OVO cuts offsets from its pathway to true decarbonisation by 2035

OVO has doubled down on its commitment to reach True Net Zero by 2035 in its new Plan Zero report launched recently, radically reducing its reliance on offsets and increasing investment in energy efficiency measures for customers.

This follows the latest climate science guidance by SBTi, detailing a true and transparent pathway to decarbonisation. OVO is calling for companies to do more to reduce their reliance on offsets when setting net zero targets, and do more to prevent carbon entering the atmosphere.

A direct response to the climate crisis, Plan Zero demonstrates the clear role that companies and individuals have to play in reducing carbon emissions and acting together to reach net zero.

OVO commits to limit its carbon offsetting 

With many organisations relying primarily on carbon offsetting in their net zero plans, OVO is instead focusing on True Net Zero. This means taking action to significantly cut carbon, decarbonise homes and eliminate gas reliance. To achieve this OVO has committed to limiting its carbon offsetting to just 10% of its total emissions.

Offsets counterbalance carbon emissions mathematically (for example, planting trees to compensate for flight emissions). However, although this can be an effective way to invest in climate positive initiatives, it’s an outdated methodology which does little to prevent greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere. 

Instead, OVO is investing in more energy efficiency services and products to eliminate carbon emissions at source (homes and transport) as part of its Path to Zero offering.

This follows its move away from REGOs earlier in the year, tackling greenwashing in the industry and calling for truer green tariffs in the energy retail market. 

OVO has already made progress on its True Net Zero ambitions by:

  • Reducing its total carbon footprint by 36% since 2018 with the majority of offices powered by renewable energy
  • Shifting 71,000 kWh of power used in homes to greener times of the day through its Power Moves in 2022, rewarding customers almost £150,000 in total
  • 47,000 OVO contributing nearly a million (£945,000) to new renewable projects
  • Between January and July 2023, electric car owners on OVO’s Charge Anytime rate saved £1 million and prevented 33 tonnes of carbon from being created – the same as driving the length of the UK 144 times

Key highlights from 2023’s Plan Zero report:

  1. OVO has released a refreshed decarbonisation pathway, setting out how it will reach 2035 net zero targets through helping customers decarbonise their homes.
  2. Since 2018, OVO has seen an over 50% reduction in operational emissions
  3. Earlier this year, OVO announced its move away from REGOs, instead offering customers a Path to Zero which will form the foundations of the Plan Zero report going forward and focus on household energy efficiency solutions 
  4. This report marks OVO’s move to complete impact reporting to ensure we are being transparent about our social impact too
  5. Carbon offsets will only be used when absolutely necessary for any emissions the supplier cannot reduce or avoid.

Owen Anderson, Head of Sustainability at OVO, said:

“Transparency in carbon accounting is critical to reforming our energy system into a truly sustainable one. In order to achieve True Net Zero for everybody, we need to do more to stop carbon at its source. Our focus is, and always should be absolute atmospheric decarbonisation.. True Net Zero means getting more renewables on the grid, electrifying heat and transport, and ending reliance on offsetting. We hope that this will become standard practice for businesses globally.

“We’re powering good progress towards decarbonisation both operationally and for our customers, but there’s still a long way to go. Plan Zero sets out how together, we can make the planet a healthier one, but to get there we need less net, and more zero. ”

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