Canadian Manufacturing

Molson Coors sets environmental sustainability targets for 2020

Goals include reducing carbon footprint, improving energy and water efficiency.



DENVER, COL. AND MONTREAL—Twenty years ago responsible alcohol use meant drinking in moderation and reminding people not to get behind the wheel of a car after indulging in a few cold ones.

While still engaging in alcohol safety initiatives, the Molson Coors Brewing Company in recent years has ramped up its efforts to bring responsibility to its manufacturing processes. Today the beer manufacturer released its 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report that outlines what it has on tap for the next eight years.

The firm’s top three goals are to:

• improve energy efficiency by 25 per cent;

• increase water efficiency by 20 per cent;

• reduce carbon use by 15 per cent.

“Our work toward achieving our 2020 targets will drive lower consumption of natural resources, both mitigating our impact and helping us to adapt to climate change,” said Bart Alexander, chief corporate responsibility officer for Molson Coors. “Fresh water and energy are key to our business, and we intend to utilize these resources efficiently and responsibly.”

The company has made progress in recent years to reduce its environmental footprint and the efforts have paid off. Now the beer manufacturer is one of the six food and beverage companies on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

“This past year, Molson Coors made considerable progress in improving what we call ‘Our Beer Print’, our impacts on our communities, people and the environment,” said Peter Swinburn, president and CEO of Molson Coors.

“Our long-term success as a business depends upon sustainable water use, efficient energy consumption and responsible sourcing.

The company says its on track to reach the goals it set out in 2008—to reduce energy and water use by 15 per cent by the end of 2012.

Achievements for 2011 included:

• A two per cent decrease in total water use versus 2010, and 15.25 million hectolitres of water will be saved
by the end of 2012 versus 2008—equivalent to the amount of water used to fill 610 Olympic swimming pools;

• A two per cent decrease in absolute electricity use versus 2010;

• A 21 per cent improvement in carbon emission efficiency versus 2008, enough to power 12,000 U.S. homes for a year.

In 2011, the company created a Water Risk Index tool to track water usage and piloted the system at three of its breweries. By the end of the year, the tool will be extended to all its manufacturing sites.

It also established Global Packaging Council and a Global Packaging Policy to oversee and share best practices in sustainable brewing and packaging technology. As a result, the firm switched to film from cardboard for Carling’s secondary packaging in the U.K., reducing packaging weight by 63 per cent and carbon emissions by four per cent. Additionally, ink coverage was restricted to less than five per cent of the overall packaging weight, making the film 100 per cent recyclable.

Molson Coors’ environmental initiatives extended to waste reduction efforts. In Canada, the company is aiming to reduce landfill waste by five per cent year-over-year. In 2011, Molson Coors Canada diverted 87 per cent—nearly 48,000 tons from landfill sites. The company says it is on target to achieve zero waste to landfill in the U.K. by the end of 2012, currently diverting 99.2 per cent. In the U.S., MillerCoors reduced waste to landfill by 55 per cent in 2011 and has set a 2015 goal to reduce waste to landfill by 50 per cent compared to 2008.

The company operates seven breweries in Canada, and sells such brands as Molson Canadian, Coors Light and Creemore. It also owns nine breweries in the U.S., three in the U.K.. nine in central Europe, and two in China.

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