Launching a global, industry leading sustainability strategy

All Things Business spoke to Julian Momen, CEO at Carlsberg, about Northamptonshire and their sustainability strategy.

Carlsberg Q&A: Julian Momen, CEO

Lots of people say you may have the best job in the world, what do you enjoy most about your role within Carlsberg?

It starts with the why… it’s a privilege to be part of a global business that still remains true to its original purpose – brewing for a better today and tomorrow. It definitely resonates with my personal mantra on right results with the right behaviours. As for most enjoyable- I get a buzz from being with my team. Listening and learning about their insights, their ideas – and what we’re doing with our brands and customers. I’m a passionate person and leading my amazing team gives me incredible energy and drives my ambitions.

Carlsberg Christmas Brew is exclusive to Northamptonshire, what was the reception at launch last year and are you bringing it back this year?

We’re really proud of our role in the local Northamptonshire community. The Christmas Brew project was a fantastic way to connect with the people of Northampton by brewing a local beer, for the local people. We were pleased to be able to donate proceeds from the brew to the local Northamptonshire Community Foundation and specifically their annual Surviving Winter Appeal. We were so impressed with the impact created from our donation to the appeal, that we decided to set up our charity of the year partnership with Northamptonshire Community Foundation. Our ‘Carlsberg UK Better Fund’ supports local health and wellbeing groups across Northamptonshire that tackle some of the most pressing societal needs in the county.

The local community and its people continue to be an important part of our business and we always look to maximise new opportunities that come our way.

We’re proud to be in longstanding association and the headline sponsor of the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards again this year - celebrating and supporting the fantastic local food and drink industry.

As an elite sponsor of the Northampton Saints rugby club for over three decades, we were delighted to extend our partnership with the club for at least another 7 years. The rebranding of the old Tetley’s stand, which we have sponsored since it was built in 2001, has been accompanied by investment into the cellars and bars to improve quality and minimise wastage.

We know that you have heavily invested in the Northampton location over the last few years, can you let us into any future plans that may be on the horizon?

We have a continuous improvement programme within our brewery, regularly investing in health and safety systems, operational machinery and the general upkeep of our fairly sizeable plant. Of course, all of the investments that we make in our brands, customers, people, training, ensure that we remain competitive and our presence in Northampton continues. There are many exciting plans that have planned for Carlsberg UK for next year, but it would be wrong for me to spoil the surprise!

You’ve embarked on a lot more speciality products in recent years, is that something you will continue to evolve?

In all honesty, it’s taken too long for us to address our brand portfolio, and create a range that offers every type of beer that our broad customer base demands. We’ve worked hard to get our brands at the forefront of our business, we’ve acquired crucial licenses, purchased key brands, integrated existing brands and identified exciting propositions of some hidden gems – Brooklyn, Backyard Brew, London Fields, Poretti, Mahou, CELIA and Tetley’s. All of which are crucial if we’re going to satisfy an ever fragmented market with many different types of customers and outlets.

What is your favourite drink from your portfolio?

We have a fabulous American pale ale made in our Swedish craft brewery called Shed Head. At 4.6%, it’s sessionable- deliciously refreshing with a perfect balance of bitterness and tropical fruit aromas. Available currently at a limited distribution- at The Lighthouse and The Old White Hart locally. I’m also in love with the rest of our portfolio, which are all stocked in my fridge at home- Carlsberg Export, Mahou, the Brooklyn range and Poretti, our fabulous super premium Italian range.

Tell us about your sustainability strategy...

We launched our global, industry leading sustainability strategy, Together Towards ZERO last year. Our aim is to eliminate carbon emissions and halve water wastage at our breweries by 2030. The strategy is therefore split into four key areas; zero water waste, zero carbon emissions, zero irresponsible drinking and zero accidents culture.

Together Towards Zero has been developed in partnership with leading global experts using a science-based approach. It is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and sets out to deliver emission reductions that go beyond the base level of ambition set out in the Paris Agreement on climate change.

ZERO carbon footprint

The Carlsberg Group has worked with Carbon Trust, the independent not-for-profit expert, to set science-based targets for emission reductions at a level that would contribute to limiting global warming to 1.5°C, the higher level of ambition contained within the Paris Agreement.

The Group is targeting ZERO carbon emissions at its breweries by 2030 and 100% use of renewable electricity at its breweries by 2022. Through the Carlsberg Circular Community, the Carlsberg Group is also engaging partners along the value chain to reduce beer-in-hand emissions by 30% by 2030.

ZERO water waste

Today, there are too many areas of the world in which water is not being managed optimally, and water scarcity is a major concern. Working with experts from WWF, Carlsberg has identified breweries situated in areas with a high-risk of water scarcity and developed targets to support the ambition of ZERO water waste.

The new targets include halving brewery water usage by 2032 and working with partners to improve water management in high-risk areas around selected breweries.

ZERO irresponsible drinking

The misuse of alcohol and irresponsible behaviour such as drink driving and underage drinking must be prevented. It is often the result of a complex combination of societal and individual factors, and Carlsberg is working with a committee of international health and behavioural scientific experts to define actions that support consumers in making healthy, responsible choices.

The new targets include offering 100% distribution of alcohol-free beer by 2022 to expand consumer choice, providing responsible drinking messaging and nutritional information online as well as on packaging, and forming partnerships to encourage responsible consumption.

ZERO accidents culture

Work-related accidents are unacceptable, and employee health and safety always comes first. Carlsberg is working across its organisation, from production to sales and admin, to prevent accidents and build a ZERO accidents culture.

The new targets include a year-on-year reduction in the accident rate in order to achieve the ambition of ZERO accidents.

The ambitions and actions are driven by the Carlsberg Group’s purpose of brewing for a better today and tomorrow, and the Group will continue to work together with leading global experts to achieve the bold targets. Building on its strong scientific foundation, the Group will establish a community of young scientists led by the Carlsberg Research Laboratory – home to ground-breaking discoveries such as the pH scale, purified yeast and climate-tolerant crops. The Carlsberg Young Scientists’ Community will help foster further scientific developments within CO2, water and sustainable brewing – to the benefit of the Group and wider society.

Snap Pack

We were proud to be able to unveil a new ground-breaking packaging innovation as part of our ongoing sustainability pledge, Together Towards Zero. The new ‘Snap Pack’ replaces traditional, bulky plastic rings with a pioneering solution that instead bonds packs of multiple cans together. A sustainable packaging solution, the new Snap Pack holds Carlsberg Expørt cans together in a multipack form with small pieces of a specially developed glue in small dots, which are easily snapped apart when required, but robust enough to stand up to handling to and from the store. Using minimal plastic and limiting waste, as well as reducing CO2 emissions and the reliance on fossil fuels, the Snap Pack aims to reduce the Carlsberg Group’s global plastic usage by more than 1,200 tonnes - from brewery to store.

Trends such as gluten-free and organic, how is the business adapting to new markets?

Innovation and consumer trends continue to be a strategic focus for the busine ss. We are constantly looking at ways to invest in these areas and be leaders in the industry.

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