Home' Brewers Guardian Digital Magazine : May 2014 Contents The original six
Carlsberg, of course, hasn't embraced Cradle to
Cradle methodology in isolation, having created its
Circular Community to partner with key suppliers,
allowing the sustainability of products to be fully
considered from the outset of their creation.
For packaging materials such as glass bottles or
aluminium cans, these are products that already are
working well in a circular economy.
Tim Neal, O-I's European environment manager,
comments, "One of the things that [Baurngart] will
be looking at is in particular our raw materials, how
they are sourced and the environmental impact
of getting the raw materials to our site to make
the glass. I don't think we're expecting anything
dramatic to come from that but I think it will very
much give an independent overview and support to
what we have been saying for a long, long time.
"It's a useful exercise to have someone independent
look and double-check on what we've been saying
for a number of years."
While it is early days with data collection on-going,
certainly there will be a look at raw materials,
energy consumption, water management, recycling
and whether there are potential partnerships with
Carlsberg to work with consumers to improve
"I think we will be looking at all of these things
and certainly there will be possibilities to work in
partnership with Carlsberg going forward to further
improve the sustainability credentials of glass."
Matthew Rowland-Jones, our Environmental Affairs
Manager for Europe, also noted the potential
for working with Carlsberg to improve recycling
rates. "There are a lot of similarities in Carlsberg's
approach to that of Rexam. We talk about consumer
engagement in getting consumers to recycle which
is a key metric or measurable for cans."
While the Cradle to Cradle certification process
has the potential to drive change, For Rexam
lightweighting of cans is an on-going research
priority: a reduction of even a micron thickness
when multiplied across millions and millions of
containers has the potential to make a sizeable
saving in the metal used. Rowland-Jones notes,
"That lightweighting piece is a constant evolution as
is the way we look at the manufacturing of inks and
coatings. That's something we look at anyway;
it's kind of a constant evolution."
In the initial grouping of packaging suppliers, there's
an obvious odd one out -- an absence of a label
"Let me put it like this," says Boas. "The next
partners are very likely to be adhesive or label
partners. Because when you do an analysis of a
product Cradle to Cradle says you have to look at
the full product."
Further on, there is a "definite possibility" of having
Cradle to Cradle certifications present on product
packaging. Boas says that Carlsberg is looking to
have at least three products certified by before
2016, which means having the third party Cradle to
Cradle Institute assess and analyse the products.
Could it be that this detailed product analysis will
lead to some packaging being preferred over others?
Could plastic kegs become the norm, shoving aside
more durable metal containers? Will returnable
bottles replace one-way equivalents? The short
answer is no. The objective is to optimise the 'up
cycle' qualities of all products and their packaging.
Boas explains, "We have different types of bottles
to cover different needs. So no, we're not making
a commitment to make all of our bottles refillable.
We're looking at it by market-to-market and then
we are optimising each of our different packaging
"And again this is the point. We are not
discriminating [against] any types of packaging
because from the Cradle to Cradle methodology
all packaging types can be optimised to become
valuable resources again. So that's our aim more
than discriminating between packaging types."
The original six
There are initially six suppliers, all active in
packaging materials and applications that are
joining with Carlsberg in their circular community:
Arkema -- glass bottle coatings
MWV -- paperboard multipacks
O-I -- glass packaging
Petainer -- Carlsberg's DraughtMaster (PET kegs)
Rexam - cans
RKW -- shrink wrap
Carlsberg's objective is to grow the number of
its supplier partnerships to 15 by 2016. It is not
restricted to suppliers; for example, it could also
involve retailers, waste management companies
and other brand owners.
Without the co-operation of our suppliers
we couldn't do it. So that's very easy," says
Boas. They know much more about their
products than we do and they also have
the possibility to change it. But of course
that's where the dynamics between a
customer and a supplier comes into play
in a positive sense.
It's important to note that Carlsberg's Circular
Community will embrace partners beyond the world
of packaging. While names can't be revealed as yet,
Boas lists that it could include other brand owners,
waste management companies and retailers.
The possibility of these groups again points to
the circular nature of this effort. Boas observes,
"So it's definitely not only suppliers that we're
looking to involve because there is a huge potential
in connecting those suppliers with these other
partners in the Circular Community."
And the consumers
All of this falls down if consumers aren't motivated
or don't want to recycle. Or, as Boas notes, they
don't understand the impact of recycling, thus
pointing up the need for further education.
Interestingly, there's already a requirement for
Carlsberg's 38 companies to have an annual
consumer-facing campaign informing about
recycling or sustainable packaging. Boas points
up its important to the circular business model.
"You're still marketing if you have a positive
message. It doesn't all have to be about football or
music. It can also be about sustainability. But it's
really about finding the right angle and not making
it preaching or boring. Our core consumer is between
18 and 35. So a lot of those people don't really think
that sustainability is the most interesting thing in
the world. This is really where we have a challenge
in making it relevant for the consumer."
Challenges, indeed. But Cradle to Cradle offers a
new way of thinking about the circular economy.
It's an effort that Carlsberg's peers should watch
The management's commitment
Watch the video
Carlsberg president & CEO Jorgen Rasmussen
discusses the launch of the Circular Community
with Jo Confino, executive editor of The Guardian
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