Refrigeration is a significant and growing source of greenhouse gases. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are 1,400 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, and represent 1.5% of total warming potential today, and are expected to increase to 6-9% of total GHG by 2050 unless action is taken. As a result, in 2010, we made a commitment to tackle the growing climate impact of the refrigeration systems used by our members. At the time, the low carbon technologies to replace HFCs were unproven and so our Board took the decision to commit to trialing new approaches to refrigeration from 2015 onwards.
To support this, as the only organisation bringing consumer goods retailers and manufacturers together globally, we have been able to bring our members together to discuss the barriers and solutions to a faster and geographically wider uptake of natural refrigeration systems; help those that haven’t yet explored or invested in natural refrigeration systems to realise the benefits of doing so; and give suppliers confidence that the sector is interested in this technology.
Fast forward to the end of 2015 and progress has been made. Our members have been piloting and implementing natural refrigeration systems all over the world, and with positive results.
Today, our 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. This work has taught the industry valuable lessons about issues such as low carbon technology options; deployment costs; energy demands; performance in hotter climates; and the availability of skilled installers and maintenance engineers.
This culminated in the January 2016 decision to close the original Refrigertaion Resolution and in the publication of the indsutry's first ever Refrigeration Booklet, which showcases real examples of how our members have been piloting natural and low-carbon refrigeration systems, and the benefits they've seen as a result.
However, we want to see further implementation of natural refrigeration systems beyond 2015. We will continue to mobilise the efforts of our members and work with civil society and international organisations, with a view to promote the development, commercialisation and adoption of climate-friendly alternatives to HFCs for all relevant industry sectors and overcome barriers that limit the widespread introduction of these climate-friendly technologies and practices.
The CGF Board has, therefore, now called on the Sustainability Steering Committee to develop a potential resolution to show how the industry will further scale up low carbon refrigeration in the future.