Whole Foods lags behind several U.S. supermarkets on HFC and refrigeration policies, even finishing behind 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.
An international phase-out of HFCs would mitigate 88-143 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalents (CO2e) by 2050.
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 store’s 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.