If you are looking for EIA UK, it's over here.

Whole Foods needs to give the earth something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving

WASHINGTON, D.C. - For those of you heading to Whole Foods this Thanksgiving week, you may want to think twice. As it turns out, America’s so-called “healthiest grocery store” isn’t so healthy for the planet. The organic-grass-fed-gluten free-cold pressed turkey in your shopping cart is being refrigerated with some of the most potent greenhouse gases in the world called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – gases used in refrigerators and air conditioners with global warming potentials hundreds to thousands of times higher than carbon dioxide.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, commercial refrigeration units like those used by Whole Foods leak on average 25 percent of the 4,000 pounds of HFC chemicals used each year. For a store that has labeled itself as a “participant in the movement to a sustainable world”, each of of Whole Foods 315 stores is venting these potent climate-damaging chemicals as customers buy turkeys for their Thanksgiving meal, despite the availability of environmentally-friendly, natural refrigeration technologies in the marketplace.

Whole Foods customers must demand more from the store that claims to be a sustainable grocery option and charges them for it. Leaking climate killing gases unnecessarily into the atmosphere is not acceptable, especially when those emissions make up approximately 40 percent of a supermarket’s carbon footprint.

As detailed in our recent report, Whole Foods lags behind several U.S. supermarkets on HFC and refrigeration policies, even finishing behind the grocery giant, Walmart. Whole Foods also lags behind supermarkets in Europe, Canada, South Africa, Brazil and Japan, thousands of which are transitioning to natural refrigeration technologies, such as carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, and ammonia cascade systems. With more than 4,000 supermarkets using these climate friendly systems across Europe, and more than 50 stores in just one province of Canada alone, it is shocking that Whole Foods has only one HFC-free store in the works and has stated that it does not plan any others.

While Whole Foods has recently taken a small step towards controlling leakage, piloting EOS Climate’s Refrigerant Asset System, more needs to be done to institute climate-friendly refrigeration technologies and roll out these leakage control systems and maintenance in all stores. Additionally, while the EOS system monitors and evaluates a stores use of refrigerants it does not eliminate the use of HFCs.

Technology exists to transition to climate friendly options now and reduce these emissions close to zero. This Thanksgiving, we hope Whole Foods steps up and gives us something to be thankful for -- a supermarket that is truly tackling their greenhouse gas emissions by pledging to make all new stores and retrofits HFC-Free.

For more information, please contact the authors.

Danielle Gagne
HFC & Climate Policy Analyst
dgagne@eia-global.org
202-483-6621

Lowell Chandler
HFC Intern
202-483-6621

View all Blog Posts

Recent Blog Posts

A 21st Century Standard for American Fridges
04/28/2017
A new safety standard brings U.S. consumers one step closer to being able to purchase climate friendly household refrigerators.
Ratifying the Kigali HFC Amendment: A No-brainer for the U.S.
10/31/2016
EIA takes a look at why the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol should be ratified by the United States

Recent Reports

EIA Comments at California Air Resources Board
03/24/2017
Official EIA comments issued at the March 2017 California Air Resources Board meetings in Riverside, CA.
EIA Briefing to the UNFCCC COP22
11/07/2016
In October 2016, Parties to the Montreal Protocol adopted the Kigali Amendment on HFCs, which marks an historic achievement as the Paris Agreement comes into force in November.

Recent Press Releases

California Approves Strategy to Reduce Super Pollutants
03/24/2017
The California Air Resources Board agreed to a strategy to phase down potent greenhouse gases, including HFCs.
Historic Agreement Reached on Global Deal to Cut HFCs, Super Pollutant Greenhouse Gases
10/14/2016
Parties to the Montreal Protocol are expected to adopt an historic global agreement mandating controls on hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) consumption and production...

Recent Videos

India Takes Critical Step to Protect Global Climate from HFC-23
10/13/2016
India has announced its chemical industry, with immediate effect, must collect and destroy emissions of its most potent greenhouse gas, HFC-23. EIA first exposed the HFC-23 crisis ten years ago and has carried out investigations into HFC-23 venting in China and India.
Supermarkets, HFCs, and Global Warming
07/06/2015
Some of the largest supermarkets in the United States use man made gases known as HFCs in stores' refrigeration and air conditioning systems...
Nearing a Global HFC Phase-down
The October 2016 Montreal Protocol meeting in Kigali, Rwanda is expected to yield a global agreement to phase down HFCs. Read and share EIA's briefing on this great opportunity and obligation to avert climate catastrophe.
Follow us @eiaenvironment on twitter for the latest updates!
Help us mitigate climate destroying gases
HFC-free Technologies
Cornell's Lake Source Cooling