Retailers announce new push on HFCs

11573888_sPARIS/NEW YORK: The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) has announced a new resolution on refrigeration, calling on all consumer goods companies to phase out HFCs.

The resolution focuses on the installation of new refrigeration equipment where viable, a push to overcome barriers in markets where not currently viable and a reduction of the environmental impact of existing refrigeration systems.

In the week before the Montreal Protocol meeting the CGF has also backed a global phase down of HFCs.

“Once again CGF members are showing global and environmental leadership, and this latest move will play important role in achieving wider sustainability standards in the industry,” said Mike Coupe, CEO of Sainsbury’s. “As we move away from HFC gases and towards cleaner business practices, it’s crucial that the consumer goods industry continues to lead the way and stay ahead of the curve.”

The Consumer Goods Forum includes around 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries.

This latest resolution follows the CGF’s first Refrigeration Resolution in 2010. The group argues that at that time the low carbon technologies to replace HFCs were unproven and so undertook to commit to trialling new approaches to refrigeration by 2015.

As a consequence, CGF argues that its members have installed low carbon refrigeration systems in over 4,000 supermarkets, four million ice cream and drinks chiller units worldwide and industrial plants with the majority being natural refrigerants.

The CGF, however, acknowledges that while the testing of pilots and introduction of natural refrigerants has been positive, the new resolution announced today is necessary to help drive further uptake and ensure HFCs are permanently removed from operational systems globally.

No that CGF members are without their critics. Last year, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)  claimed that US supermarkets were falling behind retail chains in Canada, Europe, and Japan in moving away from high GWP HFCs. In a survey of 12 retail chains, the environmental group claimed that US supermarkets were leaking an average of 1,556 tonnes of CO2-equivalent HFCs each year. Eights of the retailers were members of the CGF.

Related stories:

CGF records refrigeration successes

US retailers ignore HFC replacements

EIA questions retailers’ HFC commitment



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