Celebrating Black History Month 2021 at Octopus

Black History Month at Octopus

Black History Month 2021 has provided us with the beautiful opportunity to celebrate and elevate all that is Black and British. This is important all year round, but October presents the special occasion to reflect on our history and future - after all, Black History is British history.

Last year, the Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd had a powerful impact that reverbarated in every corner of the globe.

Across the UK, individuals and companies publicly committed to making a change. There seemed to be a widespread realisation that it was our collective responsibility to ensure an equitable world for all.

Whilst the protests have become less ubiquitous, ensuring that black people have access to all the same opportunities as white people, remains as important as ever.

At Octopus, we have been committed to making a positive change in the world since our inception. Our mission is to grant access to clean and affordable green energy to all, to help create a healthy planet. However, we know there can be no climate justice without racial justice.

Over the past year, we have done lots of internal work to play our part in making the energy industry more diverse, including a successful 8 week Tech and Operations Internship, as well as overhauling our recruitment process (read more about this below).

We are continuing to support black charities with our £100,000+ internal OE Black Lives Matter fund, by donating both time and money.

We’re also delighted to share a digital version of our Second Edition Black History Month magazine below. It features profiles from some of the brilliant people at Octopus, as well as fascinating articles written by black British writers on racial and environmental justice.

There is still lots of work to be done to create a truly equal world and at Octopus, we plan to be a part of the solution.


and as always,



Samsam, Blog writer

At Octopus, we believe in creating a working environment that is as diverse as the world we live in.

Have a look at these blog posts to see how we are going about this!

Image of the Octopus Team
Check out this blog post detailing the way we have re-imagined and re-created our recruitment process Read all about our approach to ensuring Octopus is diverse and inclusive
Sotiris at an Octopus Party
Check out this interview with Sotiris, one of our recruitment leads, as he discusses our novel approach to hiring Here Sotiris discusses the behind the scenes of hiring and tells us all about the unique Discovery Days
Check out our first Edition Black History Month Magazine Published in 2020, this edition includes interesting profiles from within and outside Octopus discussing race and environmentalism

Reflections from some brilliant black women in the Octopus Team

Ruby, Senior Operations Manager at Kraken Technologies and Rheanne, Team Leader in Leicester were kind enough to write short pieces for this year's Black History Month magazine.

You can read their pieces below to get to know a little more about the people that are working hard to ensure Octopus is a leader in the fight for climate justice.

Ruby, Kraken Tech Operations Manager

Ruby, Kraken Tech Operations Manager

Click here to read about what Black History Month means to Ruby and Octopus


As the leaves begin to fall from the trees, coats get thicker, and the rush of summer eases, October provides the perfect opportunity to reflect.

This Black History Month, we wanted to not only reflect on the past but also appreciate the beauty within our present.

Over the last 12 months, Octopus Energy Group has transformed, almost doubling the talent we have, establishing teams in several continents and expanding our tentacles into energy generation.

It's been a year where we have seen many more incredible people of colour joining our organisation, some of whom you’ll hear from within this magazine. All of whom are making incredible impacts across the business.

It’s been a year when the first black person (and British as well!) won best writer at the Emmys, and Black Lives Matter were nominated for a Nobel peace prize.

It’s been a year where we hosted our first internship, within technology and operations, to support young black teenagers.

It’s been a year of immense progress and positivity, but these things are limitless.

To continue to push the boundaries of what we’ve always known, it has to be ok not to know in the first place.

Friends have asked me, am I able to participate in black history month if I’m not black? The answer is always yes! It will never be normal to talk about black history if the majority do not, and it’s ok to begin at knowing nothing at all.

So whether you’re starting fresh or you’re a black history brainbox, everyone is welcome to take part and learn something new with us.

This month is an open invitation to everyone to join in - not only reflecting on the past but appreciating our present and playing an active part in the future.

And we hope you enjoy it!

