Coca-Cola Japan recently was presented with the “Minister of the Environment Award,” one of the highest prizes of the 18th “Protect the Ozone Layer, Prevent Global Warming Grand Prizes” awarded by the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun with the backing of Japan's Ministry for Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of the Environment. The awards recognize groups or individuals that implement measures to protect the ozone layer and prevent global warming.

The Coca-Cola system in Japan has been recognized both for its phased discontinuation of HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) in its beverage cooling equipment such as Peak Shift Vending Machines, and for its promotion of natural refrigerants.

On Sept. 9, Stan Mah, representative director and president, Coca-Cola Tokyo Research & Development, attended the awards ceremony. In his acceptance speech, Mah thanked Coke's equipment manufacturers and customers for their cooperation and said that the system would continue to help prevent global warming in concert with thosepartners. 

Kota Takasugi of Coca-Cola Japan’s External Public Affairs team adds, “Looking forward to 2016 and beyond, the Coca-Cola system in Japan is well positioned to continue leading the beverage industry in Japan to phasing out HFC refrigerant in beverage sales equipment, including vending machines, show cases (coolers) and dispensers, and replacing it with natural CO2 refrigerant-based equipment. Thanks to the diligent work by our R&D function and close collaboration with our equipment suppliers, energy-efficient CO2 refrigerant-based vending machines, coolers and dispensers for the Japanese market have been developed.”

The Coca-Cola system started to install HFC-free vending machines in Japan in 2005. By the end of 2014, about half of its vending machines for canned and PET-bottled drinks were replaced with HFC-free units. The efforts to shift to use of natural refrigerants are part of a global Coca-Cola policy. More ambitiously, the system in Japan is aiming at replacing all its vending machines nationwide with HFC-free machines by 2020.