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Ice cream freezers to be ‘warmed up’ in Unilever trials

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

Chris Ratcliff | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Unilever, which owns brands such as Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum and Wall’s, intends to increase the temperature of its ice cream freezers to reduce energy consumption.

The consumer products giant said the move could cut energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by around 20-30% per unit. Its two pilot projects, one in Germany and one in Indonesia, are due this month and next year respectively.

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

Unilever said it will evaluate both the energy consumption and the “product performance” of its ice cream at the new temperature. “Following the completion of the first two pilot projects, and if successful, Unilever will gradually “warm up” its last mile freezers,” the statement said.

Emissions from so-called “retail ice cream freezers” account for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in the company’s value chain, the report said.

Learn more about clean energy from CNBC Pro

By 2039, Unilever wants to achieve zero emissions across the entire value chain. In 2021, total Scope 1 emissions from its own operations and Scope 2 emissions, which also include the purchase of electricity and heat, totaled 710,740 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, he said.

Scope 3 emissions, which refer to indirect greenhouse gas emissions across the entire value chain, were 61,007,131 metric tons of CO2e in 2021.

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As the 2020s approaches, corporations around the world are trying to strengthen their position in the field of sustainability by announcing goals and plans to reduce the impact of their activities on the environment.

While there is a significant degree of skepticism about many of the company’s sustainability claims—specific details are often hard to come by, and the timeline for achieving these goals is sometimes decades away—the fact that they are making them at all is instructive. and indicates some pressure on corporations from some investors.

During a panel discussion chaired by CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick earlier this year, Judy Kuszewski, chief executive of consulting firm Sancroft International, spoke out on the above issue.

“One of the most exciting and perhaps the most unexpected developments that we have seen over the past couple of years is that climate change is actually a topic that investors are now carefully looking at,” she said.

They are “actually asking questions about the company’s strategy and its future ability … to cope with the inevitable changes that lie ahead of us,” she added.


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