Ice cream freezers will get ‘hot’ in Unilever test

According to Unilever, the industry standard for freezer temperatures in many markets is minus 18 degrees Celsius (around 0 degrees Fahrenheit). The temperature of the freezers in the tests will be minus 12 degrees Celsius.

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Unilever, which owns brands such as Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum and Wall’s, will try to increase the temperature of its ice cream freezers in a bid to reduce energy use.

The consumer goods giant said the move could reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 20% to 30% per unit. Its two pilots, one in Germany and one in Indonesia, will take place this month and next year, respectively.

According to the firm, the industry standard for freezer temperatures in many markets is minus 18 degrees Celsius (about 0 degrees Fahrenheit). The temperature of the freezers in the tests will be minus 12 degrees Celsius.

Unilever said it will assess both the energy use and “product performance” of its ice cream at the new temperature. “Following the completion of the first two pilots and if successful, Unilever will work to ‘warm up’ its last-mile cabinet freezers in a phased approach,” he said.

Emissions from what it calls “retail ice cream freezers” account for 10% of the company’s value chain greenhouse gas footprint, he said.

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By 2039, Unilever wants net zero emissions across its entire value chain. In 2021, it says that total scope 1 emissions, related to its own operations, and scope 2 emissions, which also include the purchase of electricity and thermal energy, came to 710,740 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Scope 3 emissions, which refer to indirect greenhouse gas emissions throughout its value chain, were 61,007,131 metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2021.

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As the 2020s progress, corporations around the world are attempting to polish their sustainability credentials by announcing net-zero emissions goals and plans to reduce the environmental footprint of their operations.

While there is a significant degree of skepticism about many of the sustainability-related claims companies make (hard details are often hard to come by, and dates for achieving these goals are sometimes decades away), the fact that they do is instructive. and it points to a certain amount of pressure on corporations from some investors.

During a panel discussion chaired by CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick earlier this year, Judy Kuszewski, CEO of sustainability consultancy Sancroft International, spoke about the above point.

“One of the most exciting and perhaps most unexpected developments that we’ve seen in recent years is that climate change is actually an issue that investors are looking at very closely right now,” he said.

They “are really asking questions about the company’s strategy and its future fitness to…deal with the inevitable changes ahead of us,” he added.

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