LONDON – With a goal of reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in mind, Unilever announced the launch of two trial programs that will keep ice cream freezers warmer.

One pilot program is set to begin in Germany during the month of May, and a second will start in Indonesia next year. Unilever aims to reduce energy and GHG emissions by approximately 20 to 30% per freezer. The first steps involve determining how ice cream products hold up in retail sales freezers that are warmer (about 10 degrees Fahrenheit) than the industry standard (-0.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

The company stated that it hopes by making this move, industry-wide change will follow.

After the trial programs are complete, if they are deemed successful, Unilever plans to “warm up” its last mile freezer cabinets, beginning in markets with a higher carbon footprint.

“These pilots will provide valuable information on how much energy we can save and how our ice cream products perform in warmer freezers to ensure we deliver the same great-tasting ice cream,” said Matt Close, president of ice cream for Unilever. “We’re actively seeking to collaborate with partners from across the ice cream and frozen food sectors to drive industry-wide change, so the collective positive impact is far greater.”

Per Unilever, emissions from retail ice cream freezers account for 10% of the company’s value chain GHG footprint. The company’s Climate Transition Action plan also involves exploring the potential of renewable electricity use in freezers.

Making changes in the cold chain is one portion of a larger approach from the company, which is targeting zero emissions from its operations (scope 1 and 2) by 2030, and achieving net zero emissions across its value chain by 2039.