Knowledge for better food systems

Retail refrigeration: Making the transition to clean cold

In October 2016, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol was adopted by the world’s nations, mandating the phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by cutting their production and consumption. This new report from the University of Birmingham, published at the one year anniversary of the Kigali Amendment, highlights the significant challenge facing the European retail industry as it transitions from damaging HFCs to natural refrigerants.

The report, Retail Refrigeration: Making the Transition to Clean Cold, authored by Professor Toby Peters and commissioned by climate technology provider Emerson, examines what the move to natural refrigerants means for retailers and offers recommendations for the way forward. It highlights industry analysis that indicates that the European retail sector is behind schedule in the phase-down of HFCs, which can be 4000 times more damaging to the climate than CO2. The report concludes that there is a need for retailers to act swiftly, but the transition to natural refrigerants must not come at the expense of achieving other long term energy and environmental benefits. It calls for decisive action from European governments to use the transition to natural refrigerants to encourage operators to adopt the most environmentally sustainable solutions.

To access the full report, click here. See also the 2007 FCRN report on refrigeration here (pdf).

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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