Ahold Delhaize climate plan
Image credit: Ahold Delhaize

Ahold Delhaize’s Climate Plan Identifies Natural Refrigerants as a ‘Top Priority’

In 2022, 42% of the retailer’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions came from its refrigerants, which averaged a GWP of 2,508.

European supermarket conglomerate Ahold Delhaize, which has stores in the U.S., Europe and Indonesia, has made transitioning to natural refrigerants part of its official climate plan.

The Ahold Delhaize “Climate Plan Update December 2023” identifies “low global warming potential and natural refrigerants” as one of four “top priority opportunities” for reducing Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. In its previous Climate Plan, published in November 2022, only “low-emission refrigerants” were listed as a top priority opportunity for reducing Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.

In its updated Climate Plan, the company states that 42% of its 2022 Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions came from its current mix of refrigerants, which averaged a GWP of 2,508. In 2022, the company’s refrigerant leakage rate was 12.5%.

“We want to transition, year by year, to natural and low-GWP refrigerants,” the company wrote in the updated document. “Our U.S. businesses are planning to convert equipment for compatibility with low-GWP or natural refrigerants (these plans are under revision due to PFAS legislation). For our European businesses, all refrigerant equipment will use natural refrigerants by 2040.”

Ahold Delhaize has already seen some success in reducing its emissions by focusing on refrigeration. The company noted that its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions decreased 32% compared to 2018 thanks to an increased use of zero-emission electricity and environmentally friendly refrigeration systems.

Progress in Europe and U.S.

In the Netherlands, Ahold Delhaize’s Albert Heijn brand has replaced approximately 68% of its store refrigeration systems with natural refrigerants according to the Climate Plan.

The company also reported that its American supermarket chain Food Lion received two awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “for reducing emissions by switching to refrigeration systems with zero-ozone depleting potential and low-GWP refrigerants.” Another American brand, Hannaford, was the first U.S. grocer to install transcritical CO2 (R744) refrigeration in July 2013 at a store in Scarborough, Maine.

Ahold Delhaize has also been recognized by ATMOsphere, publisher of R744.com, for its use of natural refrigerants. At the ATMOsphere (ATMO) Europe Summit 2023 held last September, the company won the ”Best in Sector/Retail” award for advancing the adoption of natural refrigerant-based systems.

Facing financial challenges, “Delhaize has continued to install natural refrigerant systems,” said Marc Chasserot, CEO of ATMOsphere, in presenting the award. “This is not what the typical end user would do; the typical end user would cut back on expensive new technology. But Delhaize insisted on accelerating its transition to natural refrigerants. It’s in its DNA.”

At the time of the award, 84 of Ahold Delhaize’s 140 corporate stores in Belgium and Luxembourg operated with transcritical CO2 refrigeration, while another 34 employed CO2 for negative (frozen) cooling. Of its 760 independently owned stores, 344 use transcritical CO2 systems.

In addition, Kathy Loftus, Vice President of Strategic Construction Projects, Energy and Facility Services at U.S.-based Ahold Delhaize company Retail Business Services, said transcritical CO2 was the company’s “go-to refrigeration technology” for new U.S. stores during a keynote presentation at the ATMOsphere (ATMO) America Summit 2023.

“We want to transition, year by year, to natural and low-GWP refrigerants.”

Ahold Delhaize

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