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EFCTC urges support for illegal refrigerant campaign

GERMANY: The refrigerant producers group EFCTC is inviting companies from across the refrigeration and air conditioning industry to join a new campaign to eradicate the black market for HFCs. 

Describing the refrigerant black market as a threat to Europe’s climate goals and the environment, the EFCTC aims to encourage joint action from across the refrigerant value chain by urging industry and citizens to join its #SayNoToIllegalHFCs campaign. 

The first supporters of the industry-wide initiative were announced at today’s Chillventa eSpecial online exhibition and conference, by Felix Flohr, sales and marketing manager, regulatory specialist refrigerants Daikin Chemicals Europe. These early supporters include German refrigerant supplier Westfalen AG and the German industry associations VDKF, ZVKKW and BIV.

EFCTC is urging support from producers, importers, distributors, contractors and end users, with pledgers being able to sign up as individuals or as companies.  

The group insists that successful eradication of the black market depends on strong enforcement and policy action across the EU. EFCTC also urges officials across the EU to raise awareness about the pledge and work with industry to achieve common goals. 

“We stand behind the F-gas regulation, but the EU and member states should meet ambitious legislation with ambitious enforcement at their borders,” said Felix Flohr.  “Fines need to be higher, harmonised and consistent across all member states. Customs officers need to be equipped with the tools to identify illegally imported HFCs and access the HFC registry in real time.” 

According to EFCTC studies comparing Chinese export figures with EU import statistics, the black market for illegally imported HFCs in Europe in 2018 contributed up to 34 million tonnes of CO₂ equivalent – a third of the official allowable quota. Concerns are that the figures for 2019 may be even higher.

The issue is widespread and illegal trade routes and reseller markets are complex. From production to its end use, an HFC cylinder can change hands many times. The EFCTC argues that this is why the black market for refrigerants can only be eradicated if every link in the value chain takes its responsibility seriously and joins the fight. 

“Now is the time to act. The next quota reduction in January 2021 will further shrink the legal market to 45% of the 2015 benchmark posing an opportunity for illegal actors to meet demand and grow the black market,” said Dave Smith,  business director at refrigerant manufacturer Koura Global.  

A “pledger” will receive more detailed information on what action can be taken, as well as a suite of digital assets.

Further information here.

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