The UK is among the first nations to ratify a UN agreement to phase out harmful HFCs from 2019, with Aldi already moving quickly to roll out natural refrigerants across all its stores.
The amendment to the UN Montreal Protocol, agreed by more than 170 countries in October 2016, will see developed countries phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) from 2019.
HFCs are commonly found in refrigerators and air conditioning units, and their use has been increasing rapidly due to rising global demand for refrigeration and cooling.
The gases were originally brought in to replace chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which were banned in the original Montreal Protocol in 1987 for their damaging affect on the ozone layer.
However, HFCs are powerful greenhouse gases that are thousands of times more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide.
From 2019, countries will now begin to replace HFCs with non-toxic ‘natural’ alternatives. The UK had already begun to phase down HFCs in accordance with EU law, which requires a cut of 79 per cent in HFCs placed on the EU market between 2015 and 2030.
Supermarket group Aldi has already begun to phase out its use of HFCs completely by announcing a £20 million investment in natural refrigerants for its UK stores.
The incoming CO2 refrigeration units will cut Aldi’s refrigerant gas emissions by 99 per cent compared to HFCs.
Up to 100 Aldi stores will be fitted with the new units by the end of 2018.
“By choosing natural refrigerants, we are reducing our impact on the environment while also assuring our stores are future-proofed for years to come”, said Mary Dunn, communications director at Aldi.