Carbon Logic Ambassadors – Pledge 1 & 2 July – Results

Carbon Logic Ambassadors – Pledge 1 & 2 July – Results

1. Pete Masters, Truro City Football Club

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PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!

“Southern Electric have informed us that we are already on their cheapest Evergreen tariff and that they would let us know at least once a year if this changes.  They worked out for us that we have used 5% less electricity than in the same period last year!”

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“In recent years there has definitely been a shift in our family towards buying products with a strong local provenance. Just down the road from our own L2 Night Club is ‘Thorne’s’ fruit and veg shop which we probably visit a couple of times a week.  Although not all their products are locally sourced we always buy Cornish products when available. Both L2 Night Club and Bunters buy all their fruit for their drinks from Thorne’s. Thorne’s also very kindly sponsor Truro City Football Club by supplying all the fruit for the players at half-time.”

 

2. Ruth Smith, ZLC Energy

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PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!

This pledge was a great starting point, and I’m really interested to know how others found it? We’ve been customers of Good Energy for many years, as choosing more renewable energy has always been important to us. When we made that choice, it definitely came at a higher cost than the cheapest options from the bigger suppliers; however, it’s far more competitive these days.

I think if you’re fortunate enough to be in the position to make that choice, then it’s definitely an easy, affordable way to make a difference. However, it’s important to remember that, especially for the many people in fuel poverty, choosing an energy supplier comes down to who is the most affordable. There should be more emphasis on the suppliers taking the responsibility, and making it easy for people to choose affordable green energy tariffs. Schemes such as Community Energy Plus group energy switch are working hard to make that more accessible to people in Cornwall.

The current energy market doesn’t make it easy for smaller more ethical energy companies to compete with the more established providers, and it will be interesting to see what happens in the review of the industry this year. It would be great to see the market opening up to smaller suppliers and community generation.

For anyone in a position to make more of a commitment, renewable energy is definitely a great choice. In his recent interview with Obama, David Attenborough highlighted the need to increase the take up of renewable energy and energy storage. We’re experiencing more and more interest from homeowners and businesses choosing renewable energy, which is really positive. We’ve also been developing energy storage right here in Cornwall, with a product called Wattstor, so it was great to hear David Attenborough sharing our enthusiasm for renewable energy and storage.

We’ve had lots of initial interest in Wattstor, so some homeowners in Cornwall are already leading the way and enjoying cheaper energy costs and future proofing themselves from an uncertain energy market.

It’s a really positive time for cleaner, renewable energy, and switching to a more renewable tariff is a great place to start.

Renewable Energy Storage and WATTSTOR

‘Solar PV and Wind energy systems are useless when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing’. They also generate their power at the ‘wrong time’. These criticisms are silenced by the addition of a Wattstor™. Affordable Renewable Energy storage will revolutionise energy provision nationally and globally (Germany introduced a subsidy scheme for energy storage on the 1st May 2013). Renewables systems efficiencies can be increased by as much as 300% and savings of 75% on imported power are achievable. Off grid conditions are available to Solar PV system owners in the summertime and those with wind power as well as Solar PV can be off grid all year round. Standby power/grid independence is also provided in the event of mains failure (brown outs and blackouts forecast by OFGEM in winter 2015/2016 arising from the delayed replacement of UK Power Station). The Wattstor™ Mission is to provide low cost, affordable and viable energy storage systems without the need for unreliable political subsidy consistent with high quality and business sustainability. It will develop and adapt its offerings in line with the certain future innovations in energy storage technology. Transmission of electricity via a creaking grid system is very inefficient. It is much better to generate locally, store locally and use locally – a Wattstor™ achieves this. If adopted nationwide, storage of Renewable and Grid energy surpluses for later use has the potential to make much of the grid and the power stations supplying it, redundant. We could be closing down Power stations rather than building new ones – especially the nuclear one the UK Government is planning to pay the French and the Chinese £20bn to build for us!

The world renowned naturalist, David Attenborough met with Barack Obama and the meeting was shown on BBC1 on the 29th June 2015. David mentioned TWICE that renewable energy storage was the way ahead for the planet’s future energy provision. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsoPOQE5ass. David has since written to us “I was most interested to read of the WATTSTOR. Clearly the ability for individuals to store energy generated by their own individual sources is a most important one if we are to solve the problem of Climate Change”

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“Running a business and juggling work with 2 young children means it’s not as easy as it used to be to shop local. When the children were small, I used to make a trip out of visiting the local farm shop, fishmonger and the green grocer, each of them choosing something to eat there and then or take home as a treat. I just don’t have time to do that anymore! We used to use People and Gardens veg bag, which is fantastic, but we’re too far away now.

