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US supermarkets failing on HFCs – EIA

USA: The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has accused US supermarkets of continuing to rely on HFCs and failing to reduce leaks and manage refrigerants through their full life cycle. 

In its Climate-friendly Supermarket Scorecard, released on World Refrigeration Day, the EIA assesses and marks supermarkets in three key areas: the adoption of HFC-free technology, refrigerant management, and policy and commitments.

ALDI, with a score of 70%, is seen as the top performer overall with hundreds more HFC-free stores than any competitor. Meijer is the highest scorer in refrigerant management and Ahold Delhaize and Kroger scored the highest in policy and commitments.

The EIA explains that the overall scores are based on a weighted average of points. The technology adoption category is most heavily weighted, followed by refrigerant management and finally by the company’s engagement with HFC policy and commitments. Some credit is also given for companies making extra commitments to future actions and goals. 

According to the EIA, 10 out of 16 companies are known to have installed HFC-free refrigeration systems, but companies including Walmart, Giant Eagle, Meijer, and Costco have yet to install any HFC-free refrigeration. Only 25% of companies were found to be sharing public information on specific efforts to reduce HFC emissions in corporate sustainability reports or company websites.

EIA climate campaign lead Avipsa Mahapatra described the US supermarket chains’ efforts as “woefully inadequate”. 

“Supermarkets must prioritise swift action to eliminate the use of HFCs in all new stores, and establish company-wide programmes to reduce their overall cooling footprint,” she said.

The scorecard can be accessed here.

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