The electricity sector has a significant role to play when it comes to how we take those big, positive steps towards a more sustainable society. This is especially true when it comes to carbon emissions. While New Zealand has hit its stride with renewables – over 80 per cent of our electricity now comes from renewable sources of electricity like wind and hydro – energy still accounts for about 40 per cent of our total carbon emissions, according to the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
But I thought my retailer provided green electricity?
The fact is that, unless you’re off-grid, it’s difficult to know exactly how green your electricity is (even if a company tells you otherwise). Our electricity production is much like vege soup, where everything is thrown into one big pot – the clean and the dirty. Just because a company generates green electricity, that doesn’t mean that it turns up at your house.
This is what makes the ‘how you use it’ part of the green equation important. But how can we take action in our homes that’s meaningful, especially on top of everything else there is to think about on a daily basis (laundry, nappies, dentist, hockey, dinner-time battles)? That’s the question that Flick Electric Co. has been working on answering with their carbon-counter, CHOICE.
Giving Kiwis a CHOICE
Flick is still a relatively small electricity retailer, but they’ve been aiming for big impact since the day they were founded. A lot of that impact comes down to empowering all Kiwis – whether or not they are currently Flick’s customers – to understand what’s going on when it comes to the carbon emissions of their electricity.
The Flick app has always had a carbon counter that sends live updates about the carbon impact of electricity in the national grid. Flick realised that while those updates
helped guide people as to when they should turn off electricity, it was still almost impossible for people to understand how their household power use contributes to New Zealand’s overall carbon emissions. And that’s how CHOICE was born.
Since July 2018, CHOICE has provided customers with a personalised calculation of emissions from the electricity they use at home. Customers can login to their app and check out how many kilos of carbon emissions they produced in the previous week (currently measured in goat farts – something which may resonate with parents of babies and toddlers!).
Making consumer choices that count
Flick has also partnered with the charity Trees That Count – the charity that our Prime Minister used to provide a gift to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s new baby – to give customers the opportunity to offset their emissions by funding the planting of native trees.
Chief Marketing Officer, Anita Watson says that, “We understand that, as a company, we’re only as strong as our community and the natural environment that supports that community. This is particularly true when it comes to our role as a power retailer. The way energy is produced and consumed is a really critical piece of the carbon puzzle, and we want to do everything to help our Flicksters not only be conscious consumers, but also active contributors. CHOICE is our first step on the path to making that possible.”