Posted by keith on July 9th, 2009
Heard the one about the giant electricity generation company that wanted people to use less energy?
No, neither have I — why would an energy company want you to use less energy, given that would mean they are getting less money from the energy being used? But if appearing to want to make people use less energy could give you the bigger market share you’re after, then sponsoring a “green” day is a guaranteed winner.
This blog has already had a few words to say about the dodgy tactics of EDF Energy (see this article), so it’s no surprise that they are still greenwashing all the way to the bank. With their blanket sponsorship of the Team Green Britain website and activities then anyone getting involved couldn’t help but be impressed by the credentials of EDF Energy; especially given that some of the things on the web site (walking instead of driving, swapping stuff and meeting your neighbours) are all decent things to do in themselves.
But I couldn’t help but notice that there seemed to be no overall body behind it; wherever I clicked just took me round in circles — no contact details, no credits, just various organisations and companies “supporting” the project. The Team Energy page says: “EDF Energy is supporting Team Energy. They’re the energy experts [Hmm, are they?] and know that the less energy we all use, the less CO2 we produce which is believed [A little bit of scepticism here] to be one of the main causes of climate change. That’s why they’re doing what they can to cut down their own energy emissions as a company and to help their customers reduce the energy they use at home.”
Not being able to phone anyone, I resorted to a DNS Lookup, which is how you find out who owns a domain name on the internet. By querying DNSStuff I got back the following:
Created On:08-Dec-2008 17:52:54 UTC
Last Updated On:07-Feb-2009 03:52:53 UTC
Expiration Date:08-Dec-2010 17:52:54 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Group NBT plc aka NetNames (R60-LROR)
Registrant Name:EDF Energy PLC
Registrant Organization:EDF Energy PLC
Registrant Street1:40 Grosvenor Place
Registrant Postal Code:SW1X 7EN
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Team Green Britain, and Green Britain Day is owned by EDF Energy, a company with a UK generation capacity of 4.8GW, of which 83% is coal: the dirtiest mainstream form of power generation there is.
This appalling contradiction was exposed by Fred Pearce of The Guardian, a few days ago. He was unequivocal about the depth that this greenwash sank:
Just two months ago, EDF Trading was patting itself on the back for bringing the largest load of coal ever to Antwerp, when the 300-metre-long ship Bao Guo docked 163,000 tonnes from Richards Bay in South Africa, destined for the company’s French coal-fired power stations.
Well done, guys. But don’t call it green.
But what can we expect? Judging by this link, EDF seems to have (shall we say?) borrowed the idea of a green union flag from its rival Ecotricity, a genuinely green power provider.
But back to EDF’s Green Britain Day press release, a model of Greenwash that its hirelings at Lexis Public Relations may well be proud of. “EDF Energy will be asking people to ‘do something green for the team’ on Green Britain Day, creating a wave of tangible actions across the UK,” it reads.
Perhaps, dare I suggest, EDF should join the party and “do something green” itself by committing to getting out of coal.
That, and the fact that Team Green Britain is run by EDF Energy, makes the statement, “That’s why they’re doing what they can to cut down their own energy emissions as a company”, look rather disingenuous, doesn’t it? They are talking about themselves, but speaking in the third person; this Astroturf methodology is pretty sophisticated greenwashing.
And not only have they tried to greenwash the public big time, with their avalanche of posters across the whole of Britain, they have even stooped so low as to steal the Green Union Flag idea from another, much less environmentally damaging energy provider; Ecotricity:
The most amazing thing has happened.
Our Green Union Jack – the one that Ecotricity’s been using for the last three years or so, has been ‘borrowed’ by another energy company.
We’re used to the Big Six energy companies behaving badly, but this is something else.
One of them decided that they liked the idea of a green union jack and the idea of a Green Britain so much – they’ve just gone and adopted it – lock, stock and barrel.
That would be shocking enough but the culprit is none other than EDF.
And that’s all the more shocking because of what the letters EDF stand for – Électricité de France, which seems just a little at odds with the adoption of the green flag… :) And of course the fact that they are a Nuclear power company [Ed. And a coal power generator in the UK] (not everybody’s idea of Green).
A French, state owned, Nuclear power company – using ‘our flag’ (or one very close to it) to green itself up – you couldn’t make this stuff up. And they’ve submitted a Trademark application… they want to own the Green Union Jack!
You know what I’m doing on Green(wash) Britain Day? I’m going to make sure as many people know what a bunch of arrogant, money-grabbing, carbon-belching turds EDF Energy are.
Please join in.