Increased cooperation with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and work to revise the cooling sector’s key environmental ambitions over the next five years were among key focuses for AREA during 2019, the association’s latest annual report has said.
AREA said that efforts made last year to restructure its activities and how it collaborates on long-term sustainability issues was increasingly important with the unprecedented challenges and uncertainty for businesses that have resulted from the global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Marco Buoni, president of the association, said in his opening remarks to AREA’s recently published 2019 Annual Report that the unforeseen challenges posed by Covid-19 in 2020 had focused minds on the importance of cooling to large number of aspects of modern life.
He said, “Cooling is critical to fulfil the most immediate needs of European citizens in preserving food and medicines, providing thermal comfort in hospitals and homes, keeping data centres running, and much more.”
“In this context, refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump contractors, represented by AREA, play an essential role by ensuring the maintenance, repair and overall efficient functioning of refrigeration and cooling systems. They allow the cold chain to operate and the internet to function, and they support healthcare.”
Mr Buoni said that 2019 had been an “intense” year that saw the organisation restructuring its operations to face up to the challenges and opportunities posed by an expected rise in cooling demand around the world over the next decade.
He said AREA’s revised working structure was focused on four major areas concerning international developments in refrigerant us, innovation of sustainable cooling, broader technological advances and ensuring and retaining a sufficiently skilled worker base to address all of the aforementioned issues.
AREA noted that 2019 also saw it sign a Memorandum of Understanding with UNEP OzonAction during the MOP 31 conference of the signatory parties of the Montreal Protocol to build on previous work between the two organisations.
The organisation said the decision reflected a stronger focus on global cooperation in areas such as training, conferencing and sharing experiences in dealing with the move to adopt lower GWP refrigerant.
Mr Buoni said in the report, “We also recognise that this year, in 2020, a new unexpected priority has come into our lives and we acknowledge that cooling has a prominent role to play in the safeguard of humanity. Our members, alongside their members, the RAC contractors, are ready to take this active role.”