Sarah Hughes, Europe, Middle East, Africa and India commercial director for Mexichem’s Fluor Business Group, discusses how to tackle the illegal trade in refrigerants.
The best way to make something appealing for the black market is to make it highly regulated. As fluorinated greenhouse gas (F-gas) regulations have restricted supply of higher global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants, we are seeing an increase in illegal imports. But how did we get here and what can the industry do about it?
The worrying scale of how the F-Gas Regulation is being undermined by illegal trade in refrigerant gases is revealed in a wide-ranging report from the Environmental Investigations Agency (EIA).
Analysis of customs data suggests that 2018 saw more than 16 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent bulk HFCs illegally placed on the market, equivalent to more than 16% of the quota. The EIA is now calling for a fully functional licencing system which allows customs officials to determine the legality of HFC shipments and improved reporting and monitoring of HFC trade with exporting countries.