The Chilling Facts report is set to create more waves in the rac industry, thanks to increased attention from both the government and the national media.
As supermarkets rushed to defend or shout about their positions in the Chilling Facts II league table, published today, it has become clear that the impact of the report will be much greater than when the report first published a year ago.
The Environmental Investigation Agency has spent recent months lobbying government departments and politicians, in parallel to creating the report, which criticised supermarkets for not making sufficient progress towards natural refrigerants (see league table below).
The EIA said that it believed growing awareness of the impact of HFCs would see more political pressure on supermarkets. Chilling Facts consultant Nicholas Cox said: “There is a sense that the supermarkets need to deliver on their promises, or they will find themselves treated the same way as the car industry, which was given a directive when it couldn’t sort its own house out.”
EIA Campaign Leader Fionnuala Walravens “We think there is a mood moving towards legislation on HFCs. Supermarkets have said to us that they would welcome something like a Supermarket Directive, setting deadlines for HFCs.”
The EIA has called for the industry to ‘stop dragging its feet and to be more proactive on this issue.”
One of the areas that EIA is lobbying on is to have restrictions on HFCs written into the F-Gas Regulation. At the same time it has called on the government to support funding for training with alternative refrigerants.
Industry insiders believe that the industry will ignore the latest report at its peril.
One supermarket source said; “Last year, no-one knew about the EIA, and their data was questionable, but in the last 12 months, they have had dialogue with everyone and ensured that the politicians and the national papers know what they are doing too. So whatever you think about their assumptions – and many don’t agree with their stance on such rapid phaseout of HFCs – no-one involved with refrigeration can afford to brush them aside any longer.”
One refrigeration manager added that one of the effects of attention in the national press was that retail bosses were forced to confront the cost impact of moving to naturals and containing leaks: “It helps our arguments with those that hold the purse strings. And if the public really did start voting with their feet over emissions, that would give another powerful incentive for change.”
One of the areas set to be hotly debated is chiller glass doors. Retailers are believed to be cooling on their wider introduction due to the impact on merchandising, but EIA has highlighted the area for its significant impact on energy efficiency.
Retailers and suppliers will be discussing this and the impact of Chilling Facts amongst other subjects at RAC’s Retail Question Time on 25 February. See HERE for details.