2012 was a year when the Carlsberg Group continued to build on the strong progress made in 2011, so that it has now already reached or nearly reached most of its ambitious three-year environmental targets set for the end of 2013. During 2012, Carlsberg’s energy consumption decreased to 29.1 kW/hl and its water consumption was maintained at 3.3 hl water per hl beer produced. Thirteen of the group’s breweries now capture biogas from wastewater treatment operations and 60 out of 76 sites are ISO 14001-certified. Carlsberg has ring-fenced Eur25 million for investment in Russian environmental projects. The global brewer has also agreed a new strategy for sustainable packaging.
The Carlsberg Group employs more than 41,000 people and its products are sold in more than 150 markets. In 2012, the Carlsberg Group sold 120 million hectolitres of beer, which is about 36 billion bottles of beer.
Commenting on the 2012 performance, Morten Nielsen, Carlsberg’s Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, says: “Brewing requires a healthy environment. Most of our raw materials are ingredients which are sourced directly from nature, and we work targetedly to limit the environmental impact of our activities. We search for opportunities at every point in our value chain, be it ongoing research and development into our raw materials, ever-improving efficiency opportunities at our production sites, or more environmentally friendly ways of storing and transporting our products.”
Carlsberg’s operations in Asia are a good example of how Carlsberg is working hard to reduce its energy consumption. At a time when the company is taking over control of more and more Asian breweries, whose equipment tends to be old and require a lot of energy, Carlsberg is taking the necessary steps to reverse their environmental impact. At the Dali Brewery in China, the purchase of a new boiler, together with the collection of biogas from the wastewater treatment plant, helped reduce energy consumption by 28.5% in 2012. Carlsberg’s Gorkha Brewery in Nepal reduced its energy usage by 18.5% thanks to a series of initiatives, including the installation of one more boiler operating on rice husks, so that now 98% of its primary energy supply comes from renewable resources.
Morten Nielsen continues: “Another important milestone for the Carlsberg Group in 2012 was our decision to focus on making our packaging more sustainable. We have assessed that about 45% of our group’s CO2 emissions can be attributed to packaging and we’re exploring a range of solutions to ensure that we reduce this impact. As an important first step, we have introduced a Life Cycle Analysis tool and trained our people appropriately so that we can both measure and understand the environmental impact of our packaging and make fact-based decisions. We’re considering all aspects of the packaging chain, from cradle to cradle, and rethinking the way that the group and its suppliers approach packaging, based around four core principles – reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink.”
Carlsberg’s responsibility and impact go well beyond the brewery gates. It is only by engaging and working alongside its various partners that the group can make a significant CSR improvement and increase its positive impact throughout the value chain.
2012 was the third year in which Carlsberg’s Polish business co-operated with major retailers in setting up a waste collection scheme, encouraging consumers to bring back household packaging waste, such as cans, glass and plastic bottles, and in return they received plant seedlings. The results are impressive. In collaboration with 20 Tesco hypermarkets and 30 Biedronka discount stores across 20 cites inPoland, 242 tonnes of waste packaging have been collected during May and June over the past three years. Not only has the project increased the collection of bottles and cans by raising awareness, but it has improved waste segregation, recycling and the promotion of returnable bottles.
In 2012, Carlsberg and its Russian business, Baltika Breweries, signed a five-year agreement to invest Eur25 million, in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), to co-operate closely and jointly develop projects in the Russian Federation which will have more environmentally sustainable outcomes. This public-private partnership is the first of its kind in Russia and represents a new way of thinking about environmental sustainability.
Morten Nielsen concludes: “We’re satisfied with what has already been achieved but recognise there is more to do. At the end of 2013, we’ll be setting ourselves new three-year targets for further reducing energy and water consumption and CO2 emissions. We’ll also be setting ourselves demanding targets in terms of what can be achieved as our sustainable packaging programme gains momentum.”