US fast-food giants not doing enough to reduce HFC emission: CSE

Saturday, Sep 17, 2016,14:34 IST By metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | US fast-food companies in India, including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and McDonalds, are not doing enough to cut down on emissions of hydrofluorocarbon, a super greenhouse gas, and are among of India’s biggest contributors to such emissions, a green body said on Friday.

On International Ozone Day today, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said that while the US government is pushing countries like India for an agreement to cut down HFC emission under the Montreal Protocol, it is not taking any action to rein in these companies in other parts of the world.

A report by the Environment Investigation Agency (EIA), a US-based independent campaigning organisation, found that the US multinational fast-food companies are doing very little to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbon in their India operations, though they have started taking actions to move to alternate refrigerants in Europe and the US.

“Big American companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and McDonald’s are not doing anything to cut down on emission of HFC at a time when the White House and the US government themselves are desperate to get a deal at the Montreal Protocol to phase-down of HFC.

“On this Ozone Day, it is important that countries give priority to people and planet and not their companies. In the Montreal Protocol, interests of companies are taking priority and that is not going give us an environmentally sound agreement,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE, reacting to the report.

CSE also recommended to the Indian Environment Ministry to put regulations to restrict the use of HFC in these large companies. HFCs are a class of human-made greenhouse gases, often hundreds to thousands of times more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide and are typically used in refrigeration and air conditioning systems.

Noting that the multinational fast food sector in India is one of the country’s largest contributors to HFC emissions, CSE said that just the eight fast food chains covered in this report could add about a million tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions of HFCs by 2020.

Montreal protocol was signed in early 1990s to eliminate the use of refrigerants that caused ozone hole.