Harvard University recognizes Refrigerants, Naturally! with prestigious award
Roy Family Award 2011 celebrates power of collaboration in tackling climate change
Nairobi, 18 May 2011 - A public-private partnership conceived and supported by UNEP's OzonAction team has received the prestigious Roy Family Award given by Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Reviewers praised Refrigerants, Naturally!' s impact on an important and often overlooked problem – persistent fluorinated gases (so called F-gases such as CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs) in the atmosphere – and held it up as a pragmatic and effective example of corporations and environmental organizations working together to reduce severe threats to the global environment.
Refrigerants, Naturally! brings together four high-profile private companies – The Coca-Cola Company, McDonald's, Unilever, and PepsiCo – which are committed to combat climate change and ozone layer depletion by eliminating F-gases and substituting them with natural refrigerants (e.g. ammonia, carbon dioxide, and hydrocarbons). Greenpeace and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) have been supporters of this partnership from the beginning, by providing advice, information and linkages to their own activities.
F-gases are highly potent greenhouse gases that are used in most refrigeration and cooling technologies. Recent scientific studies indicate their increasing piece of the global warming pie – up to 9% – 19% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Refrigerants, Naturally! aims to skip over their deployment in developing countries as the next billion people get their refrigeration and cooling. This will prove to be a major wedge in preventing further global warming.
"The 2011 Roy Family Award from John F. Kennedy School of Harvard University shatters the
myth that investing in the environment comes at the expense of economic growth", said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. "UNEP is proud
to be associated with Refrigerants, Naturally! right from its inception to
demonstrate how small investment through supply chain management can foster ozone and
climate-friendly technologies and proactively enhance energy efficiency. I congratulate all
partners for accepting the challenge of demonstrating this practical approach towards the Green Economy," added Mr. Steiner.
"Refrigerants, Naturally! demonstrates that meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are possible if business and NGOs are creative and are prepared to work together", said Henry Lee, director of the Environment and Natural Resources Program at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, in announcing the 2011 award winner.
Since 2004, Refrigerants, Naturally! has focused its efforts on overcoming barriers to the use of natural refrigerants including worldwide availability, maintenance, technical challenges and regulation. The companies have come a long way. They actively promote a shift in point-of-sale cooling technology toward safe, reliable, energy-efficient and cost-effective natural refrigerants with low or zero global warming potential and zero ozone depleting potential.
The initiative also provides a platform and a critical mass in communicating with the refrigeration technology supply chain, with other large companies using similar refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, governments and civil society.
Refrigerants, Naturally! is taking action to combat global warming and climate change by replacing F-gases in refrigeration equipment with climate-friendly natural refrigerants and is successfully promoting the technology amongst other companies around the world.
"Refrigerants, Naturally! has played an important role in raising the profile of this important issue and demonstrating what can be achieved through shared vision and commitment", said Thomas Lingard, Global External Affairs Director Unilever and Chair of Refrigerants, Naturally! .
In 2010, Refrigerants, Naturally!' has achieved one of its primary goals. The group's leadership catalyzed the entire retailing and consumer goods sector to commit to change its cooling technologies starting in 2015. The Consumer Goods Forum, a CEO-led organization of 400 global consumer goods manufacturers and retailers with US$3 trillion of revenue, pledged to begin phasing out HFC refrigerants as of 2015 and replace them with natural refrigerants (See:http://www.ciesnet.com/pfiles/press_release/Press_Release_2010/2010-11-29-ClimateProtection.pdf).
"Refrigerants, Naturally! strives to eliminate an entire class of dangerous greenhouses gases from a large industrial sector. As the group has now catalyzed a commitment to eliminate HFCs from the Consumer Goods Forum's 400 companies, we have a real shot at the kind of fundamental transformation we need. For this reason, Greenpeace is honored to be working with these corporations on this issue", said Amy Larkin, Director Greenpeace Solutions.
"Public-Private Partnerships such as Refrigerants, Naturally! are vital tools for implementing Agenda 21. UNEP is proud to continue helping inspire and guide this partnership of responsible private sector companies, which is contributing in a tangible way to achieving the UN's Millennium Development Goal of environmental sustainability", said Rajendra Shende, head of UNEP`s Ozone Action branch.
About the Roy Family Award
The Roy Family Award celebrates an outstanding public-private partnership project that enhances environmental quality through the use of novel and creative approaches. By drawing attention to an exceptional partnership, the award aims to inspire others to replicate or expand upon the success. More info on
In 1987, F-gases such as CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and later also HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons) were controlled under the Montreal Protocol due to their negative impact on the stratospheric ozone layer. Unfortunately, many of them were replaced with another generation of F-gases known as HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons). HFCs, which have a direct global warming impact more than a thousand times worse than the reference gas carbon dioxide (CO2), are currently used in much of the world's commercial refrigeration. Refrigeration is critical in food and beverage production, processing, storage, transportation and point-of-sale (e.g. supermarket cabinets, beverage coolers, ice cream freezers). Commercial refrigerants represent 41% of total refrigerant emissions.
The consequences of the rapid growth in HFC emissions are sobering. Because they are persistent in the atmosphere, HFCs will be responsible for between 9% and 19% of CO2 equivalent emissions by 2050 even if we do not act to reduce CO2 emissions. If the reduction of CO2 remains the focus of climate change initiatives and nothing is done about HFCs, they will be responsible for between 28% and 45% of CO2 equivalent emissions by 2050.
A UNEP report released at the Cancun climate negotiations last year highlighted that even if countries fully implemented the pledges and intentions associated with the Copenhagen Accord, in the best case scenario they could cut emissions to around 49 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2020. This leaves a gap of around five gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent that needs to be bridged over the coming decade - an amount equal to the emissions of all the world's cars, buses and trucks in 2005. Cutting "non-CO2 gases" including avoiding HFCs and improving energy efficiency of refrigeration equipment – as is being done voluntarily by the Refrigerants, Naturally! Partners - contributes to quickly close this gap.
Note to the editors
For questions, please address media contacts below:
Refrigerants Naturally! Secretariat
Phone: +49 6174 964575
Harvard University Belfer Center
Associate Director of Communications
Phone: +1 617 495 9858
Corporate Media Relations Manager
Phone: +44 20 7822 6805
Cell: +31 611 375 465
Senior Manager, Global Media Relations
Phone: +1 630 623 3707
Cell: +1 630 484 1158
The Coca-Cola Company
Group Director, Sustainability Communications
Phone: +1 404 676 2683
Manager Media Bureau, PepsiCo Inc.
Phone: +1 914 253 2308
Fax: +1 914 253 2203
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Head OzonAction Branch
Phone: +33 1 44 37 14 59
Fax: +33 1 44 37 14 74
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Greenpeace
Phone: +1 646 862 1509
Cell: +1 917 864 3724