Ecotricity v EDF

Have you seen those green union flags doing the rounds? On the 10th June this tweet came from @ecotricity on twitter:

The Green Britain flag you may have seen on the TV etc is not ours! EDF the French nuclear power company has stolen it!

The very next day I spotted one of the green union flags in the nearby town of Aldershot on a billboard in the High Street. This street advertising was part of a campaign which has been gathering momentum both online and on TV with what seems like a huge campaign.

EDF, or Electricité de France, seem to be pumping millions of pounds into their campaign of the first Green Britain Day on Friday 10th July. They're also the official sponsors of the 2012 Olympics in London. So apart from sponsoring a huge international event with one of the worst logos ever designed they've stolen someone else's rather good imagery.

Ecotricity have been using the green union flag for a number of years now and it has become synonymous with their brand - they are British and they are green, so to have a French nuclear company effectively "trade off" the brand that has been created by Ecotricity over the years seems a little shady to say the least. Ecotricity may be a smaller company and less well known, they also spend less on their advertising because they have an organic reputation and they spend more money on generating clean, renewable energy rather than wasting money in the advertising game.

So it's no wonder that Ecotricity's CEO Dale Vince is rather annoyed with EDF, calling it The Green Union Hi Jack. Take a look at Dale's blog to see how the Ecotricity vans have been branded and EDF have copied them.

To add injury to insult, EDF are also the world's third largest nuclear polluter, beaten only by the USA and Canada, so EDF are then by definition the world's largest corporate nuclear polluter. They burn lots of coal too.

So apart from the blatant plagiarism, the "trading off" another company's image & credentials, EDF could be pulling off one of the greatest acts of Greenwash and the British public need to know that they're being lied to, which is a shame really as the EDF campaign is in partnership with the much-loved Eden Project. There is a Green Britain facebook campaign that people can join.

The threat of legal action against EDF remains a real possibility after they were apparently asked to desist from using the green union flag that Ecotricity had commissioned and used for a number of years. EDF are understood to be "disappointed" by Ecotricity's stance, although whether this came from EDF's Media Director, who just happens to be the brother of illustrious PM Gordon Brown, is not known.

We'll keep you posted.


The amount of money that we can only guess that EDF threw into this campaign makes you wonder why they didn't pay a design & marketing team to come up with something else?

I totally agree with you regarding the complete lack of corporate social responsibility on EDF's behalf. Personally I don't care that they're French or French government-owned but what is objectionable is, as you say, the nuclear aspect and the far-too-personal-for-comfort ties with British government (plus the fact that EDF pretty much own British Energy outright)

I've already joined the facebook group for the real Green Britain Day :)

Why do EDF feel the need to take a genuinely green, genuinely British
renewable energy company’s clothes? Is it because the EDF emperor has no genuine green clothes of his own?

Why aren’t EDF being more upfront with the British public about the fact
that they’re a nuclear energy company, burn vast amounts of coal, or that
they’re 85% French government-owned, [or that Andrew Brown, the Prime
Minister's brother is their Head of Media?]

Please become a fan of the authentic Green Britain Day on