Books & products

McDonalds’s has opened a pioneering climate-friendly restaurant after consultations with UNEP. Its new restaurant at Vejle in Denmark is the world’s first HFC-free fast-food establishment.

The project began two years ago following an international ‘refrigeration summit’ hosted by McDonald’s, UNEP and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. As a result of what it learned there, the hamburger chain decided to accelerate ways of finding sustainable refrigerant technologies.

Denmark was chosen because it had already started initiatives to phase out HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) and the restaurant was opened by its Environment Minister, Hans Christian Schmidt. It is equipped with state-of-the-art refrigeration and ventilation systems using environmentally innovative refrigerants that do not contain freon or HFCs.

János Maté of Greenpeace International said: ‘Greenpeace welcomes the bold step McDonald’s has taken in opening this first ever HFC/HCFC-free restaurant. We hope it is the first of many for the company and that it sparks more sustainable innovation from the refrigeration industry and others in the food service sector.’.

The Energy Future Coalition, a foundation supported initiative, is finalizing plans for a campaign to change United States energy policy to bring about major long-term impacts on three great challenges, and seeks to connect these with a vision of the vibrant economic opportunities that will be created by a transition to a new energy economy.

The challenges are: the political and economic security threat posed by the world’s dependence on oil; the risk to the global environment from climate change; and the lack of access of the world’s poor to the modern energy services they need for economic advancement.

The Coalition, mostly supported by Ted Turner philanthropies, has attracted an impressive array of leading figures, including senior members of the former Clinton and Bush administrations, top energy industry executives, heads of non-governmental organizations and senior trade unionists. It will attempt to use the national debate during the 2004 United States election campaign process to create the conditions for change.

Some 150 river basins – where cooperation between the countries that share them is patchy or absent – could be flashpoints for future disputes unless urgent action is taken, says a new book published for World Water Day. The Atlas of International Freshwater Agreements – compiled by UNEP, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Oregon State University – shows, however, that the sharing of resources has been more common than conflict. Available from
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the European Union’s Flower eco-label, which has now been awarded to 125 products. France, Italy and Denmark account for 80 of the awards between them, and 74 have been given to textile products and indoor paints and varnishes. Margot Wallström, the EU Environment Commissioner, says that the number of eco-labelled items sold has tripled since the year 2000.
Water and Sanitation in the World’s Cities, a report by UN-HABITAT, sets out in detail the scale of inadequate provision of these essential services. It is a comprehensive and authoritative assessment of the problems, and of how they can be addressed. Available from Earthscan,, ISBN 1-84407-004-2.
UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics has published a comprehensive package of training modules and checklists under the title Profiting from Cleaner Production. The package – which follows demand-driven design, testing, adaptation and implementation in five demonstration countries on three continents – is for use by decision-makers and practitioners in business, financial institutions and government. Available from

This issue:
Contents | Editorial K. Toepfer | World Environment Day | Water is life | The water century | Taking it at the flood | Renewing the commitment | Waterless cities | Keeping pollution at bay | People | At a glance | Changing agenda | Nor any drop to drink | Bridging troubled waters | Books & products | Getting there | Sinking fast | Waste not | Water – the poor’s priority | Atomic power

Complementary articles in other issues:
Margot Wallström: Reversing the burden of proof
(Chemicals and the environment) 2002
Issue on Water, 1996
Issue on Freshwater, 1998

AAAS Atlas of Population and Environment:
Freshwater wetlands
Mangroves and estuaries