COCA-COLA COMMITS TO CLIMATE-FRIENDLY REFRIGERATION THROUGH ENGAGEMENT WITH GREENPEACE
July 6, 2010
Days before the United Nations summit on climate change begins in Copenhagen, The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners today announced that 100 percent of their new vending machines and coolers will be hydrofluorocarbon-free (1) (HFC-free) by 2015. 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. This announcement is a direct result of work with Greenpeace that began in 2000, and a demonstration that phasing out the use of HFCs is a tangible and near-term action corporations can take to protect the climate.
The transition to HFC-free refrigeration will reduce the equipment’s direct greenhouse gas emissions by 99 percent. A recent peer-reviewed report by top scientists shows that HFCs will be responsible for between 28% and 45% of carbon-equivalent emissions by 2050 if society reduces carbon dioxide while leaving HFCs unchecked. 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,” said 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.”
This step by Coca-Cola will help accelerate a market shift in commercial refrigeration away from HFCs. 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 Coca-Cola 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.
The Company and its bottling partners have approximately 10 million coolers and vending machines in place today around the world, comprising the largest element of the Coca-Cola system’s total climate impact. As a result of the commitment to eliminate the use of HFCs in this equipment, carbon emission reductions will exceed 52.5 million metric tons over the life of the equipment – the equivalent of taking more than 11 million cars off the road for one year.
“We welcome Coca-Cola’s commitment to help tackle climate change; large enterprises have both an opportunity and responsibility to change the game and Coca-Cola’s action leaves no excuse for other companies not to follow,” said Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director, Greenpeace International.
Coca-Cola currently utilizes two HFC-free solutions. Hydrocarbon refrigeration is used in smaller refrigeration equipment and carbon dioxide (CO2) is used in larger equipment. CO2 is a safe, reliable and energy efficient alternative with positive characteristics as a refrigerant. It does not deplete the ozone layer and it is 1,430 times less damaging to the climate than a typical HFC.
Already, as a direct result of Coca-Cola’s supply chain engagement, a major supplier has communicated its intention to build a dedicated CO2 compressor production facility, helping to meet the growing demand for HFC-free refrigeration options throughout the industry.
“Addressing climate change requires leadership and collaboration,” said Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “Just days away from the negotiations in Copenhagen, this announcement by Coca-Cola and Greenpeace demonstrates that investments in low-carbon technologies can make business sense.”
This announcement is a direct result of discussions with Greenpeace that began in the run-up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Greenpeace challenged Coca-Cola to go HFC-free in all of the equipment it supplied to the Games. By the Torino Games in 2006 and the Beijing Games in 2008, the Company was using all HFC-free technology at Olympic venues. For the past five years, the relationship between Greenpeace and Coca-Cola has become increasingly cooperative as both sought a cost-effective alternative to HFCs.
“At Coca-Cola, we are deploying our scale and working with suppliers to deliver cost effective alternatives to HFC, for us and for others.” said Rick Frazier, Vice President, Supply Chain, The Coca-Cola Company.
“Greenpeace increasingly works with businesses to make fundamental manufacturing and sourcing changes by connecting regulation, economies of scale and supply chain security,” said Amy Larkin, Director of Greenpeace Solutions. “Coca-Cola’s commitment today runs ahead of regulation and takes some fear out of rapid change.”
Coolers and vending machines impact the climate in three ways: through direct energy use (operating the machine), through chemicals used in the machine’s insulation foam, and by leakage or improper end-of-life disposal of the refrigerant gas used in the cooling system. In addition to its refrigerant gas commitment, Coca-Cola developed a proprietary energy management system (EMS) that delivers energy savings of up to 35 percent and has placed over 1.7 million of these units around the world. In 2006, the Company completed the transition to HFC-free insulation foam for all new purchases of refrigeration equipment. Together, HFC-free insulation and HFC-free refrigerant will generate 99 percent fewer direct greenhouse emissions than traditional equipment.
VVPR info: Molly Dorozenski, Greenpeace U.S., (646)862-1509 Lisa Manley, The Coca-Cola Company, (404) 676-4571
Notes: Notes to editors: Dr. Gerd Leipold will take interviews on behalf of Greenpeace International for this announcement. Kumi Naidoo took over from Dr. Leipold on November 15, 2009. Dr. Leipold should be referred to as former Greenpeace International Executive Director. 1. HFC’s were invented to replace the ozone-depleting chemicals, CFCs, but have a very high global warming impact. Scientists have projected that we need to cap greenhouse gas emissions within the next decade, then rapidly reduce emissions by mid century to stabilize the atmosphere and avoid dangerous climate change. Uncontrolled HFC consumption and emissions growth would make it much more difficult to reach those goals. Yet alternatives for virtually every application of HFC exist today. 2. Natural refrigerants, as the name suggests, are refrigerants that occur in nature that can be used in refrigerators and air-conditioners. They don’t significantly harm the ozone layer or the climate, they are often cheaper and more energy efficient than their fluorinated-gas (F-gas) counterparts, and they have been proven to work in virtually all applications. The three main natural refrigerants in use are hydrocarbons, ammonia and carbon dioxide. 3. For more information on Greenpeace’s F-Gas work, go to: www.greenpeace.org/F-gases. In the early 1990s, Greenpeace set out to find climate-friendly alternative technologies, convinced that there was a way to avoid the HFC route proposed by the chemical industry. The result was the creation of GreenFreeze technology (3) which is now used in over 350 million domestic refrigerators worldwide. Greenpeace open-sourced the GreenFreeze technology, that uses hydrocarbons. The organisation then marketed, gathered orders, and pre-sold 70,000 refrigeration units (in three weeks) for an East German manufacturer in order to make the retooling of its factory worthwhile. Since March 15, 1993, when the first GreenFreeze refrigerator rolled off the assembly line, 350 million units have been sold in Europe, Russia, Asia and South America by leading brands including Whirlpool, Bosch, Panasonic, LG, Miele, Electrolux, and Siemens. Greenpeace’s achievement was recognized by the United Nations Environment Program in 1997, when GreenFreeze received the prestigious UNEP Ozone Award. Greenpeace has received no financial remuneration or royalty for developing the product. 4. To maintain absolute independence, Greenpeace does not accept money from companies, governments or political parties. The organization depends on the donations of its supporters to carry on its nonviolent campaigns to protect the environment. About The Coca-Cola Company The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with nearly 500 sparkling and still brands. Along with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world’s most valuable brand, the Company’s portfolio includes 12 other billion dollar brands, including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, POWERADE, Minute Maid and Georgia Coffee. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company’s beverages at a rate of nearly 1.6 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. For more information about our Company, please visit our Web site at:www.thecoca-colacompany.com About Greenpeace Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behavior, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. It comprises 29 independent national/regional offices in over 40 countries across Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, as well as a coordinating body, Greenpeace International. As an independent organization Greenpeace accepts no donations from corporations or governments.