Energy tariffs can only be marketed as 'green' if the provider creates extra environmental benefits.
According to energy regulator Ofgem, suppliers had been selling the energy generated as a result of their legal obligations as part of green tariffs.
The new guidelines, which the Big Six, along with 100 per cent renewable company Good Energy, signed up to, will require them to cut carbon emissions beyond what they are obliged to anyway if they are to be accredited to market a tariff as green.
In the case of households, it means either offsetting one tonne of carbon ? paying another organisation to carry out measures on their behalf that will reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere ? or helping with renewable energy community schemes and cutting emissions by less.
There are currently 319,000 UK customers on green energy tariffs.
Juliet Davenport, founder and CEO of Good Energy, said: "We are pleased to see these guidelines emerge and to be the first independent supplier to have signed up.
"Good Energy has been calling for more formal guidelines on green supply for several years to allow customers to differentiate between genuine green tariffs and mere 'greenwash'. We are especially pleased that green claims will be subject to independent scrutiny, giving consumers? confidence in what they are signing up to."
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