On Thin Ice

ON THIN ICE: EXPOSING A MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR NHL DEAL TO PROMOTE SUPER-POLLUTANTS AS “SUSTAINABLE”

Washington DC – Today the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) released On Thin Ice: How the NHL is Cheating the Climate. The report uncovers an agreement by the National Hockey League (NHL) to accept around two million dollars from a chemical producer, the Chemours Company (Chemours) to promote their refrigerants containing super-pollutant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as “environmentally sustainable”. The NHL Green program is actively marketing HFCs with global warming potentials (GWPs) thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide, while non-HFC alternatives including ammonia with zero-GWP are commonly used in ice rinks and in a majority of NHL ice arenas.

“The NHL accepted money from Chemours to spread dangerous climate misinformation,” said Alexander von Bismarck, EIA Executive Director. “It’s surprising to us that the NHL, which advertises its “green” credentials, would want to use its brand to promote super greenhouse gases as environmentally sustainable during a climate emergency. NHL fans, and all of us, deserve better.”

Conversations captured on video between EIA investigators and representatives from the NHL and Chemours give a detailed view into the nature of the partnership. The NHL’s sustainability team plays a key role to promote the Chemours HFCs to NHL teams and thousands of community ice rinks across North America. The partnership leverages the NHL’s brand and influence to gain the trust of communities and companies not just in the ice rink sector, but in other industrial cooling and cold food chain sectors widely using non-HFC ammonia refrigerants that compete with Chemours.

If successful in widely displacing zero-GWP alternatives with Chemours Opteon products in ice rinks and beyond, EIA’s report shows that the partnership could contribute to billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent increase in HFC use and emissions over the next two decades, the equivalent to annual emissions of 1,500 coal fired power plants.

There is an opportunity to join EIA in calling for the NHL to immediately stop promoting HFCs and take action on eliminating these super pollutants.

Chemours and I.B. Storey Inc. did not respond, prior to publication, to EIA’s requests for comment about the evidence presented in this report. The NHL responded that it “will not comment” on the report before its release.

Read the full report.

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