Refrigerants, Naturally! is a voluntary global initiative committed to combating climate change and ozone layer depletion by substituting fluorinated gases, such as CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs, with natural refrigerants. Natural refrigerants are substances, such as hydrocarbons (iso-butane), CO2, ammonia, water and air, which do not deplete the ozone layer and have negligible climate impacts. Refrigerants, Naturally! promotes a shift in point-of-sale cooling technology, such as freezers and vending machines, towards refrigeration technologies that are safe, environmentally sustainable and cost effective.
The Coca Cola Company, Unilever and McDonald’s launched the collaboration in 2004, committing to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by voluntarily transitioning to natural refrigerants and improving the energy efficiency of their refrigeration equipment. The initiative serves as a forum to collect intelligence and share information on HFC-free technologies and public policy trends, a “safe haven” to manage the institutional and NGO dialogue in an open and non-confrontational way, a practical tool and critical mass to collectively communicate with the supply chain and to take position in the public domain (with legislators, with pro-HFC lobby, etc.), and a powerful alliance that can show case the member’s achievements to a wide audience.
To ensure transparency each member is required to develop timetables to move their operation towards natural refrigerants and share their progress. In addition, member companies are required to make a substantial investment to progressively replace fluorocarbons with natural refrigerants. For example, The Coca-Cola Company has distributed 800,000 units using natural refrigerants and is committed to buy only HFC-free equipment from 2015. By replacing HFCs with natural refrigerants, member companies have phased out more than 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.