Patagonia launches campaign urging Brits to support community renewable energy

Image: Joppe Rog/Patagonia. 

The outdoor clothing and equipment brand launched a new campaign, called ‘We the Power’, in the UK and EU on Thursday (15 April). The campaign’s headline facet is a documentary of the same name that has been made available on YouTube.

The 38-minute documentary explains how community renewable energy projects can contribute to the low-carbon transition, as the EU and UK alike aim for net-zero by 2050. It also outlines the potential benefits in terms of lower energy bills and local economic benefits to residents.

Overall, the narrative hammers home the need for a socially just low-carbon transition, discussing the ways in which renewable energy could help tackle issues like fuel poverty and local skills pipeline as well as national and international climate action.

Success stories from several countries are showcased. In the UK, the documentary states, there are more than 300 community energy organisations, which, in 2019, generated £4.6m in community benefits and mitigates more than 65,000 tonnes of CO2e.

According to research commissioned by Patagonia for the campaign, there are currently more than one million people involved in the community energy sector across the EU and UK. But, with the right support from bodies like councils and NGOs, as well as enabling policies, this number could increase to 260 million, the research states.

The campaign’s specific call to action for the UK is for the backing of the Local Electricity Bill. Drafted by Power For People, the Bill is designed to ensure that Ofgem creates a Right to Local Supply framework. Such a framework would help new and existing projects with setup and running costs.

Patagonia had already been supporting London-based Power for People through its Action Works platform, designed to connect individuals and organisations working on environmental and community projects. Other Action Works members in this space include Minneapolis-based Community Power.

“Community energy is a win-win situation, whereby local, renewable energy production puts money directly into local communities and speeds up the creation of a cleaner, healthier future for our children,” Patagonia’s environmental action and initiatives director Beth Thoren said.

“Patagonia is committing – through our voice, our support for grassroots groups across Europe and our actions as a responsible business – to advocating for this revolution in energy.” 

Biodiversity and business 

Beth Thoren was interviewed by edie for the recent biodiversity-focussed episode of the Sustainable Business Covered podcast. You can stream that episode, also featuring the Woodland Trust and Earth Security, here. 

This podcast episode is part of an ongoing master series hosted in partnership with the Woodland Trust. The free-to-download biodiversity and business report is now available here, and the webinar portion of the series will take place on Wednesday 21 April at 11am BST. The webinar will feature guests from Kering and Unilever, Tickets can be purchased here. 

Sarah George

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