Hindustan Unilever rolling out hydrocarbon fridges

Hindustan Unilever, an India-based subsidiary of Unilever, yesterday announced it is rolling out freezer cabinets that use hydrocarbon refrigerants.

Responding to an Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) report criticising the company along with others for its failure to act on global warming, Hindustan Unilever on Tuesday said it is already rolling out environmentally friendly hydrocarbon refrigeration technology in India to help reduce HFC emissions.

“We are already rolling out environment-friendly freezer cabinets that use hydrocarbon (HC) refrigerants,” said Prasad Pradhan, head of sustainable business and communications at Hindustan Unilever.
The EIA on 16 September called on India to ban the use of HFCs with a global warming potential of more than 1,000 in new refrigeration equipment in multinational food and beverage retailers from 1 January 2018. Multinational fast-food chains operating in India should lead this HFC emission reduction effort, the NGO further argued.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) report – entitled ‘Transitioning HFCs in India: The Opportunity for Climate Friendly Cooling in the Fast Food Industry’ – looked at the HFC emissions in India of American companies McDonald’s, Starbucks, Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts, as well as Indian-based companies Café Coffee Day and Hindustan Unilever – a subsidiary of Anglo-Dutch giant Unilever.
If current practices continue, the eight fast food chains covered in the report alone could add the equivalent of nearly one million tons of carbon emissions by 2020. Eliminating their HFC emissions from refrigeration would prevent the release into the atmosphere of 970,000 metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent – equal to the annual emissions of 205,000 cars.

In response, Pradhan stated: “Our HC freezers cover more than 90% of our retail freezers in India and we will be phasing out HFC freezers completely.”