WASHINGTON DC – Today, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) released its second Climate-Friendly Supermarket Scorecard assessing the largest U.S. supermarket chains on actions to reduce hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – potent greenhouse gases used in cooling with climate impacts thousands of times higher than CO2. Overall, despite the widespread availability of climate-friendly technology, of the sixteen companies evaluated, only two companies received passing scores.
“Congress, courts, and corporations continue to squander opportunities for climate action in this most urgent decade. This includes the U.S. supermarket sector which, barring incremental progress by some companies, has overall shown a lackluster progress in breaking away from HFCs,” said Avipsa Mahapatra, Climate Campaign Lead for EIA. “It is imperative that supermarket chains dramatically scale up adoption of HFC-free cooling as it not only makes climate sense, but also makes business sense given new regulations would inevitably lead to supply shortages and higher prices of HFCs.”
The scorecard assesses supermarkets in three key areas: HFC-free technology adoption, refrigerant management, and policy and commitments. EIA used the best publicly available information and responses from companies that chose to participate in the assessment. Results show:
- ALDI, Whole Foods, and Target lead the sector with the highest overall scores. ALDI is the top scorer overall and in technology adoption with hundreds more HFC-free stores than any competitor; Meijer is the highest scorer in refrigerant management; and Walmart scored the highest in policy and commitments.
- Other than the top three scorers, each of the remaining thirteen companies only have less than one percent of their stores using HFC-free cooling.
- Only three companies (ALDI, Target, and Walmart) have a public, time-bound commitment to end use of HFCs.
- No company scored higher than 80% leaving our highest tier of progress on this issue empty. There is significant room for improvement even for our top scorers; no company is excelling in all three categories.
- Walmart received a 15% overall score on EIA’s 2020 Scorecard. Following public pressure and EIA’s investigative report on its stores leaking HFCs, now the company has opened its first U.S. HFC-free store, set a timeline to phase out HFCs, and advocated for regulations on HFCs, raising its overall score to 28% this year.
- Giant Eagle, Meijer, and Southeastern Grocers have yet to install HFC-free refrigeration in a single store, although several stores have partial installations.
“Public, shareholder, and regulatory pressure is growing for companies to tackle these climate-damaging emissions,” said Beth Porter, Senior Climate Policy Analyst at EIA. “We’re calling on retailers to immediately commit to using HFC-free systems in all new stores and to release time-bound plans to end their use of HFCs across their operations.”
EIA’s Call to Action provides specific recommendations to supermarkets to act on this vital opportunity to combat climate change.
Avipsa Mahapatra, EIA Climate Campaign Lead, via [email protected]