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Companies to Phase Down Potent Greenhouse Gases

From Environmental Leader, Published 17 September 2014

Coca-Cola, Target, DuPont, Honeywell and other major companies along with the White House have announced a series of commitments to curb emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and air conditioning.

The companies say they will begin a rapid phase down of R-134a and similar chemicals. The Administration is also stepping up diplomatic efforts to enact a phase-out production and consumption of these GHGs under the Montreal Protocol.

Among individual companies’ commitments:

  • Target is expanding its use of HFC-free refrigeration systems, partnering with chemical producers to test the next generation of climate-friendly refrigerants, and working with a beverage cooler manufacturer to test HFC-free solutions this fall.
  • Coca-Cola has set a goal for 100 percent of its newly purchased cold drink equipment to be HFC-free.
  • Honeywell will increase production of its low-global-warming-potential (GWP) refrigerants, insulation materials, aerosols and solvents, and, prior to 2020, will drive a 50 percent reduction in its annual production of high-GWP hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) on a CO2 equivalent basis. The company projects that use of its low-GWP Solstice HFC replacements will eliminate more than 350 million metric tons in CO2 equivalents by 2025.

The EPA announced three new actions that it says will help support a smooth transition to climate-friendly alternatives to HFCs, including:

  • listing additional fluorinated and non-fluorinated chemicals as acceptable alternatives in a variety of industry applications;
  • identifying refrigerant management options to reduce HFC emissions from air conditioning and refrigeration equipment; and
  • organizing with stakeholder engagement a series of sector-specific workshops on seeking transitions away from high global warming potential HFCs.

The new efforts build upon progress and commitments already made under EPA’s GreenChill partnership, which works with the supermarket industry to transition to climate-friendly refrigerants, reduce the amount of refrigerant used, and eliminate harmful refrigerant leaks.

If supermarkets nationwide reduce refrigerant leaks to the current GreenChill Partner average of 12.4 percent, they could generate annual cost savings of over $100 million across the industry while preventing the annual emission of about 27 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the EPA says.

For additional reading regarding sustainable brands and companies, please refer to the following links:

Sustainability Trends Impacting Firms Across Industries
How the Retail Industry is Adapting to the Sustainability Agenda
Constructing Sustainable Business Models