A number of leading companies that comprise the supply chain necessary to move cold food products around the world have launched a new organization known as the Global Food Cold Chain Council (GFCCC) to tackle environmental issues.

According to the council, it will seek to reduce greenhouse gas emission in the processing, transportation, storage and retail display of cold food and attempt to increase demand for climate-friendly technology.

The council’s announcement came at the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Summit held in New York City and was made by the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy, with the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and other partners.

“The food cold chain is responsible for nearly one-third of global HFC emissions,” says Kevin Fay, alliance executive director. “The GFCCC is part of the alliance’s comprehensive approach to achieving the global reduction of high-GWP [hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions].”

The alliance says HFCs only comprise about 1 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but are expected to increase to greater than 10 percent by 2050 if left unabated.

While a climate-friendly cold chain will reduce the industry’s carbon footprint, the council says it will also extend food supplies to allow more people to be fed and reduce the estimated 3.3 billion metric tons of CO2-equivalent in food waste every year.

Members of the council say this initiative will promote efforts that “stimulate demand for climate-friendly technologies while reducing refrigerant emissions, and minimizing food spoilage, and enhancing energy efficiency in the food cold chain.”

The alliance and AHRI recently participated in an HFC industry leadership roundtable at the White House. According to the alliance, its members announced their voluntary commitments to introduce new low-global warming potential (GWP) compounds and technologies to replace high-GWP compounds and technologies currently in use and to continue to improve energy efficiency.

The alliance says the industry will invest $5 billion over the next 10 years to research, develop and commercialize low-GWP technologies, new refrigerants and the equipment in which they will be used. Overall, the alliance pledged to support policy and take action to reduce global HFC emissions by 80 percent by 2050.