Coca-Cola Shakes Suppliers over Greenhouse Gas

Coca-Cola Shakes Suppliers over Greenhouse Gas

The Coca-Cola Company will stop buying commercial coolers that use hydrofluorocarbons by 2004 if cost-effective alternatives are available, the company says.

"We will intensify our efforts to support research and innovation to accelerate the technological development of more environmentally friendly equipment," said CEO Douglas Daft.

Coca-Cola's suppliers will be required to announce schedules to use only HFC-free foam insulation and refrigeration in new cold-drink equipment. The company said it would also require suppliers to develop equipment that is 40% to 50% more energy-efficient by the end of the decade.

In support of the announcement, the company declared it had reached an agreement with Skope Industries, one of the largest refrigeration companies in the Southern Hemisphere, to produce commercial coolers using hydrocarbon gases, which do not contribute to climate change.

Coca-Cola's policy comes in the wake of a campaign called "Green Olympics, Dirty Sponsors" by Greenpeace International and Greenpeace Australia. The groups pelted the company with abuse for using HFCs at the Sydney Olympics, which violated official Olympic environmental guidelines.

Denmark Pressures EU

Denmark will ban HFCs for small commercial refrigeration equipment by 2003 and plans to phase out HFCs by 2006. The government has called on the EU to follow suit. Worldwide, about 20 companies manufacture HFC-free refrigerators. With ongoing concerns about the flammability of hydrocarbon refrigerants, North America is still wedded to HFCs.

Coca-Cola already joined with the Danish Technological Institute and two Danish suppliers, Danfoss and the Vestfrost Company, in a project funded by the Danish Energy Agency to test single-door can and bottle coolers. The equipment -- typical of what consumers see in supermarkets, gas stations, and convenience stores -- uses isobutane as the refrigerant and cyclopentane to blow the polyurethane foam insulation. Field tests of 40 prototype coolers and 20 standard units in two cities over one year resulted in 40% less energy use for the new equipment.

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