PARIS — The Consumer Goods Forum here Monday announced two climate change initiatives, one aimed at ending deforestation, and the other focused on phasing out the use of refrigerant gases with high global-warming potential.
The forum, which comprises 400 CPG global manufacturers and retailers, pledged to mobilize its collective resources to help achieve, by 2020, zero net deforestation, which currently accounts for 17% of greenhouse gases. The consumer goods industry, through its growing use of soya, palm oil, beef, paper and board, creates many of the economic incentives that drive deforestation, it said.
“We believe that our industry has a responsibility to purchase these commodities in a way which encourages producers not to expand into forested areas,” said Terry Leahy, chief executive officer of Tesco, and Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, in a statement. “Our task is to develop specific action plans for the different challenges of sourcing commodities like soya, palm oil, beef, paper and board sustainably.”
On refrigeration, the organization agreed to begin phasing out hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants as of 2015 and replace them with non-HFC refrigerants. HFC emissions are projected to represent between 9% and 19% of projected greenhouse gas emissions in 2050.
“This is the first time that the entire sector has aligned around the importance of taking action to accelerate the move to climate-friendly refrigeration,” said Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola and Lars Olofsson, CEO of Carrefour, in a statement. “The technologies exist today for our sector to significantly reduce the direct and indirect emissions of the refrigeration equipment we use.” Kent and Olofsson are co-chairs of the board of the Consumer Goods Forum.
The team of forum-member companies charged with delivering the deforestation and refrigeration pledges is co-chaired by Tesco and Unilever and also includes Ahold, Barilla, Carrefour, Coca-Cola, Delhaize, General Mills, Henkel, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg, Kraft, Kroger, L’Oreal, Metro, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Sara Lee, S.C. Johnson, Sobeys and Wal-Mart Stores.