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.
Then, at the end of 2015, noting that our journey towards natural and ultra-low GWP refrigerants was not complete, our Board approved a second Refrigeration Resolution to continue the phase out of HFCs and call on the inclusion of HFCs in the Montreal Protocol.
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 Refrigeration Resolution and in the publication of the industry’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.
In October 2016, The CGF Board announced a second, more ambitious Refrigeration Resolution. The resolution focuses on four key areas; the installation of new refrigeration equipment in markets where viable, the engagement with key stakeholders to overcome barriers in markets where installation is not currently viable, the reduction of the environmental impact of existing refrigeration systems and the development of individual targets and action plans to measure the first three points. The Board also recognises the important role that regulation plays in ensuring the equitable global phase down of HFCs and successfully called for the inclusion of HFCs within the Montreal Protocol.