This pledge was a great reminder, as I’d slipped back into getting all my shopping from whichever was the closest supermarket, trying wherever possible to choose local, but it’s not that easy. I’ll be honest, it’d taken me a month of having it on my to-do list, but I have now signed up for a weekly food box from Cornish Food Box. Our first box was delivered today, and I’m really looking forward to being inspired by the contents of the box.”

 

3. Deborah Clark, former PR Company Director

PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!

“The quality of response from my supplier was disappointing, as are the many phone calls I get cold calling to sell energy efficiency measures at home.  Sourcing low carbon energy and reducing power consumption are both important initiatives deserve better.  (My energy supplier directed enquiries to a live web chat, and we all dread those awful cold calls!)  I made the choice to invest in PV and solar thermal years ago and find the quality of cold calling especially shabby.”

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“On retirement I have ramped up my own gardening and at this time of year a lot of what we eat is home grown, supplemented with a neighbour’s small vegetable stall and local markets where possible.  When it comes to meat buying, as a farmer’s daughter who still keeps a few bullocks I mourn the loss of the local butcher but still try to buy local, or at least English, as much as possible.  Our local choice is “Lily’s Tearooms” just down the road from Shortlanesend which grows much of its own salads, vegetables and fruit, although not, I am ashamed to report – scones and cakes – which I am very partial to!”

 

4. Cllr Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council

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PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!  

“My first pledge was to find out if my electricity supplier had a Green Tariff. How difficult could that be?  However it turned out to be anything but simple. My supplier is British Gas. I have a dual fuel agreement with a £15 discount paying a unit rate of 13.460p per kWh and a standing charge of 26.000p per day.

I logged into my online account and called British Gas asking them if they had a Green Tariff because I wanted to buy electricity that was sourced from renewable sources of generation. Initially the operative said, oh you want to fit solar panels? No! I want to know if you have a Green Tariff. “I can put you through to the insulation team” No I just want to know if you have a Green Tariff, who should I speak to? Every time I was put through to the ‘Green Team” I listened to green sleeves for 2 or 3 minutes then the phone went dead. Nothing! I rang again after negotiating the press 1 etc system and asked for the direct number of the mysterious Green Team. Same scenario, music then nada! Im very frustrated now. What should be a simple question to answer has proved to be so frustrating. Another operative seemed to be making sense, “I just go and check with my manager”. 15 minutes later, yes 15minutes and I was still no further forward. I made a final call venting my frustration and I thought I had someone who could help. She made the right noises but left me on the line for 10mins to find out the information I needed. That’s when I gave up.

Come on British Gas your staff are very poorly trained, it should not have been so hard to answer a simple question. If you don’t offer a Green Tariff just tell me. So my first pledge has been an epic fail and I did try very hard! I’m considering changing my supplier as a result of my very poor experience of British Gas.”

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“My second challenge is to eat at least 2 meals from locally sourced and seasonal produce. I wanted to choose a meal that was fairly effortless to prepare and cook and not overtly expensive. 

This was not so much a challenge for me as I have delivered to my door a weekly Keveral Farm organic vegetable box which costs £8.00. I see the benefits of purchasing this box to be beyond the obvious; access to fresh local organic produce that encourages me to eat more healthily, but that it supports a collective of local growers and keeps my money circulating in the local economy. It saves food miles and avoids ‘leakage’, creating a more ‘circular’ local economy where money is spent supporting the local economy. It also keeps alive that link and understanding between where the food is grown and the consumer as well as adding a social dimension in the manner in which the Keveral farmers work collaboratively. Trerieve Organic Farm a supplier is also part of the higher level stewardship scheme and this week welcomed a group of school children from Polperro Primary School in my division.

This week’s box contained Cornish new potatoes, beetroot, carrots, a cucumber, salad leaves and onions.

However I’m still an omnivore and therefore I ventured to Quayside Fresh on East Looe Quay for some meat. We are lucky in that Philip Warrens at Oughs have a butchery counter here as well as Tamar Fruits green grocery and a range of delicatessen style cheeses, pickles and other treats.

First to the butchery counter. They were advertising Lanson sausages, Cornish bacon, South Devon burgers as well as chicken, beef and lamb. I quizzed the assistant as to where the meats came from as I spotted on one pack that the postcode was Exeter. He assured me that this was where their processing and distribution operation took place and that the animals from which this meat came from were indeed in Cornwall. The assistant was extremely helpful and talked about traceability, but I needed some reassurance so checked their website and emailed them asking for that reassurance which I duly received. It did get me thinking how much of what we purchase actually comes from where we think it comes from. 

