Ecotricity has been named as one of Britain’s ‘top 10 most disruptive companies’ in today’s 20th anniversary edition of the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100.
‘Distruptive’ business-model pioneers can achieve outstanding commercial success based on new technology – for instance, the Dyson domestic household cleaning tools, or what digital did to video players.
The inaugural Virgin Media Business Disruptor 10 recognises ten companies for having a business model, product or service that is creating a new market, or transforming existing markets and rapidly taking market share from competitors.
Governments at Holyrood and at Westminster are increasingly looking at ‘green-washing’ the carbon-based UK heating and transport industries.
Whilst many observers anticipate the BPV (battery powered vehicle) revolution will be ‘solved’ by US automotive manufacturers buying in (and/or ‘up’) Chinese volume-battery production, they also expect governments to lead the UK switchover from high-carbon ‘natural/ North Sea’ gas to zero-carbon hydrogen for households.
Ecotricity was recognised for being “the world’s first green energy company’ and for developing Europe’s largest ‘electric highway’ of 300 ‘electricity pumps’ for BPVs (battery powered vehicles) at UK service stations and pioneering carbon neutral gas production”.
Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder, said: “It’s fun to be named on this new list of disruptive companies – we don’t mind wearing that badge. It’s actually quite exceptional – since we’ve been doing this for 20 years – to still be considered disruptive.
“It’s our independence that’s enabled this – having no shareholders means we’re free to pursue our mission to build a Green Britain in any way we think is right.
“And in 2017, we’ll be taking our own brand of disruption into a new industry, as yet totally untouched by all this eco stuff.”
Vince and The Disrupters; how the green ‘band’ started its eco-journey to commercial success
After leaving school, Dale Vince became a new age traveller and lived “off grid”, generating his own power through a small windmill.
It was this sustainable lifestyle that inspired Vince to launch Ecotricity, the first green electricity company in the world, in 1996, marking the beginning of the now global green electricity market.
His mission was – and remains- to change the way energy is made and used in Britain, and the company now supplies green electricity and gas to homes and businesses across the country.
But that mission has expanded over recent years, and now includes the three causes of 80% of all personal carbon footprints – Energy, Transport and Food.
As well as building wind and sun parks, Ecotricity has installed the world’s first national network of electric car chargers, which now has almost 300 ‘electricity pumps’ capable of charging a car in just half an hour.
Ecotricity is also planning a 100 acre sports and green technology centre, dubbed Eco Park, next to the M5 motorway in south Britain – which could create more than 4,000 jobs in the emerging green economy, and house a new stadium for Forest Green Rovers FC, the world’s greenest football club, of which Dale Vince is chairman.
Ecotricity has grown rapidly over the past five years, with turnover up from £44 million in 2011 to £131 million in 2016, and customer numbers up fourfold in the same period, from 48,000 to nearly 200,000.
The company is renowned for its customer service, and has received the lowest number of complaints in the industry for six years out of the last seven years. Staff numbers have risen from less than 200 in 2011 to around 800 today.