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Net zero: Consumers want 'green' action from energy and telecoms providers

Ombudsman Services | Mar 09, 2021

Consumers care what energy and telecoms providers are doing to protect the environment and want them to take action on net zero in a post-pandemic world, according to a new report.

The seventh annual Consumer Action Monitor (CAM) report by not-for-profit complaint handling body Ombudsman Services found that:

  • An energy or telecoms provider’s green credentials were most important to the youngest and oldest in society, with 66% of both 17 to 24-year-olds and over-65s saying they were important.

  • Green credentials mattered more to women, with 64% saying they were important compared to 58% of men.

  • 65% of consumers felt their energy provider’s green credentials were important, compared to 56% for telecoms providers.

  • 44% of consumers said energy and telecoms providers must start to take the environmental protection agenda more seriously in the post-pandemic world.

  • At least 50% of consumers in all social groups, from AB to DE, stated that a provider’s green credentials were important.

Ombudsman Services, which handles unresolved complaints in the energy and telecoms sectors, surveyed more than 10,000 consumers during its research for the 2020 CAM report.

Purple Line divider

Matthew Vickers, chief executive at Ombudsman Services, described the findings as evidence of a widespread desire amongst consumers for “genuinely green” energy and telecoms products and services.

He said: “Our report makes clear that many consumers are looking to their energy and telecoms providers to do the right thing on sustainability and environmental protection.

“In a post-pandemic world, there is an opportunity for companies in both sectors to demonstrate their commitment to the green agenda and net zero.

“With a growing number of energy suppliers offering green tariffs and several telecoms providers making commitments on net zero, it’s important that consumers can trust the ‘green’ claims being made and that consumer protection is designed with this in mind.

After all, a low-carbon economy will need to be a high trust economy

Matthew Vickers, Chief Executive | Ombudsman Services

The 2020 CAM report also found that:

  • 83% of consumers say a well-handled complaint increases their loyalty to a company.

  • Complaints about products and services fell significantly in 2020, with consumers becoming more tolerant of poor service during lockdown.

  • Just 3% of those surveyed knew that energy and telecoms providers currently have eight weeks to resolve a complaint before it can be escalated to an ombudsman.

The 2020 Consumer Action Monitor (CAM) report by Ombudsman Services can be accessed here.