How easy is it for the consumer to check and be confident they are not purchasing something that is just packaged in Cornwall’s? For example it could be labelled Cornish when it’s produced miles away? 

Traceability is important as is the knowledge of the shop assistant. It’s up to us as consumers to challenge. 

I had more luck with the South Devon beef burgers. Although the shop assistant knew they were produced in Cornwall, again I had to take to their website to find the details and this rare breed South Devon Red herd are just a few miles away at Menheniot on Tregondale Farm. This prize winning Tregondale Herd of 240 South Devon Cattle traces its pedigree history back to 1947. This long established and successful herd are well known award winners at major and local shows including society sales and herd competitions.

This recognised native breed provides excellent eating qualities, finely grained and marbled succulent beef. Tregondale South Devon Beef is naturally fed and produces a high quality premium meat from a traditional breed that tastes great.

Although not the cheapest burgers, the burgers are delicious made from the tasty shin cut. The price does however compare favourably with an Asda extra special steak burger which is £1.87.

I asked another assistant in the green grocery to signpost me to produce that was produced locally. He was only able to suggest Cornish new potatoes and usually they would have Tamar Valley Strawberries but could not get hold of any currently.

I found this disappointing although most produce was English.

Why isn’t Cornish produce being stocked? Is it price or availability? Or are others just more adept at getting produce to market?

In attempting to source my meal from local seasonal produce my last purchase was some artisan bread rolls which came from a bakery in Devonport, Plymouth.

No early Summer meal would be complete without some strawberries and cream. A stroll further down the quay to Pengelly fishmongers and I find Cornish soft fruit for sale including Tamar Valley Strawberries. Combined with Rodda’s Cornish Clotted Cream from the Co-op my mission was nearly complete. The display of locally caught fish was breath-taking and the Pengelly family take such pride in the quality of their produce and service. In keeping with my easy cook meal I purchased Looe caught haddock fish cakes made on the quay at £1.50 each.

My observations.

  • Challenge shop keepers on traceability and their food knowledge
  • Finding seasonal produce is not as easy as you might think unless you have a farm shop on your doorstep
  • I could find no locally produced seasonal produce in the local Co-op and Spar supermarkets
  • You may have to pay a little more and go out of your way to find it but the quality is superior and the buying experience definitely much more pleasurable.

My meals

  • South Devon beef burger with caramelised Keveral Farm organic onions in a Devonport Bakery artisan bread roll, with minted (from my garden) Cornish new potatoes, Keveral organic broad beans and carrots.
  • Tamar Valley Strawberries and Roddas Clotted Cream
  • Pengelly’s Haddock Fishcakes with Cornish new potatoes and salad leaves, beetroot and cucumber.
  • Tamar Valley strawberries with Treleavans vanilla ice cream, made in Looe.

http://www.cornishfarmhousebacon.co.uk

http://www.philipwarrenbutchers.co.uk

http://www.treleavens.co.uk/contact-us/

http://www.pedigreesouthdevons.co.uk/tregondale-south-devons-news.htm

http://www.keveral.org

http://www.roddas.co.uk

http://www.tamarviewfruiterers.co.uk/home

http://pengellys.co.uk

 

meal veggie box

 

5. Archdeacon Bill Stuart-White, Archdeacon of Cornwall

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PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!

“Our current utilities contracts were complete so I was able to change to a Green Tariff. After a little internet research via the “Which” Switch website and filling in various online forms, I talked to a consultant as a result of which, we have taken out a new 12 month contract with “Ovo” for our gas and electricity, which includes a 100% green electricity tariff. The website claims that this will save us £46 per year compared to our current contract, but this is not easy to verify since we pay by standing order and have built up considerable credit. We’ll wait and see about this and about how smoothly the switch goes, but are glad to be able to be on a green tariff.

The process was not without the usual frustrations of talking to a call-centre operative, but it took about 40 minutes from start to finish.”

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PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“Lovely fresh fish, locally caught and sold from the stall on Lemon Quay is a regular treat. This time is was wonderful Pollack and “interesting” Smoothhound (a kind of shark). The choice of veg was limited, but we got what we could.”

 

6.   Donna Birrell, BBC Radio Cornwall Presenter

PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!

 “Completed, but only after some time on the telephone. .. another reason to be better at planning my day. I haven’t changed to green energy yet, but will consider it. However, this has made me think about energy consumption in my home. Eg.. I’m terrible at leaving all the lights on in every room, but now I’m making a conscious effort to switch them off. Also, I drive a very old Land Rover and much as I love it, I feel guilty and would like to convert it to bio-diesel. Not sure about the cost, but I will find out!”

