During a climate seminar event toward the end of 2010, members of the Consumer Goods Forum, made up of European sector manufacturers and retailers, announced intentions to ban their use of refrigerant gases that they said had high global warming - including HFCs - by 2015 and to replace them with natural refrigerants.

This is according to an announcement from the environmental group Beyond HFCs.

“The initiatives that our industry announced are good examples of the kind of bold and positive action that will be needed to move the needle in combating climate change,” said Muhtar Kent, on behalf of the board of directors of CGF.

“When big corporate names such as Unilever, Tesco, Coca Cola, and Carrefour take such a step, they create enough momentum to make the whole industry move. The commitment of these companies to ban F-gases from their equipment is a clear sign that they recognize their contribution in fighting climate change. But they also acknowledge the availability and viability of natural alternatives in commercial refrigeration, namely the natural refrigerants CO2, ammonia, and hydrocarbons”, said Christianna Papazahariou, head of BeyondHFCs.

Kent, who also works for Coca-Cola, and Lars Olofsson of Carrefour, a supermarket chain, noted, “This is the first time that the entire sector has aligned around the importance of taking action to accelerate the move to climate-friendly refrigeration. The technologies exist today for our sector to significantly reduce the direct and indirect emissions of the refrigeration equipment we use. This initiative by The Consumer Goods Forum demonstrates our commitment to action.”

The announcement appears to relate to the European market where alternatives to HFCs such as HC refrigerants have been used in such products as vending machines.

Beyond HFCs used the announcement to also urge United Nations and European Union decision makers to make HFC reduction a priority in climate change action.

The organization noted that in the EU two pieces of legislation “also reflect the need to move away from F-gases” - the EcoDesign measures and the Review of the F-gas Regulation.

According to Beyond HFC, “Refrigeration plays a vital role in the retail and consumer goods industry but is also an important source of greenhouse gas emissions, because of the leaking refrigerants, as well as through the energy consumed. We are promoting the use of natural refrigerants such as CO2, hydrocarbons, and ammonia in refrigeration, heating, and cooling equipment.”

Publication date:02/14/2011