Like all UK energy suppliers offering ‘green’ energy plans, OVO is required by Ofgem to provide an additional environmental benefit for our Greener Energy plan customers. That’s something beyond the purchase of the renewable electricity certificates – the paperwork that proves that for every unit of renewable electricity you use, we buy the equivalent amount of renewable electricity.
Instead of looking at this as an obligation, we see it as an opportunity to do something new and exciting. Something that adds value and impact for our Greener Energy plan customers.
There are many, many ways to meet what the energy industry calls ‘the additionality requirement’.
Some companies choose to plant trees overseas – but our customers have already helped us protect 100,000 acres of at-risk rainforest through our partnership with Cool Earth.
And when we talked to our customers about what else they’d like to see from our Greener Energy plan, the response was about having more of a positive impact on people and the environment here in the UK. Then we got to work designing a programme and finding partners to help support local organisations and local volunteers improve their local green spaces. The result is I Dig Trees.
I Dig Trees is an exciting programme that helps enhance green spaces across the UK on behalf of OVO’s Greener Energy plan customers. It started in 2015, and working in partnership with The Conservation Volunteers, we’ve planted 158,000 trees in over 500 local green spaces that needed improving – places like schools, parks, river banks and community spaces. This year, we’re growing our commitment, and aim to plant 250,000 trees by April 2017.
We want to make a positive difference to the global carbon challenge – which will also deliver benefits on a local scale across the UK.
Between now and April 2017, OVO will support over 62,000 volunteering hours. That’s enough to plant over 250,000 trees, and improve over 1,250 green spaces. And we hope it will make over 2 million people across the UK – including your community – a little healthier and happier. And should save around 125,000 tonnes of carbon* over the 100-year lifetime of our newly planted trees.
Trees are amazing. They encourage greater biodiversity – and act as home and larder for birds and insects – especially pollinators like bees. They prevent erosion by absorbing rainwater runoff. Trees also clean the air and improve local air quality, especially by filtering out damaging airborne chemicals called particulates. These can get into our lungs, causing real damage in the long term***. They help keep communities cool with free shade and by absorbing the sun’s rays. And UK native deciduous broadleaf trees – the varieties we’ll plant with TCV – absorb on average 1 tonne of CO2* each over their lifetimes.
The Sunday Times reported in 2014 that the government Committee on the Medical Effect of Air Pollution estimated that there are 60,000 premature deaths** every year from poor air quality. Trees aren’t the only solution, but they can help clean the air, especially of particulates.
I Dig Trees was designed with local volunteering at its core because:
In fact, a research review published in BMC Public Health showed that people who volunteer have a 22% lower mortality rate than those who don’t. So why not upgrade to our Greener Energy plan, and support the I Dig Trees programme today?
You’ll get great value, 100% renewable electricity and you’ll be helping local volunteers improve local green spaces across the UK.
Get a quote and switch to Greener Energy.
*Based on Carbon Footprint’s calculation of 1 tonne of CO2 per native deciduous broadleaf over its 100 year lifetime and a 50% survival rate of the trees planted.
**Greener communities are healthier communities. The Sunday Times reported in 2014 that the government Committee on the Medical Effect of Air Pollution estimated that there are 60,000 premature deaths every year from poor air quality.
***Public health England say“ The increase in mortality risk associated with long-term exposure to particulate air pollution is one of the most important, and best-characterised, effects of air pollution on health.