- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center Newsletter

Refrigerants, Naturally! Wins Award for Environmental Partnership

| Summer 2011

The Belfer Center’s Environment and Natural Resources Program (ENRP) coordinates a unique award presented by Harvard Kennedy School every two years to an outstanding public-private partnership project that enhances environmental quality through the use of novel and creative approaches. This year, the Roy Family Award for Environmental Partnership went to Refrigerants, Naturally!, an  unlikely alliance that includes Greenpeace, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), The Coca Cola Company, McDonald’s, Unilever, and PepsiCo.

Representatives of the winning coalition took part in an awards ceremony at the Kennedy School in May with a panel discussion titled “Keeping Our Cool: Promoting Green Technologies to Combat Climate Change.”

Refrigerants, Naturally! works to get rid of the environmentally harmful fluorinated gases ("F-gases", such as CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs) that currently cool the commercial refrigeration units that dispense their products in supermarkets, and in private, and public facilities worldwide – and substitute those gases with natural refrigerants. Natural refrigerants are climate and ozone friendly gases that exist naturally in the biosphere, i.e. ammonia, carbon dioxide, and hydrocarbons. The goal of Refrigerants, Naturally! is to combat climate change and ozone layer depletion by developing natural refrigeration technologies that are safe, reliable, affordable, and energy efficient.

In the 1990s, Greenpeace began a campaign to raise public awareness of the environmental impact of F-gas refrigerants and worked to lobby business to adopt HFC-free refrigeration solutions. Corporations, in turn, sought alternative refrigerants, but found that as manufacturers were not offering HFC-free options, companies could not switch to natural refrigerants. In 2004, Refrigerants, Naturally! was launched by McDonald's , The Coca-Cola Company and Unilever to encourage manufacturers to make products using natural refrigerants and to share technological information. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of tons of greenhouse gas emissions already have been prevented from entering the atmosphere as a result.

“Strong U.S. legislation on climate may not be passed by this Congress,” said ENRP Director Henry Lee, “but Refrigerants, Naturally! demonstrates that meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are possible if businesses and NGOs are creative and prepared to work together.”

For more information on this publication: Please contact the Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Swanson, Amanda.. Refrigerants, Naturally! Wins Award for Environmental Partnership.” Belfer Center Newsletter (Summer 2011).