as one of the three ways to a greener world.
Banners can be reused or recycled and T-shirts can be worn again and again and many attendees will no doubt wear them with pride for many a year before sending them for recycling.
As for making the journey to Bristol, both public transport and EV infrastructure need substantial investment so they become an accessible option for every occasion, something the strikers push for passionately.
And on the whole Good Energy is that rare kind of company which puts its money where its mouth is rather than just indulging in corporate greenwashing.
How green is Good Energy?
To provide energy to its customers, the 20-year-old Good Energy operates eight wind and solar sites of its own and has purchase agreements with more than 1,400 independent green energy generators across the UK, including local farmers and community energy schemes.
Some other energy companies which flaunt their environmentally-friendly credentials in their marketing are anything but green.
Many are exploiting a loophole in Ofgem policies by merely buying Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) certificates for as low as £1 per year per customer without actually buying any renewable energy from generators.
On the other hand, Good Energy guarantees that for every unit of electricity its customers use, it will buy a unit of electricity directly from a renewable generator.
The company also takes steps to make its gas supply more environmentally friendly. From April it intends to increase the amount of its gas supply made up of biogas from 6% to 10%.
The carbon produced by the remainder of its gas mix is offset by carbon reduction projects in Africa and Asia.
This dedication to doing the right thing isn’t cheap and Good Energy tariffs tend to be among the highest on the market, often exceeding the energy price cap put in place by Ofgem.
The regulator appears quite impressed with the Wiltshire firm’s green credentials and last year gave it permanent exemption from the cap for its standard variable tariffs for gas and electricity.
Ofgem said that, as the tariffs pay for investment in the growth of genuine renewable energy and customers actively choose the company for this reason, the energy price cap wouldn’t apply to Good Energy.
Fran Woodward, a people and customer operations director at Good Energy, said the decision to send all staff to the protest was unusual but necessary.
“It’s why this company exists, so the decision was a no-brainer really,” she said.
“Our people are fighting climate change every day by coming to work and helping our customers use clean energy. But our customers have responded brilliantly to our support for the youth strikes. They have chosen us because they believe in our purpose of tackling climate change, and there is no clearer expression of that than in Greta’s message.”