If you’ve been putting off switching your energy provider to one that’s actually invested in renewable energy and has committed to emissions reductions, this is your sign! Greenpeace has published a report ranking Australia’s energy providers to help people “cut through the greenwash and spin”.

The 2022 Green Electricity Guide, released on Tuesday, looked at 48 Australian energy providers and ranked them against six main criteria: providing renewable energy, ending coal use by 2030, halting fossil fuel expansion, supporting new renewable energy, transparency of marketing and pollution and environmental harm. 

It was the first guide since 2018, and first time the focus has been on marketing and greenwashing. 

Greenwashing is a marketing technique deployed to make products and services that may harm the environment or atmosphere seem more eco-friendly

“The guide helps cut through the increasingly common practice of greenwashing,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific senior campaigner Glenn Walker said.

“Many companies continue using dirty coal while spruiking the use of carbon offsets, which often do more harm than good by delaying meaningful action on climate change.”

Each provider was given a score out of five stars and yikes, there weren’t too many high scorers. Only 15 out of 48 scored 4 or above. And to no one’s surprise, the energy giants ranked “dead last”. 

AGL, Australia’s biggest provider, was ranked the worst, just behind Origin and Energy Australia.

The three companies together hold the biggest market share in Australia and each picked up only one star.

“They are the worst polluters, and are the companies people should be switching away from,” Walker said.

“AGL is Australia’s biggest climate polluter, accounting for about 8 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions [and] 83 per cent of AGL’s generation comes from burning coal.”

Walker also accused the worst offenders of “hiding behind marketing slogans” and greenwashing efforts without committing to any real action. 

AGL, Origin and Energy Australia all have links on their website to their own sustainability reports, outlining their progress and commitments to renewable energy. But Greenpeace gave AGL a score of 0/10 for the transparency in marketing criterion. 

Walker said the Guide not only highlighted the shortcomings of many electricity providers, but gave consumers the tools to take action and switch.

“Australians can play a crucial role in transforming the country’s electricity system by switching to a greener electricity provider, forcing dirty polluting coal out, and bringing more renewable energy in,” Walker said.

“By moving away from a provider that invests your money in fossil fuels to one that generates their own renewable electricity or buys energy from renewable generators you can vote with your wallet and send a signal to Australian energy companies that you want them to get serious about tackling climate change.” 

About 76 per cent of Australia’s electricity still comes from the burning of fossil fuels and Australia has the highest greenhouse gas emissions from coal power in the world on a per capita basis. 

We’re way fucking behind, and it’s our vote that can have the biggest impact. But money also talks. If you have the means, go on, show the government what you care about by switching providers. 

Here they are, the top 10 green energy providers according to Greenpeace:

  1. Enova Energy
  2. Diamond Energy
  3. Momentum Energy
  4. Aurora Energy
  5. Indigo Power
  6. Energy Locals
  7. Nectr Energy
  8. CoPower
  9. Amber Electric
  10. Powershop*

*Shell completed its acquisition of Powershop last week.

Image: Getty Images / Martin Pope