Monday, 1 February 2010
Every little helps . . .
. . . or not, as the case may be. It has been reported that supermarkets are the biggest source of HFC emissions in the UK. HFC gases (Hydrochlorofluorocarbons) from refrigerants leaking into the atmosphere account for one third of the UK's carbon footprint, 3800 times more than the carbon dioxide emitted from cars.
Some of the supermarkets (2008) had converted some of their stores to climate-friendly refrigerants but before anyone becomes over-excited by this consider some of the figures.
Marks and Spencer had converted 3 out of 620 stores. Tesco has 1710 stores of which 4 had been converted. Asda had completed 3 conversions out of 364 stores and the Co-operative, which has 2250 stores, had converted just 1. Sainsbury's had managed 2 out of 765, Morrisons 1 out of 375. These numbers are poor but Waitrose, which prides itself on its green credentials, had not converted any of its 192 stores.
Though some of the stores did not have a sufficient number of engineers suitably trained to deal with climate-friendly refrigerants the main reason for the lack of action appears to be that the public – the consumers who shop in these establishments – is unaware of these startling facts. The government also has been slow to act and to offer incentives to supermarket chains to encourage them to change their ways.