Carlsberg cuts carbon emissions 16% in two years

Carlsberg has reduced its carbon emissions by 16% in two years, driven by the elimination of coal as a fuel source at nine breweries in China, as outlined in the company's latest sustainability report.

Carlsberg has today (12 February) released its first sustainability report since the launch of its Together Towards Zero strategy, which targets zero water waste and science-based targets aligned to the 1.5C aims of the Paris Agreement as key goals.

The report notes a 16% reduction in carbon emissions and a 6% reduction in water use since 2015. For emissions, nine breweries in China stopped using coal as fuel, which is aligned to an overall aim to eliminate the use of coal at all Carlsberg breweries by 2022.

In fact, the latest report outlines the conversion of Carlsberg’s Sverige brewery in Falkenberg, which runs completely off of biogas and renewables, making it the company’s first carbon-neutral brewery.

Carlsberg’s chief executive Cees ‘t Hart said: “2017 was an important year for the Carlsberg Group with the launch of our new sustainability programme and our most ambitious targets to date.

“I’m personally very proud of the steps we’re taking to address some of the challenges related to climate change and water scarcity. And in the process, we’re increasing our efficiency and building resilience in our supply chain.”

As well as reducing emissions by 16% in two years, Carlsberg now sources 46% of its electricity needs from renewables. The Group is engaging with suppliers to transition to low-climate-impact cooling and is also reaching out to consumers through its “most climate-friendly bar in the world”.

The 6% reduction in water use also led to an industry-leading average water efficiency of 3.1 hectolitres (hl) per hl of production. For breweries located in the high-risk areas, predominantly Asia, Carlsberg is aiming to reduce water consumption below 2 hl/hl, well below the global best practice average of 3.4hl/hl.

By 2022, Carlsberg aims to reduce water consumption by 25% in breweries, with the more ambitious targets placed on high-risk sites. Since 2010, Carlsberg has achieved a 9% reduction in relative water consumption at breweries.

Together Towards Zero

Other key pillars of the Together Towards Zero strategy include “zero irresponsible drinking” and a “zero accidents culture”.

Earlier this year, Carlsberg announced plans to accelerate its sustainability strategy through the Young Scientists Community. The initiative aims to gather young postdocs to work with existing scientists, universities and Carlsberg’s research lab to develop innovative solutions aimed at combatting pressing global and societal challenges.

Carlsberg is one of the three corporates – along with BT and Tesco – that has set verified science-based targets that are aligned to the 1.5C aim of the Paris Agreement. The Carbon Trust, which helped Carlsberg set its targets, has called on others to raise ambitions.

Matt Mace

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