Carlsberg slashes emissions by 30% as its closes in on zero-emission breweries

Global brewer Carlsberg has slashed carbon emissions across its group by 13% over a 12-month period, and 30% since 2015, as it pushes towards its corporate strategy to achieve zero emissions at breweries.

Carlsberg used 100% renewable energy to power its 29 breweries in Western Europe for the first time in 2018

Carlsberg used 100% renewable energy to power its 29 breweries in Western Europe for the first time in 2018

Carlsberg’s latest report outlines progress towards its Together Towards Zero strategy, which targets zero water waste and includes science-based targets aligned to the 1.5C aims of the Paris Agreement as key goals.

Through the strategy, Carlsberg is aiming for zero carbon emissions at breweries and a 30% reduction in beer-in-hand emissions by 2030. The carbon pillar of the strategy also includes 2022 targets to eliminate all coal use at breweries, reduce brewery emissions by 50% and beer-in-hand emissions by 15%.

The latest progress report reveals a 30% reduction in relative carbon emissions at breweries since 2015, while 56% of the electricity used by Carlsberg breweries is sourced from renewables.

Carlsberg’s chief executive Cees 't Hart said: “I’m proud of what we’ve achieved since launching Together Towards ZERO. By working with leading global experts and strong local partners, we’ve reduced relative carbon emissions by 30% and water usage by 12% since 2015. Collaboration will become even more important as we approach our 2030 ambitions.

“Nobody can solve the sustainability challenges the world faces alone. That’s why we called our programme ‘Together’ Towards ZERO. By working in partnerships, we’re able to make faster progress and deliver change that would otherwise not be possible.”

In 2018, the company retrofitted its Sverige brewery in Falkenberg to run completely off of biogas and renewables, making it the company’s first carbon-neutral brewery. The latest report reveals there is now a total of five carbon-neutral sites running on renewable energy alone.

Carlsberg used 100% renewable energy to power its 29 breweries in Western Europe for the first time in 2018, with power sourced from a mixture of onsite solar arrays and through power purchase agreements (PPAs). 

The company has also announced the purchase of 20 fully electric 26-tonne trucks will be delivered to Carlsberg’s Swiss company, Feldschlösschen, later this year. The trucks will operate from 15 logistic sites serving breweries.

As mentioned, the Group also delivered a 12% reduction in relative water consumption since 2015.

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.

Packaging innovations

Carlsberg continues to be at the forefront of sustainable packaging designs. These include Cradle to Cradle Certified silver inks on bottle labels, shrink wrap containing at least 50% recycled plastic and the ‘Snap Pack’ concept – where traditional plastic multi-pack packaging is replaced with a recyclable glue that sticks the cans together.

The brewer has also redesigned its range of 500ml glass bottles so they weigh 10% less – a move which has helped to decarbonise both the manufacturing and transportation processes.

More recently, Carlsberg has unveiled prototypes of the world's first beer bottles made from recyclable and bio-based materials, with the company's sustainability director claiming that the innovation could have "endless impact" if upscaled collaboratively by corporates including Coca-Cola and L'Oreal. Read the full interview here.

Matt Mace



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