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Together chiefs hit back at us

Last week we questioned some figures on carbon cuts from the organisation, Together – “the UK’s biggest climate campaign”.

Well they came back and told us we failed to give them a chance to speak…

So here’s  what David Hall, campaign director of Together, has to say (sent to Greenbang by a press officer).

In your recent article – Together we’ll succeed, but only if we tell the truth – you underline the important message that saving CO2 is not only good for the environment, but consumer’s wallets too. The achievements of the Together campaign and its recently launched ‘pocket and planet’ saver guide are drawn upon for reference, but you leave a couple of unanswered questions.

The first being ‘Greenbang wonders about some of the figures the campaign uses to justify its claims’.  The Together campaign works with many of the UK’s favourite brands including B&Q, M&S, Tesco and O2  to offer people practical climate-friendly solutions like cut-price energy saving light bulbs, offers on loft insulation and incentives to not upgrade their mobile phone handset every year. 

Every time one of these offers is taken up, we use actual sales and research data (all independently verified and calculated by The Climate Group, with significant input from the EST too) to add up the simple actions into a total CO2 figure.  We use this to show how small actions can make a big difference and to date a saving of 522,494 tonnes of CO2 has been made.  (We are confident that this is an extremely robust figure and would be happy to put you in touch with our research team who are responsible for calculating and updating it if you would like to understand it in more detail.)

With regard to ‘more realistic comparisons’ the ‘Pocket and Planet’ saver guide was designed to illustrate a broad range of activities which can save money and the planet.  These range from small easy things that almost everyone can do (e.g. washing at 30 with a saving of £10) to longer term investments which may not be possible for everyone such as insulating your loft or driving a less polluting car. As the campaign expands and grows (recent partners included Coca Cola, Warner Bros, MySpace and The National Trust who join existing partners such as Tesco, M&S, B&Q, National Express) an increasing number of solutions will enable consumers to do more to tackle climate change and reduce their household bills. 

The important general point that we wish to make is that many green behaviours can save you money, which goes against the received wisdom of ‘I’d like to go green but I can’t afford to’.  With regard to the public transport vs. driving point we felt that it was important to show people the full cost of driving as it is easy for people to underestimate this.  Bear in mind we only assumed someone might do this once a year so we can hardly be accused of overegging this particular example!

With so much noise around going ‘green’ nowadays, Together seeks to provide consumers with a trusted reference for what they can do to tackle climate change.  As economic concern continues to rise we will maintain our focus on the money savings that can be achieved too.  We appreciate the opportunity Greenbang has given us to highlight (and debate) this important point.

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