Coca-Cola goes 100% natural by 2015

By Sabine Lobnig, Dec 04, 2009, 15:02 2 minute reading

The Coca-Cola Company will opt for 100% HFC-free in all new cooling equipment and other freezing equipment by 2015, the beverage giant announced on 3 December. Hydrocarbons are, besides CO2, the natural refrigerant alternative Coke is favouring.

On 3 December, Coca-Cola's CEO Muthar Kent announced during a special press conference the company's plans to phase out climate-damaging HFCs in all new cooling equipment. This is a major step forward on the way to phase out F-gases and replace and to opt for natural refrigerants, such as hydrocarbons and CO2. This initiative will be carried throughout the company’s supply chain, namely in close cooperation with Coke’s bottling partners. With this move the company hopes to encourage other companies to follow and to provoke a general market shift in commercial refrigeration. Industry-wide conversion to natural refrigerants will lead to lower prices of the environmentally friendly replacement equipment and will decisively decrease the companies’ carbon emissions.

Coke’s clear timeframe

The 10 million units of refrigeration equipment in use by Coke emit jointly 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gases each year, and account for 40% of Coca-Cola’s carbon footprint.

Concretely, Coca-Cola and its partners committed to eliminate HFCs from new cooling equipment so that:
  • 50% of their new vending machines and coolers will be HFC-free by 2012
  • 100% of their new vending machines and coolers will be HFC-free by 2015
The company will prefer natural refrigerants to achieve the promised conversion. Coke’s cooling technology will thus rely more and more on natural fluids, namely hydrocarbon in its smaller equipment and CO2 in its larger equipment. The company promotes an open technology approach, willingly sharing the systems design of its coolers with other companies as to encourage them to follow suit.

Natural refrigerants, an economically sound option

The company has invested $50 million in environmentally friendly cooling systems. Coca-Cola’s CEO, Muthar Kent, firmly believes in the economic viability of natural refrigerants. Furthermore an industry-wide adoption of natural refrigeration technologies will not only impact decisively on the fight against global warming but also bring down the prices of the equipment, making it increasingly price competitive.

Greenpeace, who has actively advocated the use of hydrocarbons and other natural refrigerants, supported Coca-Cola to take this decisive step towards sustainable cooling solutions. The move comes just before Copenhagen talks and is expected to impact the decisions of other major consumer brands striving for environmental leadership. Greenpeace has underlined the importance of uniting CEOs in a joint effort to become climate champions and to drive the use of natural refrigerants from an economic perspective.


By Sabine Lobnig

Dec 04, 2009, 15:02

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