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

Nigel Coulshed

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.


Transform articles

National climate plans could see fossil fuel demand peak by 2025

Demand for fossil fuels will peak by 2025 if all national net-zero pledges are implemented in full and on time, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast.

15th October 2021

Read more

The Green Homes Grant is set to deliver only a fraction of the jobs and improvements intended, leading to calls for more involvement from local authorities in future schemes.

23rd September 2021

Read more

COVID-19 recovery packages have largely focused on protecting, rather than transforming, existing industries, and have been a “lost opportunity” for speeding up the global energy transition.

23rd September 2021

Read more

Half of the world's 40 largest listed oil and gas companies will have to slash their production by at least 50% by the 2030s to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement, new analysis has found.

9th September 2021

Read more

None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.

30th July 2021

Read more

The UK’s pipeline for renewable energy projects could mitigate 90% of job losses caused by COVID-19 and help deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is according to a recent report from consultancy EY-Parthenon, which outlines how the UK’s £108bn “visible pipeline” of investible renewable energy projects could create 625,000 jobs.

30th July 2021

Read more

Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.

30th July 2021

Read more

The oil and gas industry is set to burn through its allocated carbon budget 13 years early unless decisive action is taken immediately, new analysis has found.

22nd July 2021

Read more

The UK will no longer use unabated coal to generate electricity from October 2024, one year earlier than originally planned, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced.

2nd July 2021

Read more

Media enquires

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

Find an expert