With the news about the Coop’s ethical banking ethos being under threat as a result of it being saved by a Hedge Fund which is only interested in making a profit, ethical business practices are in danger of becoming a thing of the past.
But now we have a new type of ethical business, and it, like the Coop; is a British company.
OVO Energy is a new British energy company that not only has an ethical approach to its customers, energy tariffs, and its business; but also supports the fight against rain forest destruction; and encourages its customers to get involved.
But its not just in the Amazon that OVO is engaged. The company has teamed up with local conservation charity Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, to help the public raise money so that the Trust can continue to protect the county’s natural environment.
Cool Earth is an organisation which is working to defend and promote the Rain Forests of Peru, its animals, trees and indigenous peoples. OVO Energy has teamed up with them in a project aimed at ensuring their work continues and that newer and larger areas of Rain Forest can be saved.
So far 50% of the Peruvian rain forests have been destroyed and with it, hundreds of species of animals, birds, insects and plant life. The negative affect on the planet’s ability to absorb carbon, produce oxygen and slow down climate change is irreversible.
The OVO website explains their ethos and involvement with the Cool Earth project:
“Cool Earth is a charity that does one thing; halt rainforest destruction.
It seems that every right-minded person is in favour of this.
After all, rainforest credentials are impressive. Vast reservoirs of biodiversity, huge stores of carbon, massive manufactures of oxygen and freshwater; it is difficult to overstate the role that rainforests play in our planet’s future. Not to mention all the tree frogs.
It is hardly surprising that saving the rainforest isn’t a new idea. People have spent the last 40 years trying to do it, almost always with the same approach.
Lines were drawn on maps and reserves created. Fences were erected and men with guns patrolled. But half of the world’s rainforests were still destroyed.
This is the question that Ovo asked when it launched. They knew saving rainforests was pretty much the best thing anyone could do to save the planet (after all, Sir David said so). But they also knew not much seemed to work.
As luck would have it, brand new Ovo bumped into brand new Cool Earth. And we had asked exactly the same question.
It seemed to us that the conservation movement hadn’t worked because it had ignored the most important species in the rainforest – people. It is people who decide if forest gets cleared or conserved. When push comes to shove, it is people who decide if it’s worth more as timber or canopy.”
So Cool Earth came up with ways of supporting those people who had most to lose from the forest being destroyed. Indigenous communities have depended on the forest for countless generations. They are also the rainforest’s most effective guardians.
Ovo liked the idea and made an extraordinary commitment to see if it would work. They promised to fund the protection of an acre of rainforest for every single customer that joined Ovo.
It was a big thing to do for a new company. Four years on, it’s bigger than we could have imagined since Ovo’s customers are protecting 90,000 acres of rainforest in the Amazon.
By putting 65 indigenous villages living on the frontline of deforestation back in control of their forest, Cool Earth came up with an alternative to fencing off reserves. By building better incomes, better schools and better clinics, Cool Earth has given these people the resources they need to keep their forest intact.
And it works. It works better than anyone expected.
Despite only covering 6% of the world’s land surface, rainforests contain more than 2/3 of its biodiversity. Peru is one of the world’s ten “megadiverse” countries and contains 760 endemic animal species and is second and third in the world for bird and mammal biodiversity. Saving an acre helps to protect the habitat of 15 endangered animals, including the magnificent jaguar, spectacled bear and the tiny cloud forest screech owl.
The forest in our Ashaninka project is home to more than 2,000. Having lived in the forest for countless generations their forest is now directly in the path of chainsaws and bulldozers. Your acre is part of the forest upon which our Ashaninka partner’s way of life entirely depends upon. It is source for all of their food, acts as a medicine cabinet and even provides the cotton from which they make their traditional dress – the cushma.
Every customer that signs up with Ovo Energy does something extraordinary – they save an acre (equivalent to half a football pitch or 15 tennis courts) of the world’s most endangered rainforest. Cool Earth are protecting the rainforest by working with local villages in Peru to keep the forest out of reach of the loggers’ chainsaws.
Helping to save an acre of Peruvian rainforest is likely to be the biggest difference any of will make for the environment in our entire lives.
Ovo now has more than 140,000 customers in the UK, which means it is forming a huge shield to the rainforest – protecting over 33 million trees, locking in more than 36 million tonnes of CO2 and generating more than 10 billion litres of water every year.
In total, 330,000 acres of rainforest have been saved – forest that lies directly in the path of chainsaws and bulldozers.
But the company goes further.
In order to prove to its customers that their money really is going towards saving the Rain Forests of Peru, OVO Energy and Cool Earth are supplying satellite imagery and geographic coordinates for its customers to be able to check their specific acres of rain forest via satellite photographs and Google Earth.
This is cutting edge stuff which puts the company directly in line for being one of the two major energy companies n the UK with morals and business ethics; the other being Coop Energy.
You can find out more about the Cool Earth project here
See OVO Energy's website here for further information.
Source: OVO / Cool Earth / The Guardian / Which?