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Introduction

The ethical tech movement extends beyond our machines and devices. Internet connectivity, which has become an essential part of people’s lives – for work, staying in touch with family and friends, shopping, banking and many other daily activities – also has a significant ethical component.

Keyword-ResearchLook out for our new sector-specific Ethical Accreditation certification marks which now cover over 15 different consumer product sectors. These are additional to our original Ethical Company mark that features on the packaging of over 100 million consumer products every year.

Ethical Effects

With the explosion of broadband availability – no longer restricted to homes and offices, but social venues like bars, cafes and restaurants – comes a concern that we are spending too much time locked to our screens. Not only can it replace face-to-face contact and socialising, but there are possible health implications like sleep disruption from ‘Blue Light’ transmitted by using a tablet/device before bedtime.

The environmental impacts of large data centres is an emerging issue. An article recently published by DW explores the energy efficiency and sustainability of the internet, citing estimates  that the data centres and massive data farms throughout the world now “account for about two percent of global greenhouse gas emissions – putting it on par with aviation”. Research out of Leeds University has contextualized the issue further, by showing how emissions are expected to increase by as much as 300 percent by 2026. This has led companies like Google to invest in renewable energy, pledging to power all its servers from renewables in the near future. As for your basic internet service providers (ISPs), research is ongoing into this incredibly complex issue. The data and information available is not yet definitive enough to accurately factor in and differentiate between providers. That said, understanding the efficiency and sustainability of ISPs – and which are the most “green” – is something we’re actively investigating. No doubt the more information we obtain moving forward, and as more “green” or ethical ISPs emerge in the market, these developments will drastically shape our future ethical comparison rankings.

Which supplier?

There ‘Big 4’ players within the UK ISP (Internet Service Providers) market are BT, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Sky making up almost 90% of the market. Others include: fuel broadband, John Lewis Broadband, plusnet, Post Office, SSE, TenTel, Utility Warehouse, Vodafone and Zen Internet.
Within our research, there is not a huge differentiation between ethical rankings – although some companies score much better than others. Of the larger ISP’s, Talk Talk tops the table with a high Ethical Company Index of 95. Other high-ranking companies include Post Office, Utility Warehouse and Zen Internet. The lowest ranking company is BT Group Plc, which offers services under the BT, EE and plusnet brand names.


Ethical Comparison – Broadband, TV & Telephone Detailed Table

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Buy our detailed Ethical Research Reports. See the findings behind companies’ ethical ratings, as featured in The Good Shopping Guide. Several different product sectors available covering hundreds of consumer brands.

We have created ethical comparison rankings for the following brands, based on the activities of the company group (see above tables): Talk Talk, Post Office, Utility Warehouse, Zen Internet, Fuel Broadband, TenTel, Virgin Media, Vodafone, Sky, SSE, BT, EE, and plusnet.

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LAST UPDATED: 2016