Goodbye to climate-killing Coke machines in Japan

Feature story - May 31, 2005
Coke is replacing nearly a million vending machines in Japan with units that won't use climate-damaging chemicals for refrigeration. If Coke can do it in Japan, there's no excuse for any company in any country to be chilling their beverage at the cost of warming the globe.

Image from an E-card, part of the Cokespotlight campaign, which successfully changed Coke's policy on climate-killing refrigerants.

Coke isn't taking this action out of the goodness of their heart.  It took consumer pressure and creative lobbying by Greenpeace, Adbusters, and other groups to make it happen.

But to their credit, Coke responded energetically to the challenge.

At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, our online activists took on Coca-cola for using climate-killing chemicals in the refrigeration units they were sending to the "Green" Olympics.  A barrage of e-cards, e-mails, and stickers on Coke machines around the world secured a promise fromthe Coke CEO to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) -- a potentgreenhouse gas.

HFCs were introduced in the late 1980s as an alternate to refrigeration using Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which were responsible for punching a hole in the protective ozone layer around the Earth. 

Greenpeace partnered with industry to create a technology called "Greenfreeze" which transformed the European industry.

Coca-Cola says that they and a collation of industry partners, including McDonald's and Unilever, have invested more than 30 million dollars to build climate-friendly vending machines. They estimate the switch will save 70,000 tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere by 2010.

The lesson of this victory is that action to save the climate is possible. If it can be done in one country it can be done everywhere else. If it can be done by one company, it can be done by all others. If it can be done in one industrial sector it can be done in all other sectors.

Coke's action is proof that companies can make the right choices for our world; and that Greenpeace's brand of online activism can help spur them to make those choices.

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