Danish brewery group Carlsberg has surpassed pre-pandemic sales levels and can now aim at a next target: becoming carbon neutral.
Beers instead of cars
The world’s third largest brewing group has had a strong first half of 2022. Despite the challenges (the Danish brewer is heavily exposed to Ukraine and Russia), Carlsberg has far surpassed the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. Moreover, the company says it is not experiencing any impact of increased inflation on its results.
Sales went up 23.6 % to 35.4 billion Danish kroner (4.8 billion euros), strongly helped by positive exchange rate effects. The volume of beer sold rose by 8.9 %, with Western Europe selling for 10.2 % more beer and Asia 13.2 % more. “When people spend less on holidays, cars or a new fridge, they want to at least drink a premium beer at the end of the day,” CEO Cees ‘t Hart told Dutch newspaper FD.
Carlsberg did have to write off some 10.4 million kroner (1.5 million euro) in Russia and Ukraine due to the war, which contributed to the net profit ending just below zero. The recovery in the hospitality sector and the strong performance in Asia caused a strong growth in operating profit (+ 35.9 %), but that was partly offset by higher costs for raw material prices and energy.
New sustainability programme
Carlsberg is also launching a new sustainability programme called ‘Together Towards ZERO and Beyond’, with which the beer producer is now aiming for a net carbon emission of zero by 2040. With the previous programme, the Danish group has already reduced carbon emissions by 40 % and water use per hectolitre of beer by 21 % since 2015.
CEO ‘t Hart concludes that “We want to enable consumers to enjoy great beer while leaving the smallest carbon footprint possible. To do this, we leave nothing untouched, from the grain and water we use to brew, to the recycling of empty bottles and cans once you have enjoyed your beer. This is the right thing to do, for our business and for society.”