Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker has today announced that he is setting up a retail refrigeration taskforce to focus on energy reduction in the sector.
Speaking at the Consumer Goods Forum Natural Refrigeration Summit, Mr Barker said: “Energy efficiency is not only vital for reducing the impact of global climate change, but will also boost the UK economy, stimulate growth and give our businesses a real competitive edge in the low carbon global race.
“This Coalition Government remains determined to be the greenest ever and we need our retail sector – which is of great importance to the UK economy – to follow suit and take a leading role on energy efficiency.
“Refrigeration is a significant part of this and that is why I’m calling on retailers to agree to freeze out costly HFC refrigeration. I’m also setting up a new Taskforce with the retail sector to help unlock the significant further potential for energy savings in this sector.” Mr Barker said the DECC-run taskforce would seek to help retailers address the barriers to progress, such as skills shortages in natural refrigerants
Opening the Forum was Helen Fleming, Climate Ch.ange Director at Tesco, who said: “Over the past three years CGF (Cosumer Goods Forum) has held two summit meetings on natural refrigeration.They have brought together CGF members - retailers and manufacturers - and the suppliers of this equipment. Our aim has been to share knowledge so that our whole industry feels confident to use natural refrigerant technology and shift away from HFC gases.”
She noted that over 50 per cent of the food Tesco retails is either chilled or frozen and that refrigerant leakage creates a significant part of the retailer’s carbon footprint, about 13 per cent - on the same scale as the emissions from all the lorries that move more than 3 billion cases of goods that Tesco delivers every year. The leakage has come down from 20 per cent since 2006, thanks to good engineering practice, she noted.
“That is why the CGF commitment to start phasing out HFCs in our fridges and freezers is important to Tesco. But it’s a challenge that we believe we can make faster progress on if we work with the whole industry to develop solutions, sharing knowledge as we go.”
“Chief executive Philip Clarke has encouraged Tesco and the CGF to focus on this issue. Tesco has 149 stores around the world with natural refrigeration systems, 65 of those in the UK. Today Philip has announced that Tesco will double the number of these systems in the UK this year.”
“The shift from HFCs into a new technology is a huge challenge to the retail industry. The systems that we retailers need to chill and freeze our products are big investments and we need to get them right.”