UNDP, Colombia Collaborate to Eliminate HCFC Use

UNDP2 April 2013: A joint initiative between the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Colombia has eliminated the use of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC), an ozone depleting substance (ODS), in Colombia's domestic refrigerator manufacturing industry, replacing them with cyclopentane, a cost effective, flammable hydrocarbon that has low global warming potential (GWP).

The conversion of Colombia's four refrigeration manufacturing plants also reduced annual carbon dioxide emissions by 600,000 tons, an amount equivalent to the emissions of 120,000 cars. Colombia eliminated 56 tons of HCFCs as part of its obligations under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. According to UNDP, one ton of CFC can warm the atmosphere 10,000 times more than one ton of carbon dioxide.

This initiative also benefits Central and South American countries that receive exports from Colombia's refrigeration industry. Colombia exports 30% of its refrigeration products to Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Central American countries. Silvia Rucks, UNDP Country Director in Colombia, said the initiative shows “that environmental issues are not a barrier to economic development” and can promote a competitive, productive private sector.

UNDP's Multilateral Fund in Colombia financed the project, which raised awareness about the importance of eliminating ODS through public media campaigns. The project also trained technicians to handle ODS when dismantling and recycling old appliances and trained customs and environmental authorities on how to control ODS imports. [UNDP Press Release] [Montreal Protocol Website]