European retailers are failing to divest themselves quickly enough from HFCs, argues a report published today by the Environmental Investigation Agency.
Albert Heijn's new store in Purmerend, Netherlands. The EIA identifies the Dutch retailer as a Green Cooling Leader.
Many European retailers are unaware of the upcoming HFC supply cut in 2018, a reduction in real terms of as much as 48% below the baseline, according to the 7th Chilling Facts report from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), published today.
The resulting HFC shortages will not only lead to higher refrigerant prices, but the related increased demand from retailers may drive illegal trade in HFCs, the report warns.
“European retailers stand out as global leaders in the adoption of HFC-free commercial refrigeration but, despite well-established and efficient HFC-free alternatives, the uptake across Europe is far short of the pace needed to meet the EU’s fast-acting HFC phase-down,” said Clare Perry, the EIA’s climate campaign leader.
Natural refrigerants CO2, hydrocarbons and ammonia offer market-ready alternatives to HFCs. The report indicates that uptake of HFC-free technology is already well underway across the EU, with CO2 transcritical systems spreading eastwards and southwards throughout Europe.
Building on a previous report published in 2014, the 7th edition draws from supermarket data aross 37 countries, provided by 22 retailers in a survey covering the 2015 calendar year.
The findings show that taking advantage of newly optimised refrigeration equipment and installing CO2 transcritical systems with parallel compression and ejector technology will reap energy efficiency rewards, even in warmer locations such as Italy and southern Spain.
Regarding the implementation of the EU F-Gas Regulation, the results indicate that while retailers are well aware of upcoming bans, there is a lack of understanding or consideration of the impact of the wider HFC phase-down.
The pace at which retailers divest themselves of HFCs “needs to be increased to avoid the disruption associated with imminent supply cuts and price hikes”.
“Despite well-established and efficient HFC-free alternatives, the uptake across Europe is far short of the pace needed to meet the EU’s fast-acting HFC phase-down.”
– Clare Perry, EIA
Albert Heijn, Metro, Carrefour among ‘Green Cooling Leaders’
On the more positive side, the EIA also awarded the Green Cooling Leader title to eight retailers who have demonstrated a genuine commitment to rolling out HFC-free refrigeration across their global estates. This year’s Green Cooling Leaders are Albert Heijn, Aldi Süd, Carrefour, Kaufland, METRO Cash & Carry, Migros, Tesco and Waitrose.
Olaf Schulze, director of energy management at the METRO Group, sees the Green Cooling Award as welcome recognition of the group’s sustainability efforts.
This week, three more METRO locations will start operating CO2 transcritical systems: a new store in Alès, a new warehouse in Warsaw and a remodeling in Verona, Schulze told this website.
Currently the company is working on the transition to a CO2 transcritical system in Leipzig, and in the coming weeks installations will begin of three transcritical systems in METRO Cash & Carry stores in Moscow.
Two weeks ago, METRO opened a new CO2 transcritical store in Barcelona.
Click here to read the EIA report 'Chilling Facts VII: Are Europe's supermarkets ready to quit HFCs?'