Rheanne, Team Leader

Rheanne, Team Leader

Click here to read Rheanne's fascinating essay exploring identity


Identity… It's quite a loaded word.

Sometimes it can be such an intimidating word to face, and that’s for anyone of any background, heritage and sexuality etc. For me however, as a mixed race young woman, it’s been the most challenging and fluid part of me to describe or pinpoint.

I am half Jamaican and half English (Scandinavian English if you want to get specific ) - with a multi cultural and multi faith family. And you’d think that says it all right?

Now, if I were to write that down on a piece of paper and hand that to you before you had ever met me, what would your first thoughts about me be?

Would you start to create personality traits for me or decide my preferences and tastes…. Or would you envisage specific physical traits you expect me to have and maybe even an accent? Then there’s the attitude and certainly when it comes to the workplace, how professional would I be?

These are just some of the things that have been through the mind of employers throughout my career path when I’ve answered those diversity questions, disclosed my ethnicity on an application form or had my photo on my CV. It’s been clear in the past, when I’ve been told not to work the front of house role in a restaurant as I “don’t fit the company image” or that I need to be extra smiley and avoid sharp tones in my voice, slang and patwar before my first day at an office; that these stereotypes attached to race are quickly applied to anyone that potentially identifies with a mixed or black background.

I know that for me, being a mixed race person of colour and being lighter in skin tone will mean that, even though those things are considerations, and the journey through education and employment will present challenges, but often I will make the pass rate. Especially if, on top of that factor, I use the tools provided by my parents to speak well, have great manners, always put others before myself, avoid racial topics and most of all… Blend in! Often being referred to by colleagues in previous jobs as being the ‘whitest black girl they know’.

For many melanin Queens and Kings with a darker complexion, this is even harder and the struggle is just unbearable, and I feel a huge sense of respect and responsibility to support my friends and family who have had that struggle because of this. It’s sad that in order to feel accepted, often I’ve felt the need to dull down parts of my personality that would be considered ‘black’, and hide my tastes in food fashion or even my emotions and passion for morality especially in the workplace, for fear of that ‘angry black girl’ title or falling out of line with what the companies have looked for.

However, in more recent years I’ve had to get to know myself again and through the journey of learning to express my authentic self, I’ve never felt more proud to have a mixed heritage and represent both sides of me, my family and cultures.

an Image of Aaliyah

Aaliyah, Operations Manager

Click here to get to know Aaliyah's unique perspective


A short story from a mixed race young woman who has struggled with her racial identity for as long as I can remember.

I'm Aaliyah, I'm 23 and come from the wonderful yet not-so-multicultural city of Stoke On Trent in the Midlands. Before the age of 18 when I took my first holiday abroad of my own accord, Stoke on Trent was all I'd ever known. Alongside that came the creation of my own confused understanding of my black heritage, derived from others.

My dad is a British born Nigerian man and my mum is white British. Most of my childhood was spent with my mum as their separation took a huge toll on my childhood - I can't really remember a time seeing my mum and dad in the same room. My dad lost both his parents whilst I was a young girl and due to my mum and dad's separation, I only got to see him on weekends. My dad being the only black figure in my life, and being the family member I saw the least as a child, meant that I felt lost in a city full of white people.

Being the only little girl with curly hair, which not even my Mum knew what to do with, a different nose and my only 'talent' being able to run fast, I felt a little bit lost of purpose.

I enjoyed school, but not because I was happy; I just didn't enjoy home either. My mum went on to re-marry and had my three other siblings, who are beautiful, but as a teenager, this further highlighted my insecurities of being different. These insecurities were highlighted most when I got to drinking age, which I never expected. Going to the local pubs with friends that I'd known since nursery started to feel scary, and I suddenly felt like I didn't belong more than ever before.

