THERE IS A BLACK MARKET FOR REFRIGERANT GASES IN EUROPE.
WITH STRICTER ENFORCEMENT, WE CAN TACKLE THIS ILLEGAL ACTIVITY THAT FINANCES ORGANISED CRIME, THREATENS LEGITIMATE SMALL BUSINESSES AND HALTS PROGRESS TO CLIMATE GOALS.
PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE BUT MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE.
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. Uneven enforcement by EU member states created space for criminals to bypass both the quota system and the law. Recently, thanks to efforts by the HFC value chain and authorities, effective steps have been taken to tackle of this problem. However, more work needs to be done to win the fight.
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, R-507A and R-407C.
With some member states such as Germany, Italy, Greece and Estonia taking strong measures to tackle the illegal trade, there is a risk that criminals will find different routes and new ways to circumvent the law.
To avoid this, EFCTC calls for the following:
Tighter enforcement in EU member states works to deter criminals.
Check out the ‘Actions’ page to see where enforcement is gaining ground on criminals and illegal HFCs are being seized.
The more people know about this issue in the value chain, the better. Collaborate, inform, and bring solutions.
To learn more about what others like you are doing to win the fight and to show your commitment to others, you can sign up to our Pledge.
The first step to stop criminals is to make sure they have no place to hide. For that the value chain and the enforcement community can be equally vigilant.
Reporting suspicions so they can be investigated is a decisive step you can take right now.
All suspicious activity can be reported to the anonymous EFCTC Action Line.
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.