The supermarket chain announced on Wednesday (24 May) that it would convert to the new Honeywell refrigerant over the next three years, with 60 stores already retrofitted with the system.

The new refrigerants have a lower global-warming-potential (GWP) than previous models and could lower Tesco’s carbon footprint by 40%, well above the 26.5% reduction it is targeting against a 2006 baseline.

“We set aggressive sustainability goals and were committed to achieving them without impacting our customers,” Tesco’s group head of refrigeration Matthew Reeves-Smith said.

“We sought the best technology to convert 1,200 stores in three years and found our solution in Solstice N40. This refrigerant meets all our key criteria including energy efficiency, system performance and maintenance. The fact that it is a near drop-in replacement for our current refrigerant helps ensure a smooth, ongoing conversion process over the next three years.”

The potential reduction, which is equivalent to removing 70,000 cars from the road, comes just days after Tesco pledged to deliver 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Cold hard facts

Tesco has also had its goal to become a zero-carbon business by 2050 approved by the independent Science-Based Targets initiative, which aims to help businesses reduce emissions in line with the level of decarbonisation required to keep global temperature increase below 2C. Tesco joins more than 250 companies, representing almost $5trn in market value, to sign up to the scheme.

Refrigeration represents a growing source of greenhouse gases. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are 1,400 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, and represent 1.5% of total warming potential today.

In a new blog published today (26 May), the Consumer Goods Forum’s director for environmental sustainability Ignacio Gavilan outlined how businesses, including Tesco, have committed to eliminating HFCs from their vending and cooler machines across the globe.

Matt Mace

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