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Ecotricity released the ads last year after its electricity was accredited by The Vegan Society. One ad showed minced meat coming out of a plug socket, alongside the words: “These are secret ingredients that you might want to know about. They come from factory farming – animal slurry and body parts.” It also said the power was guaranteed to be vegan.
Multiple complainants questioned whether Ecotricity could substantiate its claims to supply vegan electricity as energy supplied came from various suppliers via the National Grid and thus came from various energy suppliers. Two complainants branded the adverts ‘offensive and distressing’ The complaints led to the ASA launching an investigation.
Vegan electricity adverts
Ecotricity confirmed that The Vegan Society had audited its supply chain and found its electricity to be vegan.
While the ASA conceded that animals could have been hurt by Ecotricity’s infrastructure – i.e. birds and bats flying into wind turbines – it said that as the adverts themselves were for vegan electricity, consumers would interpret that as meaning that factory farm byproducts were not used.
“Because that was the case, we concluded that the claim was not misleading,” said the ASA.
Truthful vegan adverts
“The ASA’s decision not to uphold a single complaint against our Vegan Power campaign is not a surprise, and we thank them for their thorough investigation,” Ecotricity spokesman, Will Guyatt, said in a statement.
“The same old arguments get leveled against green energy advertising again and again, but we adhere to a very clear set of guidelines to ensure our ads are truthful and proper.
“We intentionally wanted to raise awareness that animals are a secret ingredient powering homes across Britain and our campaign was seen by almost 10 million people, and trended online. Many of us are already make choices according to our principles, but this campaign saw a large number of people join Ecotricity for the first time.
“It angers a tiny minority, but Vegan Power exists.”