THE BLACK MARKET FOR REFRIGERANT GAS IS THRIVING ACROSS EUROPE.
THIS ACTIVITY FINANCES ORGANISED CRIME, THREATENS LEGITIMATE SMALL BUSINESSES AND HALTS PROGRESS TO CLIMATE GOALS.
LET’S TAKE ACTION, NOW.
What's the problem?
Europe has a big, hidden problem. Every year, large amounts of refrigerant gas are smuggled into countries across Europe: up to 34 million tonnes CO2 equivalent, or 33% of the legally-allowed quota. That’s equivalent to adding 25 million cars to EU roads – the total amount of cars in Spain.
HFCs – short for Hydrofluorocarbons – are used in refrigeration, air conditioning systems, as blowing agents in sprays, foams and insulating materials and as fire extinguishing agents. They are highly effective and energy efficient refrigerants.
Due to the high global warming potential (GWP) of some HFC refrigerants, their consumption is being phased down. In Europe, this phase down is managed with quotas that promote a gradual shift to lower GWP alternatives.
These quotas are circumnavigated by criminal organisations, who make vast profits on the black market and through uncontrolled e-commerce. And by doing this, they also increase the amount of high GWP HFCs being circulated in Europe. Illegal shipments often contain products such as HFCs R-134a, R-404A, R-410A, R-32 and R-407C. Although this earlier-generation refrigerant is banned in the EU, HCFC R-22 is also still illegally imported.
Based on research by data consultancy Oxera, EFCTC has identified two trade flow gaps that could be hiding illegal HFCs, adding up to 34 million tonnes CO2 equivalent, or 33% of the legal EU market. Investigative agency Kroll has been able to build concrete evidence of more than 4.7 million CO2eqT illegal HFC imports.
Europe cannot achieve its climate goals if we don’t all do our part to stop this.
If you have knowledge of, or see, any suspicious or illegal trading activity, report it. We will protect your anonymity and take the necessary steps to investigate.