New Video: Gases 9,000 Times Worse for Climate than Carbon are Leaking from Walmart Stores and other Supermarkets

Line of freezers in a supermarket

Green America Video Focuses on HFCs from Supermarket Refrigeration With Environmental Impact Equal to 9.5 Million Cars on the Road; Walmart, a Main Offender, Yet to Take Action.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 21, 2020 – There's a dirty secret at your local Walmart and other supermarkets – leaking hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used for refrigeration that are doing immense damage to the climate. Cool It For Climate, a new video from Green America, the nation’s leading green economy organization, raises new awareness to the HFC problem and highlights the alternative refrigerants that can be used now by supermarkets to cut their emissions.

Alternative refrigerants are among the top existing solutions to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The most common gases used in refrigeration are HFCs that are up to 9,000 times more powerful at trapping heat than CO2. Green America is working to change the supermarket sector because U.S. supermarkets leak roughly 45 million metric tons of greenhouse gases from refrigerants every year – the equivalent of 9.5 million cars on the road.

The Cool It campaign has already mobilized thousands of consumers to call on Walmart, the largest supermarket chain in the U.S., to improve its record on the issue.

HFCs make up nearly half of Walmart’s direct emissions, and while the company has publicly noted the importance of refrigerant management, it has yet to install even one HFC-free system in its U.S. stores. Walmart was recently given a failing grade by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) on its recent Supermarket Scorecard for its poor refrigerant practices.

“The climate impacts of refrigerants are staggering, and companies need to be held accountable for their HFC emissions that are rapidly warming the planet,” said Beth Porter, Green America’s Climate Campaigns director. “We hope this new video will inspire even more people to push huge supermarket chains to eliminate these super pollutants from stores.”

There are existing solutions that several stores, like Aldi, Lidl, Whole Foods and Target, have put into place, showing that better refrigerant management is possible. Supermarkets can commit to not using HFCs in new stores and work to phase out HFCs from their existing stores and facilities by adopting sustainable refrigerants that have zero or near-zero warming potential. Stores can monitor and repair leaks as well as commit to responsible disposal practices to prevent emissions.

The release of the Cool It video comes in the wake of a new UN report finding that coordinated international action on climate-friendly air conditioning could save trillions of dollars worldwide and avoid as much as 460 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the next 40 years.

“The impacts of HFCs used in refrigeration and air conditioning aren’t usually included in corporate responsibility actions on climate – and we want that to change,” said Todd Larsen, Green America’s executive co-director. “Alternative refrigerants and better management practices are widely available that protect the climate and support energy efficiency in stores. We believe companies like Walmart should embrace these changes for the immense benefits that they provide.”

“Our assessment of the top-grossing U.S. supermarket chains last month revealed that by continuing to irresponsibly use and leak potent super pollutant HFCs, most supermarkets are failing to adequately address the climate crisis they are contributing to,” said Avipsa Mahapatra, Climate Campaign Lead, Environmental Investigation Agency. “It is a shame that they continue to make current and future generations pay the price for their complacency, when HFC-free technology is so widely available and used.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Max Karlin for Green America, (703) 276-3255, or


Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems.  


Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is an independent non-profit campaigning organization dedicated to identifying, investigating, and implementing solutions to protect endangered wildlife, forests, and the global climate. EIA Climate campaign is working to eliminate powerful greenhouse gases and improve energy efficiency in the cooling sector, and expose related illicit trade to campaign for new policies, improved governance, and more effective enforcement.