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US supermarkets lag behind Europe

USA: The US supermarket sector continues to lag behind its European counterparts in moving away from the use of HFCs in its refrigeration systems.

In its second Climate-Friendly Supermarket Scorecard, green group the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) also claims that US supermarkets continue to leak, on average, 25% of their refrigerant gases a year.

Designed to embarrass supermarkets into action, the Scorecard evaluates sixteen of the leading companies. These are scored on three categories: HFC-free technology adoption, refrigerant management and policy and commitments.

Overall, despite the widespread availability of climate-friendly technology, of the sixteen companies evaluated only two companies received EIA’s passing scores. 

ALDI, Whole Foods, and Target received the highest overall scores, with ALDI the top scorer overall and in technology adoption with hundreds more HFC-free stores than any competitor. Meijer is the highest scorer in refrigerant management, with Walmart scoring the highest in policy and commitments.

Other than the top three scorers, according to the EIA each of the remaining thirteen companies only have less than 1% of their stores using HFC-free cooling.

Giant Eagle, Meijer, and Southeastern Grocers have yet to install HFC-free refrigeration in a single store, although several stores have partial installations, the EIA says.

Addressing refrigerant leaks is seen as crucial to curbing emissions. The EIA claims several companies showed progress, although only six of the companies surveyed disclose an annual average leak rate.

“Congress, courts, and corporations continue to squander opportunities for climate action in this most urgent decade. This includes the US supermarket sector which, barring incremental progress by some companies, has overall shown a lacklustre progress in breaking away from HFCs,” said Avipsa Mahapatra, climate campaign lead for EIA. 

Related stories:

US supermarkets failing on HFCs – EIA – 28 June 2020
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. Read more…

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