According to a new report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), UK retailers have reduced emissions from refrigerant gases by 37% relative to floor space between 2005 and 2011. The report calls for stronger economic incentives to adopt systems using natural refrigerants to achieve the ultimate target of 50% emissions reduction by 2013.
A recently published report of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) – A Better Retailing Climate: Towards Sustainable Retail – outlines the progress of the UK retail sector in decreasing the retail industry’s environmental impact. A group of leading retailers, accounting for 52% of the UK retail by market value, has signed up to commitments under the “Better Retailing Climate” voluntary initiative that was launched in 2008.
The group has committed to reduce the emissions from refrigeration by 50% by 2013 (relative to floor space) compared to 2005 levels. Between 2005 and 2011, total emissions to air from escaped refrigeration gases were reduced by 37% relative to floor space, by 25% in absolute terms.
Replacing HFCs by natural refrigerants
The leading UK retailers have committed to address the impact of refrigeration as it contributes by 15 to 30% to the total carbon footprint. A number of them are undertaking actions to eliminate systems using hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and replacing them by alternative refrigeration systems using gases with a lower global warming potential such as propane and CO2.
The BRC calls in the report on the government to promote the uptake of technologies using natural refrigerants by introducing stronger economic incentives for retailers. It also highlights the importance of the development of common standards for engineer training, which would ease the training and certification requirements placed on retailers.
Other measures to address emissions from refrigeration
Apart from switching to natural refrigerants in cooling systems, retailers are adopting a number of other measures to address the environmental impact of refrigeration:
About British Retail Consortium
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is a trade association representing a wide range of retailers, including large companies and individuals selling a large selection of products. The BRC aims to create a vibrant and sustainable retail industry for the future by promoting and defending retailers’ interests and advising them of threats and opportunities to their business.