Carlsberg has announced plans to invest up to 1bn roubles ($32m) in Russian environmental projects relating to water, agriculture and climate change at Baltika Breweries, and told BeverageDaily.com it aimed to improve its environmental baseline.
The world’s fourth largest brewer, which has a market-leading major presence in Russia via its Baltika Breweries subsidiary, will invest the sum in partnership with the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
Under the terms of an agreement signed in St.Petersburg yesterday, the Danish brewer hopes to deliver environmental benefits by reducing natural resource consumption, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as improving the agro-ecosystem and water systems.
Baltika Breweries president (also vice president of Carlsberg Group in Eastern Europe) said that the partnership was an historic example of a public-private partnership where his company invested in “supporting and sustaining the environment in which we operate”.
“The partnership shows our commitment to investing not only in the Russian economy, but also in its environment, and we do so by partnering with one of the most respected and experienced international organizations in the field of industrial environmental sustainability.”
Sheps claimed that the Carlsberg Group is the most efficient global brewer in terms of water, energy consumption and CO2 emissions within its production facilities.
Nonetheless, Carlsberg said that UNIDO would support and strengthen its environmental efforts further by developing and sharing international industry-related knowledge and technical expertise.
UNIDO had a proven track record of helping industrial organizations improve their environmental standards, the brewer added.
Asked why Carlsberg felt the need to partner UNIDO, rather than use its in house expertise, a spokesman told BeverageDaily.com: "We're taking things to the next step. Across the group we've done some really good work on energy and water consumption.
"Firstly, this is a real partnership, with the Russian government involved as well. But it's also the technical expertise that UNIDO has - this is something we've discussed to them about for a while."
Did Carlsberg also hope to achieve cost savings through environmental improvement? "I expect it could, but the main benefit is trying to improve our environmental baseline," the spokesman said.
"We have strong values as regards engaging with communities, and managing our resources better. That's what's driving it. Anything that makes us more efficient is obviously a useful byproduct of that."
‘Greening’ Russia’s economy
Sergey Korotkov, director of UNIDO’s Investment and Technology Promotion Office in the Russia, said the partnership showed how a leading brewer could help in ‘greening’ the nation’s economy.
“We will do so by reducing the environmental footprint in the direct production process, as well as along the supply chain. UNIDO will provide technical expertise and assistance to ensure that activities implemented under this partnership help reduce resource consumption,” he said.
Korotkov added that the partnership also aimed to help achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goal* of ensuring environmental sustainability, given the context of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s announcement that 2013 will be the nation's Year of the Environment.
By working with UNIDO, Baltika and the Carlsberg Group will have an opportunity to further strengthen one of their core values of engaging with society through dedicated community activities focused at improving the environment and implementing sustainable practices in agro-projects.
*In 2000, 189 nations pledged to free people from extreme poverty and multiple deprivations, an agreement consecrated in the UN's eight Millennium Development Goals.