Cool It urges supermarkets to cut dangerous HFC emissions:
and we’re starting with Walmart.
Appliances we use to keep cool are leaking gases that warm our atmosphere at a shocking rate.
Refrigerators and air conditioning units humming along are easy to overlook...but substances called refrigerants that are used in these appliances to keep things cool are melting the ice caps.
Refrigerants transform from liquid to gas and back continually as they cycle through coils in appliances, absorbing heat and promoting cooling. Unfortunately, the most common refrigerants are greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are intensifying the climate crisis.
HFCs have up to 12,000 times more warming power than CO2.
This harmful, man-made gas is the fastest increasing greenhouse gas entering our atmosphere. As we do the critical work of cutting CO2 emissions, we must address these shorter-lived, extremely potent HFC emissions.
Better refrigerant management (such as using sustainable refrigerant alternatives and reducing appliance leaks) as a top solution to address climate change.
Improving refrigerant practices and eliminating HFCs would cut over 100 gigatons of emissions that are causing the climate crisis.
Climate change is a global crisis that is actively harming communities and ecosystems and threatening hundreds of millions of lives. This devastation will only escalate unless we act.
Improving refrigerant practices is a concrete step to cut dangerous greenhouse gases, but the US lags far behind taking action on this issue and emits the most HFCs of any country. The Trump Administration has scaled back rules to limit HFC emissions and it hasn’t ratified a global treaty to phase out HFCs, despite support from the refrigerants industry and bipartisan members of Congress.
With these barriers to policy action, we need to hold companies accountable for their HFC emissions...which leads us to supermarkets.
Climate Impacts of Supermarkets
Supermarkets use a lot of energy, and up to 60 percent is used for cooling and heating systems. But the largest climate impacts come from the refrigerants themselves.
A typical supermarket consumes 4,000 pounds of refrigerants each year with a quarter leaking out due to faulty systems.
Refrigerant leaks from US supermarkets emit 45 million metric tons of greenhouse gases every year (the equivalent of 9.5 million cars on the road).
To address this issue, companies must commit to:
- Phasing out HFC refrigerants,
- Regular monitoring and repairing of refrigerant leaks,
- And ensuring responsible refrigerant disposal to reduce emissions.
A few supermarkets have made progress in tackling HFCs but far too many are lagging.
Why We’re Starting with Walmart
Walmart is one of the world’s largest retailers, but it’s coming up short on refrigerant practices. The company’s annual HFC emissions are over 2.8 million metric tons, or the energy equivalent of powering all the households in San Francisco.
Walmart's sustainability initiatives say that it’s “transitioning away” from refrigerants with high global warming potential but it has not released concrete goals on making this a reality in all stores (read more on these claims here).
Walmart has failed to honor past agreements to address HFCs, even though they make up nearly half of the company’s total direct emissions.
Walmart has known the urgency of this issue for years but has not taken serious steps to put its words into action. We’re calling on Walmart to finally develop a plan to cut these harmful super pollutants from its stores.
Tell Walmart to Cool It for the Climate