Refrigerants Naturally! UNEP


As the voice for the environment within the United Nations system, UN Environment acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment. Part of this work is to encourage new partnerships and mind-sets within the private sector to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and technology for sustainable development. The Refrigerants, Naturally! initiative is an example of a bold new mind-set to achieve environmental benefits through voluntary corporate action and information exchange.

We at UNEP, through our Paris-based Division of Technology, Industry and Economics OzonAction Programme, have been associated with Refrigerants, Naturally! from the very start. In 2000, UNEP and US EPA were instrumental in organising the Alternative Refrigerants Forum in Illinois to promote the adoption of non-CFC and non-HFC refrigerants by multinational corporations, including McDonald`s, The Coca Cola Company and their competitors. The collaboration resulting from that forum became an ongoing dialogue between UNEP, Greenpeace, McDonald`s, The Coca Cola Company and Unilever that later gelled into the Refrigerants, Naturally! partnership, first manifesting itself publicly in the 2004 conference in Brussels. Since that time, Refrigerants, Naturally! has been officially recognised as a Partnership for Sustainable Development by the UN Commission on Sustainable Development as a voluntary, multi-stakeholder initiative that contributes to the implementation of Agenda 21, Rio+5 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.

UNEP supports Refrigerants, Naturally! for the following reasons:


  • Environment: Participating companies are realising substantial ozone and climate protection benefits by identifying, testing and deploying new refrigeration and air conditioning technology in point-of-sale cooling applications.
  • Coordination: Through their actions and words, the companies are addressing multiple global environmental issues at once, and thereby supporting implementation objectives of the Montreal Protocol and Kyoto Protocol.
  • Innovation: The partners are achieving environmental objectives by stimulating demand for new technology, and working in a close and cooperative way with the technology supply chain.
  • Voluntary: The companies are in many instances working in advance of regulations in a pro-active, not reactive, way.
  • Multi-stakeholder: The initiative involves private sector entities, UNEP and Greenpeace: A true "public-private partnership".
  • Participatory: The partners share technical information between themselves in a free and transparent manner and there is an openess to have other companies join.

The members of Refrigerants, Naturally! are taking an important step in addressing environmental issues with coherence. The future of sustainable refrigeration lies in this type of forward-looking technology innovation.

For more information:

James S. Curlin

UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics

15 rue de Milan

75441 Paris Cedex 09


phone: +33 1 44 37 14 55

fax: +33 1 44 37 14 74