摘要： Businesses can contribute to reducing climate change if they focus on collecting and analyzing data around refrigerant use, particularly within the supply change. Refrigerant usage and waste rates play one of the most damaging roles in climate change.
When we don’t understand what’s contributing to a problem, it’s nearly impossible to know the “right” questions to ask. This is a particular pain point for businesses of all sizes–whether it’s finding a solution to issues like lack of employee diversity or why a product isn’t resonating with a target market.
As advanced tech like AI and ML–once reserved for deep-pocketed Fortune 500s–becomes more available to mainstream businesses (from fintech startups to marketing firms), leaders have turned to data to answer their questions. Yet, when it comes to examining businesses contributing to climate change, there are places where they aren’t looking at the data. For starters? Refrigerant.
Project Drawdown, a group of leading international academics and scientists, recently held their annual conference at Penn State; at the top of the list for business-relevant solutions was “refrigerant management.” For most entrepreneurs, that’s not common knowledge, and because they don’t know enough about its impact, they aren’t asking the data for answers.
The Problem: We Don’t Have the Data
Refrigerant use is everywhere–grocery stores, data centers (one of the prime drivers), pharmaceutical labs, hotels, industrial and manufacturing plants, and so on. hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) it emits are one of the biggest contributors to climate change since it traps heat in the atmosphere.
The European Union’s regulatory bodies mandated a cap on refrigerant use years ago, and as a result, businesses are already using technologies like IoT sensors to gather and analyze data that can inform processes.
Why aren’t U.S. businesses diving into this data mine across the board? Because there’s a lack of universal equipment and standards that can help suppliers speak to each other. There’s also the typical pattern of businesses avoiding a change that will cost them upfront; they wait until the federal government or the state imposes regulations. (The EPA rules around this just came online this year, and there was an expectation that they might get reverted, which caused organizations to take a “wait and see” attitude.) Kicking this can down the road will only hurt U.S. businesses more in the long run, but bureaucratic structures and competing priorities have made it possible, thus far, to avoid logistical and technological changes.
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