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UN given the cold shoulder by international cooling equipment manufacturers when invited to join the Race to Zero and combat global warming

LONDON: Some of the world’s biggest manufacturers of cooling equipment – like air conditioners and refrigeration units – are yet to join a UN-backed global campaign asking companies to commit to halving their emissions by 2030 to help combat climate change, according to documents obtained by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

Household name international brands like Carrier, Daikin, Miele, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Samsung, Siemens/Bosch, and Westpoint have either failed to respond to letters formally inviting them to join the Race to Zero initiative – sent by the UK’s High-Level Climate Champion Nigel Topping and the UN’s Gonzalo Munoz – or have so far declined to sign up to it.

Among those who have committed are Advansor, Danfoss Group, Electrolux, Hitachi, Philips, Trane and Schneider Electric.

As the world heats up there is an increasing demand for cooling and refrigeration products. The number of air-conditioners in use is expected to triple between now and 2050, with over 10 new units sold every second. But our need to keep cool comes at a price. Energy and refrigerant gas emissions from the industry are a significant driver of climate change and are expected to reach 13 per cent of total greenhouses gases over the next ten years.

A significant element of those emissions come from hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant gases used in, among other things, air conditioning units and supermarket chill and freezer cabinets. HFCs are synthetic short-lived potent gases, often many thousands of times more damaging than carbon dioxide.

“It’s disappointing to see major manufacturers like Carrier, the American company whose founder invented air conditioning in 1902 are not on board, despite having a wide range of HFC-free cooling equipment as featured EIA’s Pathway to net-zero cooling product list” says EIA’s Senior Climate Campaigner, Fionnuala Walravens

Despite their worrying contribution to the climate crisis only 21 per cent of the world’s major cooling and refrigerant manufacturers (11 out of 53) have officially joined the Race to Zero further urging companies to meet a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050.

Some companies that rejected the call raised concerns about the inclusion of emissions throughout their supply chain, particularly those that arise during use of their products.

“We recognise the challenges associated with making a net-zero commitment. However, changing equipment design to use HFC-free natural refrigerants alone can reduce emissions by 30%, not to mention the further gains to be made by improving the energy efficiency of appliances,” says Walravens. “As our planet warms up, cooling manufacturers are under the spotlight. Environmental sustainability is at the core of consumer and investor decision making. It’s time for the sector to step up to its environmental responsibilities.”

According to documents seen by EIA;

  • As of 11 October, those from the cooling sector who have signed up include:
    Advansor, Danfoss Group, Electrolux, GEA, Godrej & Boyce, Hitachi, Johnson Controls, Philips, Orbia Advance Corporation, Schneider Electric and Trane Technologies.
  • Six companies rejected the invitation:
    Bitzer, BASF, Carrier, Haier, Siemens/Bosch and Daikin.
  • 35 have either failed to respond to the letter or join the Race to Zero;
    Arkema, Blue Star Ltd, Chigo, Eaton, Chemours, Emerson, Enex, Fujitsu, Gree, Hisense, Kadeka, Lennox International, LG Electronics, Liebherr, Carel, Mabe, Midea Group, Miele, Linde, Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Nikura, Nortek, Panasonic, Samsung Electronics, Sanden, SCM Frigo, Sharp, Agas, BOC, Toshiba, ThyssenKrupp, Voltas, Walton, Westpoint and Whirlpool.

A billion household refrigerators and small commercial refrigerators use natural refrigerants. There are more than 35,000 supermarket systems using natural refrigerants around the globe. EIA also highlighted HFC-free vaccine coolers which are solar powered.





  1. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) investigates and campaigns against environmental crime and abuses. Our undercover investigations expose transnational wildlife crime, with a focus on elephants, pangolins and tigers, and forest crimes such as illegal logging and deforestation for cash crops such as palm oil; we work to safeguard global marine ecosystems by tackling plastic pollution, exposing illegal fishing and seeking an end to all whaling; and we address the threat of global warming by campaigning to curtail powerful refrigerant greenhouse gases and exposing related criminal trade.


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