In the most recent edition of ESM, as part of our Sustainability 2022 feature, we spoke to a number of top executives working across the global retail and consumer goods landscape about how they are seeking to set a high bar when it comes to sustainability.
Simon Boas Hoffmeyer, Senior Sustainability Director, Carlsberg Group
Like many others, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our business. The closure of the on-trade across many markets for a significant time impacted our bottom line. But we remain committed to meeting the targets set out in our Together Towards ZERO strategy.
The shift towards the off-trade during COVID, and therefore from draught beer to packaged products, might have increased our 'beer-in-hand' carbon footprint, as draught beer is the lowest carbon beer you can enjoy. But this is only temporary, as the on-trade reopens and we return to bars and restaurants.
Practically, there were challenges too. The safety of our colleagues always comes first, so where we need to physically be in places to transport or install equipment or upgrades at our sites we have had to adapt our plans.
However, we see the demand for sustainability ambitions and action growing – from our investors, customers and consumers. We expect this to become an increasingly competitive area, which will only drive action at bigger scale and greater pace than ever before.
A Key Purchase Consideration
We know that consumers want to buy from brands they can trust. And this is growing in many markets as consumers actively search for products and brands with sustainability credentials – whether that’s removing plastic, cutting carbon, using green energy, saving water or supporting good causes.
That’s why we’re partnering with organisations and transforming our brand marketing to incorporate sustainability as a key element. And earlier this year we signed the WFA’s Planet Pledge – a commitment to use our brands and marketing to act for a more sustainable future and inspire our consumers to do the same.
But we can only authentically and credibly communicate on sustainability through our brands, and make the most of this consumer demand, if we are working to improve the direct impact of our operations and that of our entire supply chain. That’s why the targets in Together Towards ZERO play such a key role, building a base of credibility for all of our work, communications and marketing.
Together Towards ZERO
We launched Together Towards ZERO in 2017 – setting clear ambitions to become a more sustainable business by setting ambitions for ZERO carbon footprint, ZERO water waste, ZERO irresponsible drinking and a ZERO accidents culture.
There are designated owners for each of these in our Executive Committee, and executive remuneration is linked to KPIs on sustainability and Together Towards ZERO. This leadership is key to ensuring that sustainability and the impact of our business is considered in the decisions made throughout the business.
We integrate responsibility for specific areas of the programme and management of sustainability topics into core business functions, and throughout the local markets. Also, a global network of Sustainability Champions across every market meet regularly to share best practice, challenges, and track progress towards our targets.
In recent years we have experienced a surge of employee engagement from across our business, with employees proposing sustainable solutions, asking tough questions and wanting to see action. This implies that the integration is working, and that people across the world are becoming more focussed on sustainable development.
Zero Water Waste
The new water recycling plant at Fredericia brewery in Demark will make it the world’s first brewery to virtually eliminate water waste. The plant is the result of a collaboration with DRIP – the Danish partnership for Resource and water efficient Industrial food Production – through which we have brought together technical experts, health and food authorities and businesses to rethink how we use and reuse water, expanding the limits of water purification and circularity.
We are on the way to reaching our 2030 target. Already, it has demonstrated that we can achieve so much more in partnership with others, by sharing best practice, ideas and solutions to tackle the challenges we all face.