Carlsberg unveils first carbon-neutral brewery

Beverage giant Carlsberg has launched its first brewery with zero-carbon emissions, as part of the Danish firm's overarching pledge to achieve carbon-neutral status by 2030.

Carlsberg’s Sverige brewery in Sweden now runs completely on biogas and green electricity.

Biogas from the brewery’s own waste water generates 26% of the brewery’s thermal energy. The remaining 74%, which has for many years been natural gas, has now been converted to biogas thanks to a partnership with energy supplier Ørsted AB.

Carlsberg sustainability director Simon Boas Hoffmeyer said: “Climate change is perhaps the most important issue for our society today, both for citizens, governments and companies all over the world, and we are very pleased with the positive development in Carlsberg Sverige.

“This underlines our willingness to contribute to tackling climate change at the same time as governments are focusing on scaling and speeding up impact at the COP23 in Bonn these weeks.”

Brewing for tomorrow

Hoffmeyer said that Carlsberg would continue to pursue its bold emissions reduction goals. Carlsberg is one of only three major companies to have set and approved a science-based target to reach a 1.5C ambition in line with the Paris Agreement.

To achieve this ambition, Carlsberg has vowed to source 100% renewable electricity and eliminate coal as a source of energy by 2022. Currently, 45% of electricity is generated onsite and from renewables.

As part of its climate strategy, Carlsberg is working alongside the Carbon Trust, whose chief executive Tom Delay expressed delight at the speed of the brewer’s transition to a low-carbon business model.

“Our work with Carlsberg has explored the range of options they will need to adopt in the coming years to evolve to a zero-carbon brewer,” said Delay. “This will include adoption of innovative energy efficiency technologies, own renewable electricity and heat, as well as sourcing of renewable energy, such as biogas.

“Seeing this first Carlsberg brewery make this transition so soon is very encouraging and should be seen as a demonstration of how industries can embrace new technologies to mitigate climate change.”

Two months on from its decision to pursue zero-carbon breweries, Carlsberg built a zero-carbon “Windmill Bar“, which harnesses wind and an exercise bicycle to reduce emissions.

Carlsberg has set a goal to reach Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) accreditation for three products. C2C is only awarded when products fit into biological and technical cycles that produce no waste streams, and the Danish brewer has achieved two certifications for Somersby and Carlsberg cans in 2015 and the Kronenbourg 1664 bottle in 2016.

Heineken’s carbon-neutral brewery 

Carlsberg has followed in the footsteps of its competitor Heineken, which unveiled the world’s first large-scale carbon-neutral brewery. Watch the behind-the-scenes video of edie content director Luke Nicholls’s trip to the brewery, high up in the Austrian mountains.

George Ogleby

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