Tesco fails climate-friendly refrigeration target

Giant retailer Tesco has failed to meet its target of using climate-friendly technology in its stores, a new report suggests. The ‘Chilling Facts’ report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Giant retailer Tesco has failed to meet its target of using climate-friendly technology in its stores, a new report suggests.

The ‘Chilling Facts’ report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) shows although supermarket chains across the UK and Europe have moved away from using refrigeration systems that use hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) or ‘super greenhouse gases’, Tesco still has a long way to go to meet its target.

HFCs are powerful global warming gases, which are hundreds to thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Refrigeration systems emitting HFC gases in Europe equate to around 20million tonnes of carbon per year.

The report claims Tesco had announced plans for 150 of its stores to be HFC-free by 2012 but has so far managed only 60. The supermarket chain had also claimed to go HFC-free in new stores across the UK and Europe but its 60 new stores built in Poland all run on HFC refrigeration systems.

Fionnuala Walravens, EIA’s Senior Campaigner said: “As the biggest retailer in the UK, we’re concerned that Tesco is not on track to meet its target. Tesco should be aiming to roll-out HFC-free refrigeration in all new stores in Europe.”

In response, a Tesco spokesperson told ELN: “We had hoped to roll out 150 by the end of this year, but unfortunately the technology we initially used in our natural units failed to meet our high expectations. Following a reassessment of the technology in 2011, we are now installing systems that meet these expectations and we are continuing with the planned roll out. We are also working with the CGF to help move the industry towards widespread natural refrigerant use.”

The report claims 344 stores across the UK have made the HFC-free transition, which includes Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer.