Still in the pursuit of better

4.5% reduction in absolute CO2 emissions... 3.6% reduction in absolute water use... Our first alcohol-free beer available on draught... 65% reduction in days lost rate...

These are just a few highlights from our Sustainability Report, published today, which focuses on the calendar year 2019.

Since then, the world has changed dramatically.

Then, none of us could’ve known the scale of disruption, the loss of life and the crisis that would follow. Now, the Government briefings have slowed, pubs are pouring pints again. And on top of this, the Bank of England is forecasting the worst recession in 300 years[1].

In the midst of it all, the brewing industry came together like never before. Collaborating to support one another and the pubs and restaurants so badly affected. It’s that spirit of togetherness, innovation, and striving for better, that is vital as we go together towards zero.

Since Carlsberg Group was founded in 1847, our mission has been the pursuit of better. That was about science and pursuing the best beer in the world. Today, that remains. And the best beer in the world isn’t just about high quality and consistency, it’s about using the resources we have as efficiently as possible – minimising carbon emissions, maximising water efficiency, and always avoiding waste.

We have an ambitious plan in Together Towards ZERO, and our 2019 report updates on our progress to date, holding ourselves to account.

We don’t claim to be perfect. And we recognise there is a long way to go. But across the Carlsberg Group, we continue to strive for better.

Towards ZERO Carbon Footprint and ZERO Water Waste

We have set ourselves ambitious targets on carbon and water. We used less water and emitted less carbon in 2019. But at the same time, efficiency decreased. Our dedicated focus remains on getting the most out of our brewery, using only the minimum amount of energy and water. We’re working across every area of production with this aim.

For example, it takes a lot of energy to create the compressed air that we use across the brewery. With a comprehensive project to fix all leaks of compressed air, we saved 393 tonnes of CO2e. And by improving the efficiency of the steam cleaning in our kegging line we cut steam use by around 2.5 kg per hectolitre, saving another 330 tonnes CO2e. Together, these savings equate the carbon emissions of almost 90 households for a year![2]

The work doesn’t stop there. In Copenhagen, our team of postdoc researchers – the Young Scientists Community – are investigating methods of brewing and technologies that will enable us to reach our goals of zero carbon footprint and zero water waste.

For our own electricity use, we purchase renewable energy certificates, contributing to increased supply of renewable electricity in the grid. We support calls on the government to incentivise the transition to a renewable, sustainable energy grid in the UK.

Towards ZERO emissions from our value chain

Beyond the scope 1 emissions from our brewery, we’re focusing on where we have the greatest impact – packaging, 41% of our footprint. We continued to roll out Snap Pack – our small pack of cans without the plastic rings. And we are beginning to move our shrink wrap, vital for transporting beer from brewery to store, to recycled content. We trialled 100% recycled content in 2019, and have started rolling this out since. Moving to recycled content is key to reducing the carbon footprint of packaging, and using more recycled content creates demand which incentivises recycling.

This challenge is even greater when it comes to encouraging consumers to recycle our products and to place the same value on these materials that we do. We support plans to develop a deposit return scheme in the UK that will incentivise consumers to recycle, increasing the availability of high-quality recycled material for our containers. But this must be implemented in a way that is simple and better for consumers, utilises and improves existing collection and recycling infrastructure, and promotes the use of the most sustainable, high-value materials. Our concern is that the current plans, with separate systems in devolved nations across the UK, will not meet these basic needs.

Towards ZERO irresponsible drinking

Our brews bring people together to enjoy great experiences. We want to make sure they’re always enjoyed responsibly. In 2019, we made exciting progress in improving the availability of alcohol-free beers on the bar with our first on draught – Brooklyn Special Effects. This is important, as it places alcohol free at the front of the bar, served alongside alcoholic beers.

In line with our mission to remove the stigma associated with alcohol-free, we joined ClubSoda – the mindful drinking movement – that places a lot of emphasis on increasing awareness, visibility and availability of alcohol free drinks in the trade.

Towards ZERO Accidents Culture

We want to create a positive culture around safety. In 2019, we launched a Hazard Reporting App, which contributed to a 46% increase in hazard reporting. This is key, because every hazard reported is an accident avoided. And there were only three lost time accidents in 2019. Any accident is still too many, and we strive for zero.

Safety has long been a priority in the brewery. Now, we are expanding this approach to ensure that safety is part of everyone’s role – whether in the brewery, offices, or in the field. This will remain a focus in 2020 and beyond.

The next decade is crucial, and our ambition remains

While so much has changed since the end of 2019, our ambition hasn’t. We know that sustainability will only become even more important to our consumers, and they will select the brands that they trust and that are acting responsibly.

We also know that we have just ten years to limit the worst impacts of climate change by keeping emissions in line with those in the Paris Agreement. There is no time to waste.

To quote our Managing Director, Tomasz Blawat, “The next decade is crucial. And the work we’ve seen so far is proof that together, we can overcome the challenges ahead so that our business contributes to a better today, and tomorrow.”

Pete Statham,
Sustainability Manager at Carlsberg Group and Carlsberg Marston's Brewing Company

Peter Statham, Sustainability Manager at Carlsberg Group and UK