The cooling industry is one of the sectors with a vital behind-the-scenes role in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It provides everything from the right temperature conditions to safely transport and store medicines, and keep patients and care givers safe and comfortable in both traditional healthcare facilities as well as emergency hospitals assembled in halls, car-parks, and other municipal spaces.
Mabe, ENGIE, Electrolux, Danfoss, Empower – all partners in the UN Environment Programme’s Cool Coalition, a global partnership formed last year to reduce the climate impact of the cooling industry – are among the companies finding themselves not just on the frontline of this health crisis but also leading examples of how industry can support a more climate resilient recovery and build back better.
“The recovery from the COVID-19 crisis must not be a step backward. It is an opportunity to build more sustainable and inclusive economies and societies,” said UNEP Chief, Energy and Climate Branch Mark Radka. “These actions by the cooling industry to reinforce resilience and strengthen recovery are very welcome, and I hope we see many more such acts of solidarity as the world emerges from the worst of the crisis.”
Mabe is protecting health workers by producing Aeroboxes – barriers that limit contact between doctors and patients during intubations – from components that would typically go into its refrigerators. The company has delivered more than 30,000 units to healthcare facilities throughout Latin America.
ENGIE’s subsidiaries are helping governments expand intensive care units and build temporary hospitals in hotels, parking lots, stadia, exhibition halls and gymnasiums. In 93 Italian hospitals, for example, ENGIE is providing free electricity, gas and technical assistance for the construction and extension of medical units. In the US, ENGIE is working at a General Motors plant in Indiana on facility upgrades needed to start manufacturing up to 200,000 life-saving ventilators.
Tabreed, a UAE-based utility company ensured cooling to Cleveland clinic in Abu Dhabi amongst a number of other medical entities. Danfoss and the Danfoss Foundation have worked closely with the health and medical sector to ensure hospitals can maintain their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and establish field hospitals. The Dubai-based district cooling firm Empower have committed to price discounts as part of a stimulus package for Dubai’s population, who have been in lockdown in a city where the temperatures regularly approach 40C.
Electrolux Food Foundation has donated tens of thousands of meals to frontline healthcare workers and those particularly vulnerable to the virus and provided 50,000 masks and other equipment to workers in the health sector. These efforts are underway in Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
While the industry is mobilizing to address COVID-19, these companies are also leading examples of the opportunities to be seized in a greener economic recovery.