Top beverage companies moving to phase out HFCs

An update on the efforts of Coca-Cola, Pepsico and Heineken to phase out HFCs from their commercial refrigeration equipment to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Commercial applications such as beverage coolers found in supermarkets or convenience stores generally use HFCs such as R134a or R404A. According to UNEP’s RTOC 2022 report, several European and American companies have transitioned from R134a to R290. The use of R744 (CO2) which initially received much attention, has subsided.[1] 


The leading beverage companies worldwide include the Coca-Cola company, Pepsico Inc. and Heineken in the top 5. According to its sustainability report published in April 2023, refrigeration represents one third of the Coca-Cola company’s carbon footprint.[2] Coca-Cola is committed to replacing its stock of old bottle coolers with HFC-free and more energy-efficient equipment. In 2022, 88% of all new coolers placed were HFC-free. This is an increase from 61% in 2016.[2] Up until 2015, the company’s strategy to phase out HFCs relied on using R744 (CO2) as the refrigerant for its bottle coolers, fountains and vending machines. Since 2016, the company has been using more hydrocarbon-based equipment.[3] 


In November 2022, Pepsico reported that replacing their vending machines and cooler equipment in retail allowed the company to reduce GHG emissions by nearly 60% in 2021 compared to 2015. This was achieved by replacing current models with more energy-efficient ones and migrating to HFC-free refrigerants.[4] The majority of these units are hydrocarbon-based.[5] Pepsico states that nearly all company-owned coolers purchased globally since 2020 are HFC-free, with the goal of transitioning all units globally by 2025.[4] 


With more than one million refrigeration units on the market, commercial refrigeration accounts for 8% of Heineken's carbon footprint, according to its 2022 sustainability report.[6] The company claims that currently 95% of its commercial refrigeration units are HFC-free.[7] HFC-free equipment uses hydrocarbon-based refrigerants.[8] 



Browse this selection of documents on HFCs alternatives in commercial equipment in FRIDOC 




[1] UNEP. RTOC 2022.  

[2] Coca-Cola Business and sustainability report 2022.  




[6] Heineken financial and sustainability Annual Report 2022.