Mars uses refrigeration equipment for building air conditioning, factory production process cooling, and in point-of-sale units like ice cream freezers and vending machines. Less than half of this cooling equipment currently utilizes synthetic refrigerant gases, and in particular hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which act as potent greenhouse gases if they escape into the atmosphere. Mars recognizes that a phase down of these high global warming potential (GWP) HFC refrigerants and more sustainable management of refrigeration systems is necessary to meet the goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to no more than 1.5C about pre-industrial levels, as set out in the Paris Climate Agreement and recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.
At the 2017 launch of its Sustainable in a Generation Plan Mars had already converted one third of its total industrial refrigeration gas inventory to natural refrigerants. This work was part of its longstanding (2009) program to make its own operations’ net zero carbon by 2040 with natural refrigerant based cooling systems contributing both improved energy efficiency and reduced direct GHG emissions. We have continued to make steady progress, and by 2021 over half of our factory refrigerant inventory had been converted to natural gases.
Both Mars and its suppliers will need to ensure their investments in industrial, building, transportation and point of sale refrigeration equipment are in line with the Mars 2050 Net Zero target. To support this ambition Mars has taken the opportunity to refine its original corporate refrigeration commitment (December 2017) which was based on the Consumer Goods Forum’s (CGF) Refrigeration Resolution.
Approach and Commitments
As of March 1, 2022, Mars commits to the following in all commercial and industrial refrigeration equipment under our control1, within our value chain:
- To purchase new equipment that utilize only natural refrigerants or ultra-low2 GWP refrigerants3,
- To work to reduce the environmental impact of our existing and new refrigeration systems, including (but not limited to) improving energy efficiency, optimizing refrigerant charge sizes, and minimizing refrigerant leaks4;
- To develop targets and action plans to achieve the above, and to measure and publish information on our progress.
1 Generally only refrigeration equipment that Mars directly purchases, but exceptionally could include equipment being bought by a third party to provide a service to Mars, where Mars is able to directly influence new equipment selection, e.g., build out of a new leased office.
2 GWP less than 150, in line with the European Union’s “F-Gas Regulation” (EU No 517/2014) on fluorinated gases.
3 Ultra-low GWP refrigerants containing HFOs that are proven to decompose in the atmosphere either to R23 (a very high GWP gas), or TFA (Trifluoroacetic acid which is poisonous to plants and accumulates in water) with a molar yield greater than 20% will not be used.
4 Whilst we do not commit to retire existing industrial or point of sale equipment that uses synthetic refrigerants before the end of its working life, we do commit that natural or low GWP refrigerants are utilized when existing equipment is replaced, and that all refrigeration equipment is operated in such a way as to minimize adverse environmental impacts.