Yesterday, the Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners announced that 100 percent of their new vending machines and coolers will be hydrofluorocarbon-free (HFC-free) by 2015.
The transition to HFC-free refrigeration will reduce the equipment’s direct greenhouse gas emissions by 99 percent.
Since 2000, the Coca-Cola Company has been working with Greenpeace to phase out the use of HFCs, which have been shown to be a major contributor of carbon-equivalent emissions. In fact, here’s a statistic that may surprise you: eliminating HFCs in the commercial refrigeration industry would be equivalent to eliminating the annual greenhouse gas emissions of Germany or Japan.
“Climate change is real and the time to act on solutions is now,” says Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. “Greenpeace has played a critical role in raising our awareness about the need for natural refrigeration. Our announcement today demonstrates a commitment to use our influence in the marketplace to drive innovation and help shape a low-carbon future.”
Global corporations are in a unique position to change the status quo with regard to sustainability. In this instance, Coca-Cola is committing to use its scale to aggregate demand and encourage supply as a means of accelerating the transition to HFC-free refrigeration equipment. I assume this will help accelerate a market shift in commercial refrigeration away from HFCs and towards natural refrigerants.
Already, the Coca-Cola Company has invested more than $50 million in research and development to advance the use of climate-friendly cooling technologies. In 2010, the company and its bottling partners will purchase a minimum of 150,000 units of HFC-free equipment, effectively doubling the current rate of purchase, to enable alignment with an interim goal to purchase 50 percent of all new coolers and vending machines without HFCs by 2012.
As a direct result of Coca-Cola’s supply chain engagement, a major supplier has communicated its intention to build a dedicated CO 2 compressor production facility, helping to meet the growing demand for HFC-free refrigeration options throughout the industry.