New Scorecard: Supermarkets Failing to Tackle Super Pollutant HFCs

Today, EIA launched the Climate-friendly Supermarket Scorecard assessing U.S. supermarkets on actions to reduce hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) - potent greenhouse gases used in cooling. Although climate-friendly options are readily available, American supermarkets continue to rely on HFCs with thousands of times the climate impact of CO2.

“This scorecard reveals that shockingly few supermarkets use HFC-free systems and their efforts to reduce HFC emissions are woefully inadequate. The highest grossing supermarkets on this list have the power to help solve the climate crisis. Instead, they are exacerbating the problem - continuing to use and leak super pollutant HFCs,” said Avipsa Mahapatra, EIA Climate Campaign Lead. “Supermarkets must eliminate HFC use in all new stores, and establish programs to reduce their cooling footprint.”

The scorecard assesses supermarkets in three key areas: HFC-free technology adoption, refrigerant management, and policy and commitments:

  • No company scored higher than 70% leaving our highest tier of progress on this issue empty. No company is excelling in all three categories.
  • ALDI is the highest scorer overall and in technology adoption with hundreds more HFC-free stores than any competitor; Meijer is the highest scorer in refrigerant management; and Ahold Delhaize and Kroger scored the highest in policy and commitments.
  • 12 out of 16 companies scored less than 20%, indicating most major companies are failing to take significant action.
  • 10 out of 16 companies are known to have installed HFC-free refrigeration systems, but companies including Walmart, Giant Eagle, Meijer, and Costco don’t have a single HFC-free store.
  • Only a quarter of companies share public information on efforts to reduce HFC emissions in reports or websites, underlining lack of transparency.

“U.S. supermarkets leak the equivalent of 49 billion tons of coal in HFC emissions yearly,” said Christina Starr, EIA Climate Policy Analyst. “Smart companies, like top scorer ALDI – rapidly scaling up energy efficient HFC-free technologies in stores – demonstrate that costs or other market barriers are no longer valid excuses.”

“This scorecard lays out the massive progress needed from the supermarket sector to eliminate these harmful super pollutants,” said Beth Porter, Director, Green America’s Cool It campaign. “Green America and our 200,000 individual members join EIA in calling on these companies to take aggressive action to abandon HFCs from all facilities and replace them with widely available climate-friendly refrigerants.”