Ovo Group has outlined its progress on hitting its 2030 target of net zero emissions as part of its ambitious Plan Zero commitment.

Alongside its latest financial results for the year ending 31 December 2019, the group posted a strategic update revealing its progress on its Plan Zero pledge which it launched in September 2019.

Plan Zero is a six-point plan setting out how Ovo will mobilise its customers to form a “zero-carbon community”, helping them halve their total lifestyle carbon emissions and eliminate their household emissions by 2030 – two decades earlier than the government’s net zero target.

Ovo said it was embedding Plan Zero through a “substantial organisational change programme”. It has set up governance structures such as a Plan Zero steering committee chaired by retail chief Adrian Letts. It has further implemented new software to track its progress.

Emissions

Ovo is subject to the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) framework regulations which means it reports its energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions figures relating to gas, electricity and transport, as well as an intensity ratio. It further reports on its energy efficiency action.

The company revealed it had reduced overall scope 1 and 2 market-based emissions by 8 per cent to 1598 tonnes of CO2 equivalent but had increased scope 1 and 2 location-based emissions by 7 per cent to 1985 tonnes of CO2.

The greatest contributor to scope 1 and 2 emissions is its fleet of engineering vehicles, followed by the gas and electricity it uses to power its buildings.

There has been a reduction in carbon emissions intensity relative to revenue by 34 per cent (market-based) and 24 per cent (location-based), showing the company is beginning to decouple emissions from growth.

Fleet

As part of its efforts to reduce carbon, the company is planning to replace, where possible, all existing petrol and diesel vehicles with electric vehicles (EVs). It hit 30 per cent of EVs in its Ovo Energy fleet and was focused on getting to its Plan Zero target of 70 per cent by the end of 2020.

It is also trialling fuel-efficient driving, e-learning, enhanced telematics reporting and improved route planning.

In 2018 the company had an average of 160 vehicles in its fleet compared to 300 the following year. This increase has had a significant impact on its fleet emissions, increasing by 32 per cent. Ovo hopes its initiatives regarding its fleet will have seen emissions level out in 2020.

Buildings

Ovo has completed energy audits on its buildings to identify energy efficiency and reduction opportunities. To this end it has begun to install LED lighting, has energy management systems in place and has been engaging its employees to use less energy. Ovo said that as a result of these measures, usage at its Bristol head office decreased by 28 per cent.

More than 50 solar panels provide power for the company’s new office space in London. Furthermore all appliances installed are A-rated energy efficient and all materials used have gained sustainability certifications. In addition, all offices where Ovo has operational control are powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity tariffs.

Overall, these measures have resulted in a 40 per cent reduction in Ovo’s scope 1 and 2 market-based emissions and a 10 per cent reduction in location-based emissions from buildings.

Value chain

Ovo worked with Carbon Trust to perform a preliminary evaluation of the 15 categories of its scope 3 footprint – or indirect carbon emissions resulting from its business activities – and found that the carbon footprint of the energy supplied to customers was by far the most material source of scope 3 emissions.

The company says in order to reduce the carbon footprint of the energy it sells it has offered products such as the carbon tracker which measures an individual consumers’ carbon footprint and recommends actions on how to reduce it.

It further cites the introduction of it Ovo Beyond membership upgrade which provides 100 per cent renewable electricity and 100 per cent carbon neutral gas. It also provides personalised energy insights through smart meter data.

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