Carlsberg Group has unveiled its largest pilot to date, an innovative fibre bottle which is lined with natural raw materials.
The trial will see 8,000 fully recyclable bottles rolled out across Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, the UK, Poland, Germany and France to stakeholders at select festivals and events, and product sampling will also be offered.
The fibre bottles contain plant-based polyethylene furanoate (PEF)lining, developed by Carlsberg’s partner Avantium, a leading expert in renewable chemistry. PEF is sustainable, made entirely from natural raw materials, compatible with plastic recycling systems and biodegrades even if it is not recycled correctly.
PEF creates a highly effective barrier between the beer and the fibre outer shell, to preserve the taste and retain fizziness more effectively than conventional fossil-fuel-based PET plastic. The bottle’s outer shell, which is bio-based and made from sustainably sourced wood fibre, is produced by packaging company Paboco and boasts insulative properties to keep beer colder for longer, compared to its counterparts.
The beer itself is brewed with organic and regenerative barley, in collaboration with barley malt supplier Soufflet, using methods that protect and improve farmland biodiversity and increase natural carbon sequestration.
The Denmark-based company hopes the 100 per cent bio-based beer bottle (excluding the recyclable cap) will become a commercial reality if successful at the pilot stage, following stakeholder feedback. It has conducted a lifecycle assessment (LCA) which highlights the fibre bottle is creating fewer emissions than current single-use glass bottles.
Stephane Munch, VP Group Development at Carlsberg, said: “We are delighted to bring our new fibre bottle into the hands of consumers, allowing them to experience it for themselves. This pilot will serve a greater purpose in testing the production, performance and recycling of this product at scale.
“Identifying and producing PEF, as a competent functional barrier for beer, has been one of our greatest challenges - so getting good test results, collaborating with suppliers and seeing the bottles being filled on the line is a great achievement!”
The trial follows on the heels of Carlsberg’s ambitious ESG programme ‘Together Towards Zero and Beyond’ which will build on its existing sustainability performance to set new ambitions within sustainable agriculture and sustainable packaging, to reduce its carbon footprint across the full value chain.
Simon Boas Hoffmeyer, Group Sustainability Director at Carlsberg, said: “The progress made with our new fibre bottle is a testament to Carlsberg’s pioneering spirit, with a focus on making better products in every sense of the word. We’ve been working hard on this project since 2015 and aim to continue to set the industry standard by further improving the bottle’s environmental footprint and product performance. Collaboration is key and, together with our partners, we’re excited to see how research and development into sustainable packaging solutions is now becoming the norm.”
Ricardo Pengel, Principal Consultant at Acre’s Amsterdam office, said: “The demand for innovation when it comes to sustainable packaging is in my opinion at an all-time high. The good thing is that consumers, policymakers and industry leaders are urgently pushing to create more sustainable packaging.
“The EU strategy focuses on achieving 100 per cent recyclability, reusability or compostability of packaging materials by 2030. Additionally, we really need to put a stop to plastic packaging ending up in nature through, for example, improving reuse and recycling methods. Additionally, reducing the carbon footprint of packaging is essential.
“These goals can be achieved through a shift from a linear to a circular economy of plastics and it is great to see that companies like Carlsberg alongside their partners have been putting a lot of effort and resources into developing more sustainable packaging, with this innovative fibre bottle as a result. This is definitely something I will be keeping a close eye on over the coming period.”
Ricardo Pengel is a Principal Consultant within Acre Benelux's Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability team.
Ricardo has recruited across various sectors for national, regional and international organizations. Prior to joining Acre, Ricardo worked for a renowned global executive search firm where he was part of the firm’s Procurement, Supply Chain & Operations Centre of Excellence and was responsible for retained searches across the Benelux region. Prior to this, he worked for a reputable global recruitment firm for five years where he was part of the firm’s Procurement & Supply Chain practice where he led a team focusing on senior management searches.