Six months after I turned 18, I went on my first girls holiday and my world opened up. Suddenly, I felt different. There isn't one thing I can point to explain this feeling but there was suddenly another world to consider, another set of people and another way of thinking. It inspired me and it pushed me. I came back from this holiday totally changed. I went from having aspirations of being a hairdresser (as I'd done my own hair since the age of 7) or a teacher because they were the only people to have understood me as a child, to having dreams of moving out of the council estates I'd grown up in, to going to Uni and maybe (just maybe) getting out of Stoke on Trent.

I write this as an operations manager at the age of 23, living in Brighton after moving out on my own after Uni. I am more confident in my skin than ever and working for an amazing, amazing company. I no longer feel the need to straighten my hair every day to fit in or change my music tastes to attend the gigs that all my white friends talk about. Instead, I'm someone who is viewed by my friends as a confident and one of a kind individual, and I just love that for me. I now get to see my Dad more than ever, who is my best friend. As I grow up I'm slowly learning about his background and the lives of my Nigerian grandparents which is such a joy.

In the next few years, I want to visit my other home country and further discover where I come from. My hope is to spread this self-love and love of my heritage into my future children and grandchildren.

Loving yourself is so important and by no means am I saying I don't struggle sometimes, but I'm so thankful for my journey and life path. Not to mention, it is just so fun going back and blasting grime in my home friends' ears!

Be yourself, it's so worth it!

Interested in becoming a part of this Octopus Team?

We are always looking for motivated and passionate people to join our team, so follow this link to have a look at all the awesome opportunities we offer! – careers at Octopus.

Shining a spotlight on Black British activists and environmentalists

We've curated a few of our favourite resources investigating the intersection between race and environmentalism. Read all about it below!

BLM protest

'Climate Change is Racist' By Jeremy Williams

This article explores the deadly effects of global warming—and their unjust impact across racial lines.The systems behind the climate crisis and racial injustice are all interlinked and this piece brilliantly explains how this works. It also shines a light on the activists who have been working to make the world cleaner, greener and more equal.

Read an excerpt from Climate Change is Racist here.

Watch this video which further explores the clear links between racial and climate justice:

Spotlights: Here are a few of the brilliant, Black and British activists using their talents to tackle racism and the climate crisis

Isis Thompson

Twitter: @Thisisisis1

Isis Thompson

Isis is an award-winning documentary maker working in film and audio. She has produced work for Ch4, BBC Radio 4 Audible and is currently a consultant on the Mothers of Invention Podcast. Isis is also an activist for Wretched of the Earth and challenges us to consider how we can make vital activism truly global and inclusive in her upcoming podcast It's not easy being Green & Black’.

Simmone ahiaku

Instagram: Simmoneahiaku

Simmone Ahiaku

Simmone is an award-winning change-maker, campaigner and activist who has contributed to environmental, social and cultural work in Bristol, London and across the UK. She interned at the City of London Corporation as part of the Air Pollution and Noise team where she first contributed to a report exploring air pollution, race and class - sparking her passion for climate justice and liberation from all unequal systems of power and oppression. Previously the Fossil Free Campaigns Coordinator at People and Planet, Simmone developed her skills and campaigning around climate justice, collective liberation and solidarity and uses facilitated workshops and panels as her medium to educate, spark conversation and dismantle power.

Ian Soloman

Image source: www.mayproject.org

Ian Solomon- Kawall

Ian is an eco-artist with over 20 years experience of leading positive social change and raising awareness for a multitude of social issues through the powerful words and rhythms of Hip Hop music and a non-exhaustive passion for the environment and conservation. Ian combines his love for music and love for nature; grounded in a deep respect for the beauty and abundance of Pachamama (Mother Earth), issues of global food security and local food growing systems, to entertain and educate. He is co-founder of community-led food growing space, May Project Gardens. Here he mentors young people, nurtures ideas and fuels passions through music and a connection to the environment through a leadership programme, Hip Hop Gardens.

Published on 31st October 2021 by:

image of Samsam Farah

Samsam Farah


Hey I'm Constantine, welcome to Octopus Energy!