Unilever signs Action plan to Boost natural refrigerant use in Brazil

Unilever signs Action plan to Boost natural refrigerant use in Brazil

On Wednesday 23 November representatives from Brazilian supplier Metalfrio and Unilever signed a voluntary initiative to replace Unilever signs Action Plan to boost natural refrigerant use in Brazilthe gases currently used for cooling and for the expansion of polyurethane foam with natural gases such as hydrocarbons. The agreement was signed in conjunction with the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment (MMA).

The “Voluntary Conservation Initiative” signed by Metalfrio and Unilever will help to reduce the global warming impact of Unilever’s cooling activities, with Metalfrio acting as the supplier of low GWP and zero ODP refrigeration equipment. Under the agreement, Unilever takes shared responsibility for the life cycle of the products, encouraging best environmental practices.

Hydrocarbon refrigerants for Unilever Brazil

According to the agreement the replacement of the environmentally harmful refrigerant and foam blowing gases should reach 80% by the end of 2020, which marks the end of the agreement. As a result Unilever commits to substituting all HCFCs and HFCs used as refrigerants and foam blowing agents, with natural gases such as R290 and cyclopentane, already used by Metalfrio in its fridges and freezers.

For 2012, the replacement shall be 20%. This voluntary initiative also provides for the reuse and / or recycling of components for 100% of the refrigerators by 2020.

Brazilian Plan of Action for Sustainable Production and Consumption (PPCS) also signed by Abras

The agreement signed by Unilever and Metalfrio is part of the Brazilian government Plan of Action for Sustainable Production and Consumption (PPCS), launched in 2010. The Plan includes six priorities for the first cycle, which should be implemented in three years (2011-2013). The priorities include:

  • Education for sustainable consumption
  • Sustainable construction
  • Environmental agenda in public administration
  • Retail and sustainable consumption
  • Sustainable public shopping and
  • Increase recycling of solid waste.

The PPCS aims to involve different government agencies, the private sector and civil society. (Abras) has also signed a voluntary PPCS agreement, committing to a reduction in the consumption of plastic bags by 30% by 2013 and by 40% by 2015.

Unilever Sustainable Living Plan

As part of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan and ambition to reduce the GHG emissions from refrigeration, in 2003 the company undertook is first large scale trial of hydrocarbon freezer cabinets in Denmark. This was followed in 2008 by the testing of 50 hydrocarbons cabinets in the US. By the end of 2011 Unilever will have rolled-out 800,000 cabinets, and by 2015 Unilever aims to have 1.3 million hydrocarbon cabinets.

Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan sets out how the company aims to double its size whilst reducing its environmental impact. The company has extended the scope of its responsibility up and down the supply chain and has set its self three key goals to be achieved by 2020, including halving the environmental footprint of products.


Brazil’s PPCS, and the voluntary agreements recently signed are ultimately the result of the Marrakech Process, a global multi-stakeholder process to promote Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) and to work towards a ‘Global Framework for Action on SCP’, the so-called 10 Year Framework of Programmes on SCP (10YFP).

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