Consumer Goods Forum moves to end deforestation, use of HFC refrigerants

PARIS — The Consumer Goods Forum on Monday announced two major initiatives on climate change — to work toward ending deforestation and to phase out the use of refrigerant gases with high global warming potential — on the opening day of the sixth United Nations Climate Change Conference held here.

“On behalf of my co-chair Lars Olofsson, [CEO of the international retailer Carrefour] and the board of directors of The Consumer Goods Forum, we … lend our support to this monumental but essential task of creating solutions that lead to a low-carbon world,” stated Muhtar Kent, who in addition to co-chairing the CGF is chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company. “The initiatives that our industry announced today are good examples of the kind of bold and positive action that will be needed to move the needle in combating climate change.”

On deforestation, CGF pledged to mobilize their collective resources to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020. Deforestation is one of the principal drivers of climate change, accounting for 17% of greenhouse gases today, the organization noted. The consumer goods industry, through its growing use of soya, palm oil, beef, paper and board, creates many of the economic incentives which drive deforestation.

On refrigeration, the forum agreed to begin phasing-out hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants as of 2015 and replace them with non-HFC refrigerants. While HFCs currently have a relatively small aggregate impact on global warming, HFC emissions are projected to represent 9% to 19% of projected greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“This is the first time that the entire sector has aligned around the importance of taking action to accelerate the move to climate-friendly refrigeration,” Kent said. “The technologies exist today for our sector to significantly reduce the direct and indirect emissions of the refrigeration equipment we use.”

The U.S. government has targeted HFC reduction as a priority climate action under the Montreal Protocol, and garnered support from 91 nations at last month’s Montreal Protocol conference in Bangkok.

The forum, formed in 2009, is a CEO-level organization of 400 global consumer goods manufacturers and retailers with combined revenue in excess of $2.8 trillion.

Click here for a full text of the CGF statement and initiatives.

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