Molson Coors commits to more sustainable packaging by 2025

The brewer outlined its sustainability progress in an annual report, which also included the changes it's making to its portfolio.

Molson Coors is planning to drastically reduce the amount of waste its beverages produce over the next six years, setting new sustainable packaging goals as part of existing environmental efforts.

By 2025, the brewer plans to have all of its packaging be reusable, recyclable, compostable or biodegradable, as well as reduce emissions from creating packaging by 26%. It also aims to have over 30% of plastic packaging be made from recycled content, as well as participate in solutions that help increase recycling rates and reduce waste among its consumers.

The packaging plans were announced in the brewer’s annual sustainability report, which tracks its progress on a number of global goals on the environmental front.

The report cites the fact that there are several barriers leading to low recycling rates globally, and as a result, Molson Coors will be supporting community recycling solutions that will increase consumer education and municipal recycling collection, as well as reduce losses from sorting and processing materials that consumers do recycle. The company is prioritizing markets with the lowest recycling rates, heaviest regulation or highest concentration of plastic bottles, and is already exploring partnerships in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.

On top of environmental efforts, the report also looked at how the company is supporting responsible consumption and reducing “alcohol-related harm.”

Part of those goals is putting out marketing that encourages responsible consumption, as well as giving consumers more low-calorie and low- or zero-alcohol choices. For example, it cited Molson Coors’ acquisition of Clearly Kombucha last year, as well as the launch of low-calorie cocktail brand Cape Line and wine spritzer brand Movo.

Though it didn’t provide numbers, the company described last year’s launch of zero-alcohol Coors Edge in Canada as a “great success,” and plans to launch it in the U.S. market later this year. It also plans to launch a zero-alcohol version of Czech brand Staropramen in that market, part of a plan to “leverage established brand trademarks [to] invite old and new consumers to try great-tasting options that support moderate consumption.”

Other environmental progress outlined in the report include a number of water-related efforts, such as reducing the amount of water used in its brewing processes by recycling clean water and recapturing wastewater to be used as an energy source (it aimed to use a 2.8:1 ratio of hectalitres of water to produce its beer, but actually achieved a 3.52:1 ratio). In terms of waste, 17 of its 28 facilities have achieved goals of sending zero waste to landfills.

The report also outlined areas where the goals have not been met: Molson Coors has set a goal of improving water-use efficiency in its agricultural supply chain and malting operations by 10%, but has instead tracked a 26% increase in water usage this year, citing weather-related impacts.

Though the report didn’t mention specific categories – such as ready-to-drink or cannabis-infused beverages – it did indicate that Molson Coors is “especially excited about expanding our portfolio beyond beer to add more low- and no-alcohol products that support increasingly health-conscious consumers” going forward. Last year, Molson Coors partnered with licensed producer Hexo to create Truss, a joint venture to pursue cannabis-infused beverages. Earlier this year, Truss selected Rethink to be its AOR.