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“If anything, this pledge made me realise that my current carbon footprint and the way I live my life is more like a giant pair of waders! I found it difficult to complete even this simple task, but it has made me realise that if I am to succeed in this challenge, I need to be more efficient and organised with my time and plan longer- term. 

I need to reassess the way I live my life, less short term decisions and more long range planning.”

 

7.  Robin Freight from St. Austell Brewery

PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!

“We don’t currently use a Green Tariff but produce a large amount of Solar PV to help offset our usage.  We are looking at this subject as part of our 2016 procurement review.”

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“Local Sourcing – basically, where possible, we source all our food produce from our County!”

brewery food map sourcing

 

8. Bishop Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro

PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!  

“The Church Commissioners are responsible for the bills at Lis Escop (Bishop’s house near Trelissick) so I have put the question to them.”

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“I have been away quite a bit.  I was in York University for the meeting of General Synod I was staying in James College.  I asked the staff if the food we were being served was locally produced and sourced.  They introduced me to the Head Chef Adam Thur who told me that most of their food was locally sourced and produced and took me through the various foodstuff and where they came from.  He was very helpful. I then went to Sheffield and stayed at the Church Army Centre Wilson Carlisle Centre and asked boss Mark Russell about their food and again he was able to say the majority of it was locally produced and I met the chef who explained their policies.

I then went to Mirfield where again the monks have a policy of using much locally produced food. I am now staying in the Farmers Club where again (and you will not be surprised to hear!) they have a policy of using good quality farm produced foods and have clear lists in their menus about the origin of their food. I have not been home much but when I was I shopped in the local spa in Playing Place.”

I was very impressed how open all the people were in the places in which I have stayed to being asked about the source of their food and clearly it was a priority for most places to ensure food was locally produced and sourced and wherever possible as fresh as possible.”

 

9. Rev Steve Wild, Chairman of the Cornwall Methodist District

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PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!

“This was a fascinating experience we use ‘British Gas’ the young lady on the other end of the phone was very kind and listened as I explained – she had never had anyone ask to switch before she didn’t think that they did it. She went to ask someone and came back offering me a special discount if I made my home ‘greener’ but although I am 60 it didn’t count because I am in full-time employment. I must say I am disappointed in my supplier for not doing this and will explore changing my supplier.”

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“Going to buy fresh locally sourced vegetables was easy I walked from my office and picked up a wonderful basket of beautiful fresh food from the Cornish Food Box all locally grown and we have nearly eaten it all already. The staff were incredibly helpful the whole experience cheered my day

“Luci Isaacson is in my book of heroes! She belongs to Truro Methodist Church and is such a lovely person. We had such a great time last week shopping and having such fun with the people from the Cornish Food Box. I learnt a lot about climate change and the way locally sourced food has a role to play in reducing my carbon footprint as well as supporting the Cornish economy.” 

10. Kirstie Newton, Cornwall Today Editor

PLEDGE ONE: I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!

“The first challenge was already at the back of the net for me. We switched to Good Energy shortly after moving in here (June 2013). Their description: “We supply you through the National Grid, which is like a dirty pond of electricity. When you switch to us, we match all the electricity you use over a year with electricity sourced purely from renewables. It’s like pouring fresh water into that pond.” More than half of the energy they match comes from wind, 20% from solar. Also, about a year ago, we had solar panels fitted. Our bills are now lower (I have to keep calling Good Energy to ask them to lower my direct debits, as we are hugely in credit!) and we also get payments from the Feed-in Tariff (which is sadly under threat under the current Government). I wish I could claim credit for some of this, but it was all my partner’s initiative. That said, we appear to be a low usage household – we don’t have loads of electronic gizmos like X Boxes, we try not to leave things on standby, and by doing the washing etc during the day, I get to use natural power from the solar panels.”

PLEDGE TWO: I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week

“Two meals a week using local produce, I found much harder, and I’m not sure I made it – but I am taking baby steps! I’m really busy, juggling work and family, so I tend to shop for convenience. That usually means supermarkets – but I shop little and often at the Co-Op (very ethical) in town, rather than driving to a big supermarket and buying loads of stuff (including impulse buys, and food which might get wasted). And I try to buy British wherever possible, avoiding produce that’s been transported across the globe if UK alternatives are available.
However, we grow our own too, and I’ve been cooking a lot of potatoes and cabbage from the garden, supplemented with something from the shop – say chicken Kievs. I used to get a fortnightly delivery of local veg, but found that an undesirable amount was not being used, going mouldy and straight onto the compost heap! As such, I feel I’m saving money and minimising food waste by shopping differently. I’m trying to use alternative outlets where possible – the pannier market, say, for fruit/veg and meat, or the Cornish Food Box Company.”