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.
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.
"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."
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.Reuse this content
Maria is the Editor of Plant Based News. A former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaChiorando and Instagram @mariachiorando.
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