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GLOBAL: Coca-Cola Co switches to greener vending

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As world leaders prepare for the global summit on climate change in Copenhagen, Coca-Cola Co has said that it will significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions from vending machines and coolers.

All new vending machines and coolers will be free of hyrdofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 2015, Coca-Cola Co said late yesterday (3 December).

HFCs are commonly given off in refrigeration and, although contributing to a relatively small volume of greenhouse gases worldwide, are considered much more damaging than other gases.

Coca-Cola Co, which along with its bottling partners has 10m coolers and vending machines around the world, has been in talks with campaign group Greenpeace since 2000 on a deal on HFC emissions.

"Our announcement today demonstrates a commitment to use our influence in the marketplace to drive innovation and help shape a low-carbon future," said Coca-Cola chairman and CEo Muhtar Kent.

"Climate change is real and the time to act on solutions is now," he said.

World leaders will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark, next week in an attempt to lay the foundations for a legally binding deal to reduce  greenhouse gas emissions globally.

Eliminating HFCs in the commercial refrigeration industry would be equivalent to eliminating the annual greenhouse gas emissions of Germany or Japan, said Coca-Cola Co and Greenpeace in a joint statement.

A recent peer-reviewed report by top scientists shows that HFCs will be responsible for between 28% and 45% of carbon-equivalent emissions by 2050 if society reduces carbon dioxide while leaving HFCs unchecked, they said.

Coca-Cola currently utilises two HFC-free solutions: hydrocarbon refrigeration is used in smaller equipment and carbon dioxide (CO2) is used in larger equipment. The soft drinks giant said CO2 is a "safe, reliable and energy efficient alternative" and is 1,430 times less damaging to the climate than a typical HFC.

One major equipment supplier has said it intends to install a production line for CO2 equipment, according to Coca-Cola Co.

Kumi Naidoo, executive director for Greenpeace International, said: "We welcome Coca-Cola's commitment to help tackle climate change. Large enterprises have both an opportunity and responsibility to change the game and Coca-Cola's action leaves no excuse for other companies not to follow."

 


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