Greenpeace Executive Director Congratulates Coca-Cola on Move Away from Greenhouse Gases ahead of Green Olympics in Sydney

Media release - June 30, 2000
Greenpeace Executive Director Thilo Bode today wrote to officially congratulate Coca-Cola's CEO Douglas Daft in Atlanta for the company's bold new refrigeration policy to reduce its impact on global climate change before the world’s first Green Olympic Games in Sydney later this year.

Bode's letter states that "Coca-Cola's new refrigeration policy could be perhaps one of the most important legacies of Sydney's Green Olympic Games" and "I commend your taking a decisive leadership role on this issue."

Greenpeace Olympics campaigner Blair Palese said, "Greenpeace has been campaigning in its offices around the world to change Coca-Cola's polluting HFCs." "If Coca-Cola can make this change, so too can the other Olympic sponsors such as McDonald's."

On Wednesday, Coca-Cola announced that it would phase out the use of the potent greenhouse gas hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) (1) in refrigeration by the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. It will expand its research into refrigeration alternatives and insist that suppliers announce specific time schedules to use only HFC-free refrigeration in all new cold drink equipment by 2004.

In May, Greenpeace launched a worldwide campaign to expose Coca-Cola's use of polluting HFCs. The organisation called on the company, as a sponsor to what is likely to be the world's first Green Olympics in Sydney (2), to phase out HFCs and move to safer, more environmental alternatives (3). Greenpeace demanded the company commit to 100 percent environmentally friendly Greenfreeze technology at the Sydney Olympics, phase out HFCs and specify all new equipment to be Greenfreeze technolgy.

Greenpeace hopes to continue working with the company to overcome any hurdles in delivering its new policy and to work with other companies, both Olympic sponsors such as MacDonald's, and others, to follow Coca-Cola's lead and phase out the use of HFCs. 

Notes: (1) HFCs are chemicals invented as a substitute for CFCs and HCFCs - ozone-destroying gases that are being phased out worldwide. HFCs are mainly used in the refrigeration and air conditioning industries. On average, over 20 years one ton of HFC has 3,300 times more global warming potential than one ton of carbon dioxide. In 1997, the United Nations Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change was extended to include HFCs, identifying them as potent greenhouse gases whose emissions must be reduced by industrialised countries. (2) The Environmental Guidelines for the Sydney Olympic Games call for the use of HFC-free refrigerants and processes. (3) Greenfreeze uses a mixture of hydrocarbon gases propane (R290) and isobutane (R60Oa), or isobutane as a pure gas, for the refrigerant, and cyclopentane for blowing the insulation foam. Since 1992, Greenfreeze has become the dominant technology in Western Europe, having taken over nearly 100 percent of the German refrigeration market.