Celebrating Earth Day By Addressing Sustainable Commercial Refrigeration with BIER’s Coolition

April 18, 2024 | BIER

Earth Day 2024
Earth Day, celebrated annually on April 22nd, serves as a global reminder of the importance of environmental protection and sustainability. The day aims to raise awareness about environmental issues, advocate for positive change, and inspire individuals and communities to take action to protect the planet.

Consistent with BIER’s proactive approach to address environmental sustainability in the beverage sector, celebrating Earth Day this year is marked by addressing sustainable commercial refrigeration.

Reducing the environmental impact of commercial refrigeration equipment in the beverage sector is surmounting. Not only does cooling or refrigeration represent up to 20% of a beverage company’s greenhouse gas emissions, but the majority of beverage companies have aligned with Net Zero commitments. The beverage industry is highly dependent on refrigeration system suppliers for its refrigeration needs. Today, however, the needs are no longer just about cooling, but also about sustainability.

Beginning in 2021 the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) began working to reduce the environmental impact of beverage industry commercial refrigeration equipment and using its scale and partnership to drive meaningful positive change. What resulted was a BIER-led initiative, the BIER Coolition, consisting of BIER members, refrigeration equipment manufacturers, component suppliers, commercial equipment recyclers and testing laboratories, to drive change on three fronts:

  • Standards and Legislation – aiming to standardize performance testing procedures to drive adoption of higher efficiency equipment. This includes research into local legislation and regulatory requirements mandated in various territories around the globe in relation to equipment as well as research into (sometimes producer-specific) standards and requirements.
  • Circularity – building understanding and capacity to drive refurbishment and reuse of equipment and components by benchmarking other industries and investigating the current status of commercial refrigeration circularity in various regions around the world.
  • Energy Efficiency and Innovation – increasing end customer awareness/total cost of ownership considerations to influence adoption of environmentally preferable equipment. Cooperating to find solutions that help cold drink equipment and component manufacturers mitigate potential cost impacts & bottlenecks that could hinder the deployment of new energy efficient, renewable energy and circular technologies​.

In 2022, the Coolition emerged from the inaugural COOL BIER Conference, which explored the next generation of cold drink coolers.

Gaining momentum and reaching new heights, the Coolition has continued to make progress with exciting insight on the future of beverage consumption and its sustainability impact in commercial cooling with its March 2024 roundtable discussion with industry experts. The engaging discussion, as part of the Energy Efficiency and Innovation workstream, addressed the evolving landscape of beverage consumption and its profound impact on sustainability and innovation in commercial cooling. Below are key takeaways from our thought-provoking session:

  • Consumer Trends: Evolving from the era of simply seeking cold, affordable beverages, today’s consumers are championing environmental consciousness alongside their thirst. Regional and local varieties are in vogue, each demanding specific temperature considerations. The surge in at-home consumption has spurred the rise of rapid delivery services, yet consumers still crave immersive out-of-home experiences.
  • Impact: Amidst these shifts, the implications for commercial refrigeration are profound. Optimal cooler distribution is paramount; while traditional glass door coolers endure for impulse buys, innovative solutions like coolers on delivery scooters or robust solid door coolers in local hubs are emerging. Perhaps a household equivalent of a microwave for fast cooling is the next frontier. Sustainability remains at the heart of adapting to future disruptions, with electronic monitoring systems, AI-driven cooling solutions, and alternative technologies poised to transform the industry.
  • Strategies: Regulatory frameworks are pivotal in propelling sustainability progress. While standards like ISO22044 provide a sturdy foundation, cohesive industry convergence towards sustainability-driven compliance is imperative. Local production and strategic partnerships stand out as key pathways for beverage companies and on/off-trade owners to not only drive profitability but also align with sustainability imperatives.

Notable outcomes resulted from a well-engaged event, and unquestionably, momentum has been sparked – not just for Earth Day, but well into the future. Through BIER, the beverage industry commits to jointly find ways to reduce the environmental impact of its commercial refrigeration equipment. More developments are expected to follow as attendees continue to explore ways to reduce together the environmental impact of cold drink refrigeration equipment for the next generation of cold drink coolers!

The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) is a technical coalition of leading global beverage companies working together to advance environmental sustainability within the beverage sector.
By BIER [crp]

The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) is a technical coalition of leading global beverage companies working together to advance environmental sustainability within the beverage sector. Formed in 2006, BIER is a common voice across the beverage sector, speaking to influence global standards on environmental sustainability aspects most relevant to the sector, affect change both up and down the supply chain and share best practices that raise the bar for environmental performance of the industry. By doing so, BIER is able to monitor data and trends, engage with key stakeholders, develop best practices, and guide a course of action for the future.

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