Unilever, which developed improvements in point-of-sale freezer technology that have reportedly resulted in energy reductions of up to 50 percent through improved insulation, high-efficiency compressors and LED lighting, announced this weekend that its scientists have improved on the technology. The company says the new, hyper-efficient freezers that house its Wall’s brand ice cream now have the potential to achieve an industry-leading 70 percent* energy reduction, resulting in CO2 savings equivalent to removing half a million cars* from the road.
Unilever says the completely redesigned fridge will not only preserve the frozen treats at just the right temperature, it will deliver groundbreaking energy-efficiency alongside increased reliability and ease of use, saving money for retailers everywhere.
“Thanks to the radical approach of our scientists, Wall’s ice cream cabinets across the world are driving down energy use while driving up design and innovation standards,” said Unilever’s Chief Sustainability Officer Jeff Seabright. “As the market leader in ice cream and cabinet refrigeration, the size of the reductions announced coupled with our scale allows us to make a positive difference in reducing environmental impact. Enjoying an ice cream or two in summer is what fond memories are made of. Now that pleasurable experience is enhanced with added climate-friendly benefits to broaden those smiles.”
Wall’s, which encompasses several of Unilever’s ice cream brands — including Magnum, Cornetto, Solero, Viennetta and Carte d’Or — is sold in more than 40 countries around the world, under different local names: In the UK and most of Asia, it is known as Wall’s, but it also goes by Algida (Italy), Langnese (Germany), Ola (Netherlands) and Kibon (Brazil).
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"Starting in 2004 we have undergone a journey of continuous improvement, developing our science and technology to create what by some distance is the world’s most efficient ice cream cabinet,” said R&D VP of ice cream, Andy Sztehlo. “The new technology which offers a further 20 percent improvement could save enough energy to power a quarter of a million homes annually.”**
The refrigeration innovation falls under Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan vision of doubling the size of its business while greatly reducing its environmental impact, and goes hand-in-hand with efforts to remove the last remaining Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC)-reliant freezers from commercial use. Unilever has led these efforts since 2004, using an environment-friendly hydrocarbon refrigerant alternative. More recently it has been driving an industry commitment to phase out damaging HFCs by 2015 through participation in the Consumer Goods Forum and as a founding member of Refrigerants, Naturally!, a multi-stakeholder group that aims to bring about a rapid shift away from the use of HFCs towards natural refrigerants (ammonia and carbon dioxide) and climate-friendly hydrocarbons for refrigerated point-of-sale equipment such as ice cream freezers and vending machines.
In 2012, Ben & Jerry’s, along with other North American Unilever ice cream brands Breyers, Good Humor and Klondike, rolled out “cleaner, greener freezers” — which used 10 percent less energy and replaced harmful “F” gas coolants with HC refrigerants — here in the States.
*Using a 2008 baseline
**502,108 cars or 217, 611 homes