Vegan Power - yes, we’re still cutting the crap!
This caused a bit of a stir at the time. In fact, a lot of people didn’t realise that animals are used in energy generation – for example, manure and even body parts from factory farms are burned as biomass or used in anaerobic digestion vats to produce biogas. In 2017, The Times exposed how “dead salmon from Scottish fish farms are being ‘recycled’ to generate energy”.
We took the initiative on vegan power because it was the right thing to do and in the hope it would start the ball rolling for other green power companies to do the same. Today, we remain the only energy company in the world with certified vegan energy but we’re still hopeful other suppliers will join us in doing the right thing.
We’re still hopeful because if you’re serious about fighting the climate crisis, as we are, then you have to make sure your energy is vegan – it’s as simple as that. This is because livestock farming is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions in the UK and around the world. For instance, farm animals in Europe produce more greenhouse gases than all the cars and vans combined!
The impact of factory farming on the environment
Across the world, animal farming is an intensive, large-scale business. This affects the natural world and the climate in several ways. In total, agriculture and deforestation contribute a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions and animal farming is responsible for 60% of the emissions from agriculture.
Rearing livestock uses 83 per cent of all farmland globally but provides just 18 per cent of the calories we eat. That’s a large disparity when there’s so much hunger and food insecurity in this and other countries.
By switching to a plant-based diet, we could easily free up enough land to have enough food for everyone. We could also rewild a significant amount of the countryside, rewetting peat bogs and boosting tree numbers in Britain, which are all valuable carbon stores for the planet.
“We can feed up to ten vegans or one meat eater with the same amount of plant food […] A plant-based diet would free up three-quarters of Britain’s farmland. Half the landmass of our country.”
Dale Vince, Founder of Ecotricity, wrote in his new book, Manifesto.
What’s more, the amount of land we’re using for livestock is still growing! Vast tracts of the Amazon rainforest are being cleared, sometimes by logging, sometimes by simply burning it down, to make space for huge factory farming operations. This deforestation isn’t confined to South America but it is where it’s most noticeable.
Livestock farming also uses around a third of the world’s fresh water supply and produces lots of different greenhouse gases, including huge amounts of methane. Runoffs from animal waste and the fertiliser needed to grow their feeds contaminate water supplies and damage the food chain in our oceans.
What is vegan energy made from?
Anaerobic digestion of green matter – certified by The Vegan Society and Viva! – is a genuinely vegan way to make biogas. This can be used to create electricity or further treated to make biomethane, which can be used as household gas.
The big problem comes when energy companies add animal by-products (body parts, manure etc) from the livestock factory farming industry to the mix.
The justification for this is the claim that the anaerobic digestion of the by-products is better for the environment than leaving them to decompose naturally, in terms of the harmful gases they give off.
This is missing the point. By generating energy from animal by-products, companies are supporting the factory farming industry, which in turn helps to make it more profitable and secure.
That’s why switching to vegan energy is so important – to make sure you’re not supporting factory farming or the climate and environmental havoc it’s wreaking on our planet.
Switch to Ecotricity and we’ll use your bill money to invest in new sources of renewable vegan energy and build a greener Britain.
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Why should I get a smart meter?
Smart meters send meter readings from your house direct to your energy supplier, so you don’t need to answer the door to a meter reader and your readings are always up to date, so you can wave goodbye estimated bills.
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We’re always conscious of this fact, that it’s our customers who make all this possible. We have a responsibility to choose projects that will make the biggest impact in creating a green Britain.