Challenging Drax’s Greenwashing, UK

Drax makes profoundly misleading claims about forest and climate benefits of burning trees for energy. We are challenging Drax’s greenwashing under the OECD guidelines for responsible business conduct.

Drax power station. Credit: Andrew Whale

Drax, the UK’s largest wood-burning power plant, is fueled in part by wood pellets manufactured from irreplaceable forests of the US and Canada. Logging and burning forests emits more CO2 than coal and is destroying valuable forest ecosystems. Despite the scientific consensus that burning trees is not climate-friendly, let alone carbon neutral, Drax makes misleading claims that it is reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In October 2021 the FLC joined forces with RSPBBiofuelwatchConservation North and Save Estonia’s Forests to file a complaint against Drax under the OECD guidelines for responsible business conduct. The complaint asks Drax to withdraw its misleading statements and issue a full public explanation of the true carbon and forest impacts of burning trees for energy.

In July 2022, the UK National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD issued its Initial Assessment of our complaint, confirming that the complaint merits further consideration. We continue to await the NCP’s Final Assessment which will determine whether Drax has breached the OECD guidelines.

News Coverage

Financial Times, Oct. 25, 2021. Drax faces complaint about ‘misleading’ biomass emission claims

The Global Legal Post, Oct. 25, 2021. ‘A critical complaint at a critical moment’ – Mishcon advises on ‘greenwashing’ claims against UK power giant

Économie, Oct. 26, 2021. NGOs accuse energy company Drax of improperly presenting biomass as clean energy

DeSmog, Oct. 26, 2021. Report Examines ‘Net Zero’ Climate Strategies, Finds Corporate Plans Lacking in Lead up to COP26

Market Screener, Oct. 26, 2021. Drax: Faces Claims of Misleading Consumers About Wood Pellet Emission

The New Statesman, Oct. 27, 2021. The battle over burning: why Drax is being accused of “greenwashing”

Nation of Change, Oct. 27, 2021. Report examines ‘Net Zero’ climate strategies, finds corporate plans lacking in lead up to COP26

The National, Nov. 3, 2021. The only ones who keep the leaders right on climate are being shut out

The Telegraph, Nov. 4, 2021. How Boris Johnson’s pledge to end forest destruction ignores 25m trees Britain is burning for biomass

Global Legal Chronicle, Nov. 12, 2021. The Lifescape Project and The Partnership for Policy Integrity’s Complaint Against Drax Group plc

Financial Times, Dec. 1, 2021. Drax accelerates push to biomass

Articles following the Initial Assessment in July 2022

Bloomberg, Jul. 7, 2022. Drax Green Credentials Under Review as Campaigners Cry Foul

Utility Week, Jul. 27, 2022. Drax faces challenge over biomass claims

Energy Live News, Jul. 28, 2022. Drax under scrutiny over alleged “misleading” CO2 claim

The Telegraph, Jul. 28, 2022. ‘Greenwashing’ power station given £2.4m in daily subsidies must ‘justify environmental claims’

The Daily Mail, Jul. 28, 2022. Fury as British Gas owner Centrica’s ‘obscene’ half-year profits increase FIVE-FOLD to £1.34 BILLION as it’s revealed UK’s household energy bills could rocket to £500 per month after Russia cut Europe’s gas supplies

The MailOnline, Jul. 28, 2022. Wood-burning plant in eco probe

Corporate Knights, Aug. 24, 2022. Will Drax’s claim that burning Canadian wood pellets is green go up in smoke?

Clean Energy Wire, Sep. 23, 2022. Company climate claims in court: Pending cases will shape future of ‘net zero’ pledges