Climate-friendly refrigeration at Colruyt Group

Many refrigeration systems in supermarkets run on harmful F-gases. What is Colruyt Group doing to limit their impact?

Reduce & convert

Colruyt Group has been working towards phasing out F-gas usage in refrigeration systems for some time now. On the one hand, because European regulations on this issue are becoming ever more stringent, and, on the other, because we think it's the only right choice to make. What's more, the conversion to natural refrigerants is one of the initiatives that help us to reduce our CO₂ emissions. As recently as 2021, we signed the Green Deal 'Climate-Friendly Cooling'. This participation once more underlines our belief in natural refrigerants. Partly through this transition, we more than met our objective to reduce our CO₂ emissions by 20% compared to 2008 (in proportion to revenue) by 2020.

Peter Basteleus, head of Colruyt Group Technics' Techniques department
In this regard, we are not only a retailer seeking to be more eco-friendly, but also a refrigeration technology business - one of the largest in Belgium

"Our team of engineers looks for the ideal solution in terms of refrigeration for each store, distribution centre, office building etc. Our own technicians see to the maintenance of these refrigeration systems. We also develop AI models, for instance to detect leakage in our existing F-gas driven refrigeration units more quickly. This in-house knowledge and expertise enable us to respond to the needs of Colruyt Group quickly and efficiently."


In 2012, we launched a study to examine the transition to natural refrigerants. For our stores, a system of propane-based compact chillers seemed the best option. Our aim is to equip all our Bio-Planet, Colruyt, Okay and Okay Compact stores with cooling systems that do not rely on harmful F-gases by the end of 2029. At first, this raised a lot of questions regarding propane cooling - inter alia at a governmental level. We sat around the table with the various parties to discuss this and have always been very transparent in how we use these new cooling systems. Because we were and are 100% convinced that the conversion to natural refrigerants is a necessity.

The conviction that things can and must improve is deeply ingrained in Colruyt Group's corporate culture. "We choose not to stand on the sidelines and watch, but to roll up our sleeves and look for solutions. As the biggest retailer in Belgium, we owe this much to our customers, our environment and ourselves," Peter concludes.

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