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How we saved our first million in just three years

Wednesday, 18 November 20205 minute read
Steven
Pure Planet
Sustainability

We've saved or offset 1,000,000 tonnes of CO2 since we launched.

There was a time when we almost gave up on the idea of Pure Planet. Trying to start any business is hard. Trying to get an energy business going is really hard.

But like the millions of dreamers and ever-optimistic entrepreneurs before us, we were convinced we were onto a winner with our idea for Pure Planet. It was fresh, digital and green — and had all those never-been-done-before qualities.

Who wouldn’t want to choose renewable energy — with its great-for-the-environment pluses — especially when it was so much cheaper than the dirty, polluting, climate-damaging, fossil-powered equivalent?

And our gas was to be fully offset, too — carbon neutral.

The idea of a progressive, big community-hearted energy retailer, that was clean and green to its core, was so necessary for the climate-battle of the 21st century — and destined for success…

Save money; save the planet. Pure Planet. A double no-brainer.

Or so we thought.

At the end of 2015, just as the Paris Climate Agreement was being struck by the world’s nations, we started fundraising.

Setting up an energy supplier is expensive — way beyond our personal means — so we needed investment. Checks notes: trying to talk to anyone in the finance world just before Christmas is never a good idea… and we had to wait until 2016 before we really got going. Lots of investors, venture capitalists, and fund managers wanted to meet us though. ‘Tell us more about this Pure Planet you want to create,’ they said. ‘It sounds intriguing.’

So we happily hit the road, hawking our Powerpoint slides around the City, kissing frogs, week after week. For months.

And months.

‘No, sorry. We like what you’re trying to do, but it’s not one for us.’ We heard these gut-wrenching, heart-sinking, morale-wrecking lines more than 70 times. JK Rowling has nothing on us: Harry Potter was rejected only twelve times.

Nobody said Pure Planet was a bad idea. It was just that nobody backed us.

Repeated rejection is really tough.

We started to question our sanity. Was Pure Planet really a commercially viable concept after all? And, in those foggy, forsaken, frustrating moments, we came very close to giving up.

But there was always a nagging feeling that just wouldn’t go away. It pulled us up, pushed us back out, and kept us going.

It was the belief that Pure Planet could help make a difference to the world. It wasn’t that we were trying to fund just any old energy business. This was a green business, a force-for-good business, a climate change-challenging business.

This simple, expansive thought kept us going. We’re far from the stereotypical hair-shirted hippies of old; just every day believers in trying to do something useful with our skills (we three co-founders had careers centered around telecoms). Crucially, we really did want to create something sustainable, something good.

It all sounds a bit mad, and a touch delusional, in hindsight, doesn’t it?

But hope and determination are big forces. And we were lucky to have had just enough of both for just long enough.

We got our breakthrough in the summer of 2016.

Three firms wanted to back us in the end.

We chose bp, one of the world’s largest energy majors, which owns a minority stake in a now-thriving Pure Planet. bp, as you may have seen, especially recently, has been accelerating towards a greener future and has invested in several low carbon ventures.

Its vision back then, and its investment and support since, have helped Pure Planet launch, grow and thrive.

We recently passed our third commercial birthday. We employ more than 120 caring people who look after our 180,000 trusting Members. Pure Planet is growing. We’ve won awards: we’re the best place to work in the South West and the second best place to work in any smaller company in the UK. We’re a Which? Recommended Energy Provider for 2020. And we’re developing new, low carbon products and services to help our Members live an even greener life.

The biggest thing we’re proud of? We’re just about to pass 1,000,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent saved or offset since we launched. It’s a massive climate-changing accomplishment. And it’s because people like you chose renewable electricity, and maybe carbon offset gas, from Pure Planet. Thank you for your custom and putting your trust in us.

We don’t measure our success by achievement, but by our potential.

It feels like Pure Planet is just getting going. Yes, we’ve saved a million tonnes of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere in just three years, but we’re on track to match that within the next 12 months. And if we keep growing at the rate we are — which we hope — that carbon number will climb exponentially.

Looking back, we’re so grateful for each others’ support — especially in those testing moments of doubt — and that of family, friends, our visionary colleagues of course, and our suppliers, for helping Pure Planet take its place on Britain’s energy stage. Our thanks to our Members for joining Pure Planet. Just look at the impact you’re making.

One million tonnes… and this is just the beginning.

Thanks for being part of Pure Planet.

Steven