Investment in Zero Emission Cold Chain (ZECC) Workshop Report: Market Review

Behrouz Arabi*, Bing Xu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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This workshop was organized as part of the Zero emission cold chain (ZECC) project, which is dedicated to understanding the opportunities, risks, and barriers associated with investments in low-carbon measures within the food cold chain industry. The selection of discussion topics and participatory sessions was meticulous, drawing on background research, preliminary survey results, and extensive consultations with leading cold-chain industry experts. This rigorous process was undertaken to ensure that the outcomes of the workshop align with the industry's business agenda and the objectives of the ZECC project.

The workshop report provides a thorough exploration of the path towards achieving a net-zero cold chain, with a particular focus on the critical years 2035, 2040, and 2050. It highlights the pressing need to transition away from environmentally harmful practices, such as using high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants and inefficient diesel technologies or reducing the usage/leakage of high GWP refrigerants. Discussions underscore the pivotal role of behaviour change within businesses and industries, driven by incentives that align with broader climate objectives.

Furthermore, the report highlights the complexity of either within company or intra company benchmarking and energy efficiency in various sectors, offering insights into the challenges and incentives businesses encounter when investing in low-carbon technologies. Clear government regulations, economic drivers, infrastructure upgrades, and workforce skills development emerged as vital factors in facilitating this transition. Ultimately, this report underscores the urgency of collaborative efforts, both within and outside the industry, and calls for government support to drive the transition toward a more sustainable and net-zero cold chain.

The workshop shed light on the multifaceted challenges and opportunities within the cold chain industry's journey towards sustainability. It recognized the importance of a gradual transition, with a focus on foundational changes in behaviour and processes as a pragmatic approach to meeting sustainability targets. The significance of government regulations, incentives, and clear rules in driving investments in low-carbon technologies was reiterated, as was the need for innovative financing options. The report underscores the crucial role of a well-trained workforce in effectively implementing new technologies and emphasizes the need for long-term planning and consistent government support to ensure a sustainable future. Collaboration among industry stakeholders emerged as a key theme, highlighting the industry's collective commitment to achieving sustainable cooling solutions.

While the focus of this workshop is on investment strategies, challenges, and motivations related to low GWP systems for decarbonizing the food and beverage cold chain, future sessions may explore investment opportunities and challenges associated with more innovative and radical measures such as online fresh supermarkets, automated delivery and energy storage.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024
EventZero Emission Cold Chain Workshop - Edinburgh Business School, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Nov 202328 Nov 2023


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