When he founded Carlsberg in 1847, J.C. Jacobsen set a clear purpose: “In working the brewery it should be a constant purpose, regardless of immediate gain, to develop the art of making beer to the greatest possible degree of perfection so that this brewery as well as its products may ever stand out as a model and, through their example, assist in keeping beer brewing in this country [Denmark] at a high and honourable level.”
Today, being the best isn’t just about having the best-tasting beer. We face some of the biggest challenges of our generation – climate change, water scarcity and public health. We must take bold action now to secure the future of our business and the planet. Together Towards ZERO is our response – a global sustainability programme based on four pillars: ZERO carbon footprint, ZERO water waste, ZERO irresponsible drinking and ZERO accidents culture.
We have set science based targets based on the more ambitious 1.5°C level of the Paris Climate Agreement, and in respect of packaging we are targeting a 30% cut in the carbon footprint of our entire value chain – our beer-in-hand footprint – by 2030. Packaging accounts for 41% of that in the UK. So every decision we make around the sustainability of beer must begin with reducing the carbon impacts of our packaging.
Partnering Towards ZERO
A carbon reduction on this scale can only be achieved through a commitment to reduction in material usage, recycling of materials and re-use where possible. This can’t be achieved in isolation. But by working in partnerships, we are able to make faster progress and deliver change which would otherwise not be possible.
That's why 'Together' in Together Towards ZERO is such a critical word. A belief in the power of partnerships is deeply rooted in our business – stemming from our founder’s belief that bringing together bright minds is the most effective way to better our business and society.
We’re constantly trying to make everything about our beers even better. For three years we worked with partners, looking at how to get rid of plastic rings on packs of cans. The solution sounds simple: sticking them together. But the impact is massive, halving plastic use from brewery to store. Globally it could save up to 1,200 tonnes of plastic – equivalent to 60 million plastic bags!
Alongside the Snap Pack, we launched our new Greener Green ink on the bottle labels and outer packaging of our new Carlsberg Danish Pilsner. With the switch, we became the first large corporation to introduce Cradle to Cradle Certified™ ink at the Silver level on our labels. This means they’re more easily recyclable and made with renewable energy. Now we are looking at how to achieve Gold level certification.
At the Carlsberg Laboratory in Copenhagen, where the pH scale was created and the first pure yeast extracted for brewing, a team of young scientists – some of the world’s brightest postdoctoral researchers – is working on the next breakthrough in cutting water waste and carbon emissions.