Carlsberg Brews Up Science-Based Zero Carbon Targets

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Carlsberg has unveiled an ambitious new sustainability programme aimed at wiping out the carbon footprint of its breweries by 2030 and putting the company in line with a 1.5C climate scenario.

Launched today, the new plan is described as “a response to increasing consumer demand for sustainable products at a time of global challenges such as climate change, water scarcity and public health issues”.

The company revealed it has worked with the Carbon Trust consultancy to gain full approval for its emissions targets through the Science-Based Targets initiative, becoming one of the first global corporations – after Tesco last month – to set goals in line with a 1.5C global warming scenario.

Under the plan, Carlsberg Group is aiming to achieve zero carbon emissions at its breweries worldwide by 2030, with each being run on 100 per cent renewable electricity and using ‘low climate impact’ cooling from 2022 at the latest.

Moreover, it is also engaging with its supply chain to reduce its ‘beer-in-hand’ emissions – the full life cycle carbon footprint of its products – by 30 per cent by 2030 against a 2015 baseline.

On water, Carlsberg said it had worked with experts from WWF to identify those breweries situated in regions with a high-risk of water scarcity and would co-operate with local partners to improve water management.

The brewer has additionally set out to cut its water usage by 25 per cent by 2022 from a 2015 baseline, rising to a 50 per cent reduction by 2030.

Cees ‘t Hart, Carlsberg Group CEO, said he wanted to set industry standards on sustainability, as climate change and water scarcity challenges require collective action.

“I’m certain that in achieving our targets we’ll create efficiency improvements, risk reduction and a more resilient business that exists in harmony with local communities and the environment,” he added. “Our clear targets and ambitions reflect the mentality of our founders to always strive for perfection and contribute to society through science.”

Further bolstering its climate commitments, Carlsberg also announced plans to establish a community of young scientists led by its existing Carlsberg Research Laboratory to help improve the resilience of crops and “foster further scientific developments within CO2, water and sustainable brewing”.

Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, praised the Danish brewer’s new climate ambitions for going “above and beyond” the levels of carbon reduction needed to stay within a 2C scenario.

“Just getting better is no longer good enough,” said Delay. “Carlsberg has taken a genuine leadership position on some of the most critical environmental issues the world currently faces, by developing an ambitious long-term business strategy that focuses on delivering a sustainable future.”