UK supermarkets promise 80% gas emission cut

The UK’s leading supermarkets have pledged to reduce emissions from refrigeration gases by 80% by 2020.
The UK’s leading supermarkets have pledged to reduce emissions from refrigeration gases by 80% by 2020.

The announcement was one of a broad range of commitments made by members of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) signed up to new targets as part of its Better Retailing Climate initiative.

The supermarkets pledged to the initiative, Asda, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, The Co-operative and Waitrose, managed to reduce emissions from refrigeration by 55%, beating their 50% target (relative to floor space to allow for business growth). They pledged to reduce emissions from refrigerants by 80% by 2020, relative to floor space. In line with targets already set under their Consumer Goods Forum Commitment, the same supermarkets also made the far less specific pledge “to begin phasing out HFC refrigerants by 2015 and replace them with non-HFC refrigerants.”

M&S reduced its refrigerant leak rates down to 15%. Committed to installing low GWP systems in all new and refurbished store, M&S is also said to have replaced all its existing high GWP HFC gases with R407A, resulting in a 60% reduction in CO2 equivalent emissions or nearly 70% when adjusted for growth in store space.

Maintaining that environmentally acceptable refrigeration shouldn’t be judged purely in terms of moving away from HFCs and that keeping the refrigerant properly contained is key, Asda reduced its gas leak rate to 7.5% in 2013 and just 2.6% in new stores.
Tesco has also made significant progress in reducing its emissions from refrigeration. At the end of 2012/13, its absolute emissions from refrigerants were 16% lower than in 2006/7, despite an 84% increase in store space.

The Co-operative aims to reduce the greenhouse gases from its operations by 50% by 2020 and has already achieved an absolute reduction of 43% since 2006. In 2011, the installation of doors on fridges was trialled in a number of its food stores, demonstrating savings of around 20% of the total energy used in each store. Following the success of the trial, 298 of The Co-operative Food’s stores now have doors on their refrigerators, and this will be rolled out to 2,000 stores by 2020.