Cooling suppliers: A stocktake on the path to Net Zero

This report is a global stocktake of cooling industry actions to address climate change. 

cooling report front cover


Rising incomes, urbanisation, electrification, population growth and a warming world are fuelling record demand for cooling, especially in residential AC. There are roughly two billion AC units currently in operation globally, contributing significantly to rising electricity demand. The energy consumption for space cooling has more than tripled since 1990, impacting electricity grids and GHG emissions, and exacerbating urban heat island effects. This trend is forecast to continue, with a further surge in demand primarily attributed to rising incomes and the heightened cooling requirements in Global South countries, contributing to nearly 90% of the expected expansion in AC stocks to 4.4 billion units in 2050.

At COP26 and COP27 in 2021 and 2022 respectively, governments, businesses and civil society made commitments supporting sustainable cooling, with 53 governments including sustainable cooling in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). However, challenges persist in achieving accessible, affordable and non-polluting cooling solutions. The existing built environment urgently needs to adapt to warmer temperatures, necessitating the deployment of efficient and environmentally friendly cooling approaches.

This report builds on analysis carried out in 2021 and serves as a global stocktake of cooling industry actions to address climate change. We examined a range of publicly available information: company reports; sustainability reports; information submitted to the SBTi; and relevant press releases, to assess each company’s climate commitments, cooling specific ambitions, and progress made towards relevant targets or pledges. This research was supported by interviews with 10 companies selected at random out of the 55 that feature in the report. 

This report aims to prompt further dialogue and engagement with key stakeholders to accelerate action on scaling sustainable cooling. 

Key findings:

  • The cooling industry is mobilising to tackle climate change. A majority of the fifty-five suppliers tracked in this report responded strongly to the call made at COP26 to act on climate and race to zero. Today three-quarters of the suppliers now have climate programmes to transform the products and services they offer whilst reducing their own climate impacts. 
  • Cooling suppliers who have created net zero climate momentum share three characteristics:   
    (i) they’ve set ambitious, independently verified climate targets for 2030 and 2050, 
    (ii) are actively collaborating, cooperating and communicating to support the cooling industry’s climate transition, and 
    (iii) are using green finance to fund climate transformation across their business operations (e.g., retooling factories to create efficient products that use ultras-low GWP refrigerants). 
  • Cooling suppliers can cooperate to accelerate Net Zero technology development. Delivering Net Zero cooling requires accelerated research and development at a pace greater than typically achieved by academia or the industry ecosystem, affording each cooling supplier a heavy innovation burden. Cooperation on 'ancillary' science, technology, processes and supply chains would reduce this burden and accelerate Net Zero technology.





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