Sustainable cold chain critical for Asia Pacific food security

Sunday, 2 April 2023
    • New report by Danfoss identifies the region’s varied policies addressing cold chain sustainability  
    • Asia Pacific's cold chain market is expected to grow by 11% by 2025 but disparities in the development of sustainable cold chain systems puts the region’s food security at risk 

    A new report developed with Danfoss discusses Asia Pacific’s cold chain landscape and reveals viable solutions that can benefit commerce, communities and the climate. It also reveals the cold chain's growth and its environmental impact in Asia Pacific, highlighting the disparities in the development of sustainable cold chain systems which put the region’s food security at risk.  

    The Asia-Pacific region, with its diverse climate and rising population, is poised for an 11% growth in the cold chain market by 2025. However, uneven development, varying climate conditions, and inadequate infrastructure pose challenges.  

    The region is in various stages of adopting technologies and strategies to facilitate decarbonization. Efforts include phasing down hydrofluorocarbon gases (HFCs), incentivizing green technologies, and mandating climate-friendly standards for refrigeration. The emergence of national legislation and policies in the Asia-Pacific region signals a growing commitment to fostering and incentivizing sustainable practices in the cooling industry. 

Jan Schoemaker, Regional President of Danfoss Asia Pacific says: “It’s very clear that we need to take action – and responsibility - on cooling, particularly to secure a sustainable cold chain in the Asia Pacific region. Combining high energy efficiency in cooling with the transition to more environmentally friendly refrigerants is an effective way to reduce emissions and cost.” 

On a global scale, the cold chain industry, valued at over US$270 billion in 2023, is facing the pressing challenge of sustainability. Often overlooked, the energy-intensive refrigeration process contributes significantly to global electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. As the world grapples with a 60% increase in food demand by 2050 and strives to limit global temperature rises, sustainable cold chain ecosystems are essential.  

Governments across the region are adopting varied policies to address cold chain sustainability. These include the Philippines’ Cold Chain Roadmap, which aims to increase current cold storage capacity by 10 percent to 15 percent annually, and Cambodia’s national cooling action plan which has targets for reducing cooling demand and improving energy efficiency food cold chain, healthcare cold chain, amongst other cooling processes.  

The report, “Asia Pacific’s Sustainable Cold Chain Insights,” reveals the current landscape, structural challenges, and available technologies, and it serves as a compass for industry players, policymakers, and stakeholders. It not only aims to highlight the issues, but to catalyze meaningful change in the way we approach cold chain sustainability. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • The varied progress in sustainable cold chain infrastructure development across regions underscores the necessity for targeted interventions. Valued at over US$233 billion in 2022, the global cold chain industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18.6%, reaching an estimated value of US$428.4 billion by 2028.  
  • The cold chain industry is responsible for approximately 17% of global electricity consumption and 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Energy consumption and emissions are expected to rise with the increasing demand for food. Prioritizing sustainable cold chain solutions becomes essential to break the link between escalating cooling demand and its adverse climate change repercussions. 
  • Approximately 14% of food produced for human consumption is lost each year, contributing to significant environmental impact. Proper cold chain systems can mitigate food loss. Vulnerability to food loss in warmer climates accentuates the urgency for solutions, while the elevated costs of natural refrigerants pose challenges to widespread adoption. 
  • Asia Pacific's cold chain market is expected to grow by 11% by 2025. However, there are disparities in the development of sustainable cold chain systems across the region. Challenges include infrastructure, climate conditions, and economic factors. 

Download the full report: New Report: Asia Pacific's Sustainable Cold Chain Insights​ 


For further information please contact: 

Kelly Tan 

Marketing Communications Specialist, Danfoss (Southeast Asia) 


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