Marks & Spencer criticised for lack of progress on HFC-free refrigeration

15th October 2014


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Mitigation ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • Retail and wholesale

Author

IEMA

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has stripped Marks & Spencer (M&S) of its recognition as a "green cooling leader" for failing to move to HFC-free refrigeration.

The campaign group yesterday published its annual report of retailers’ progress in moving away from refrigeration technology containing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are powerful greenhouse gases more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide.

Commercial refrigeration accounts for one third of the world’s HFC consumption, according to the EIA.

In the report, the agency acknowledges that M&S now has 84 stores that use natural refrigerants. However, these are mostly HFC/CO2 hybrids, which the EIA says should be a stepping-stone towards 100% natural refrigeration rather than “an end-point in itself”.

M&S is expanding a trial of HFC-free refrigeration systems to five locations, the report says. However, a spokesperson for the retailer said that it could not give any further information on the trial at the moment.

M&S has also made no progress on rolling out fridges with doors which it has been piloting since 2011, the EIA claimed.

The spokesperson explained that M&S had trialled doors on fridges at one store in 2011, but this had not been successful. The retailer now has a commitment to retrofit doors on fridges in existing stores and will piloting several options next year, she said.

The retailer’s target to reduce emissions from refrigeration by 50% by 2015 compared to 2007 levels had been met two years early, and last year its emissions were down 73%, she added.

Tesco and Waitrose have retained their status as “green cooling leaders”. The EIA highlights Tesco’s rapid increase in use of natural refrigerants, which has increased by 30% in the past year. All of its distribution centres are HFC-free, according to the report. In the UK, 50% of Tesco Express stores and all new Metro stores have doors on fridges.

Waitrose is now operating HFC-free systems in 36% of stores and uses natural refrigerant in 95% of its distribution centres.

However, neither supermarket is using natural refrigerants in delivery vehicles, the EIA pointed out.

Overall, the agency said it was pleased with the speed of adoption of HFC-refrigeration in supermarkets across the world. In the past two years, the number of stores in Europe using natural refrigerants had grown from 730 to 1,889, it said.

However, the report highlights a pressing need for doors on fridges. “Despite remarkable energy savings, and associated cost reductions, retailers’ fear of sales impacts has blocked action on this critical issue.

"The fact that other retailers are adopting doors on fridges suggests these fears are unfounded,” it states. Policymakers should step in on this issue, the EIA concluded.

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

EU and UK citizens fear net-zero delivery deficit

Support for net zero remains high across the UK and the EU, but the majority of citizens don't believe that major emitters and governments will reach their climate targets in time.

16th May 2024

Read more

There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

16th May 2024

Read more

Taxing the extraction of fossil fuels in the world’s most advanced economies could raise $720bn (£575bn) by 2030 to support vulnerable countries facing climate damages, analysis has found.

2nd May 2024

Read more

The largest-ever research initiative of its kind has been launched this week to establish a benchmark for the private sector’s contribution to the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

The Scottish government has today conceded that its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 is now “out of reach” following analysis by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

18th April 2024

Read more

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close