Carlsberg will launch a new wood-fibre beer bottle in 2018 © Carlsberg
Carlsberg will launch a new wood-fibre beer bottle in 2018 © Carlsberg

Carlsberg pledges to cut 'beer-in-hand' carbon footprint

16 June 2017

Carlsberg Group says working closely with suppliers will be a key part in fulfilling the company’s pledge to cut their overall carbon footprint by 2030. 

Simon Boas Hoffmeyer, sustainability director of Carlsberg Group, told SM the company would collaborate with partners across their supply chain to achieve a 30% reduction in their “beer-in-hand” footprint. 

Beer-in-hand emissions refer to the full life-cycle carbon footprint of a product, taking into account value chain impacts beyond Carlsberg’s operational control, such as agricultural production, transport logistics and retail refrigeration.

“We will export new forms of packaging—which currently account for 40% of the carbon footprint of our beer—and continue to shrink emissions from transport logistics and the brewing process,” he said.

“We know we are in the beginning of this journey, but look forward to cooperating with existing and new suppliers to drive down the carbon footprint and develop solutions in partnership.”

Last year, in collaboration Kilo, a Danish industrial design studio, Carlsberg unveiled a new design for its beer bottle, made from sustainably sourced wood fibre, which will be launched in 2018.

Hoffmeyer said the bottle’s fibre would be sourced responsibly, with trees replanted at the same rate they are harvested, while bottles will degrade into environmentally non-harmful materials if discarded randomly.

The new moves are part of the Danish brewing giant’s larger sustainability programme, Together Towards Zero, launched earlier this week.

The programme's main aim is to achieve zero emissions in Carlsberg breweries by 2030.

Along with their zero emissions target, the programme aims for 100% use of renewable electricity at its breweries by 2022.

Carlsberg added that its programme would also see brewery water usage halved by 2030 against a 2015 baseline and it would work with partners to improve their water management.

Cees t’Hart, CEO of Carlsberg, said the new goals had been set in an effort to fall in line with the Paris climate agreement

“Global challenges such as climate change and water scarcity require strong collective action, and with Together Towards Zero we’re setting new industry standards for science-based and partnership-driven sustainability,” he said. 

The strategy, which t'Hart said was motivated by president Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement, would also see the closure of small coal power stations at its breweries in China, India and Poland and their replacement with renewable energy sources.

Speaking at a press conference, he said the programme would be the equivalent of taking 160,000 cars off the road.

“People in Carlsberg are more energised after Trump said no to the Paris agreement,” he said.

“We feel we can take responsibility in our own hands and don’t need to depend on politicians for this. 

“You could argue it’s a drop in the ocean, but if everybody says that we won’t make any progress.”

In a bid to combat irresponsible drinking, the CEO also pledged to expand the company’s distribution of alcohol-free beer to increase consumer choice.

T’Hart said this was partly aimed at the millennial generation, who drink less than older people.

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