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Molson Coors joins Science-Based Targets with 1.5C goal and new plastics strategy

Molson Coors factory
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Molson Coors factory in Montreal, Canada.

Molson Coors has become the latest firm to join the elite group of corporates with carbon reduction targets independently judged to be in line with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The brewing giant behind beer brands such as Carling, Cobra, Blue Moon and Coors Light confirmed it has set new climate targets for 2025 to cut its greenhouse gas emissions from its direct operations in half and slash supply chain emissions by 20 percent.

The goals have been approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), which independently assesses and approves targets proposed by businesses based on input from climate scientists. The SBTi judged the targets as being in line with the more ambitious 1.5C goal set out in the Paris Agreement.

"Congratulations to Molson Coors on having their emissions reduction targets validated by the SBTi," said Cynthia Cummis, director of private sector climate mitigation at World Resources Institute, one of the initiative's partners. "By setting a target for their operations that aims for the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement — to limit global warming to 1.5C — Molson Coors are charting a path towards a sustainable and thriving future."

Molson Coors also announced a set of new goals to reduce the amount of unrecyclable plastic in its packaging.

The brewer said it is aiming for 100 percent of its packaging to be reusable, recyclable, compostable or biodegradeable by 2025, as it attempts to reduce the carbon emissions associated with its packaging by 26 percent and ensure its plastic packaging contains at least 30 percent recycled content.

In the United Kingdom, Molson Coors said it will remove plastic rings from Carling and Coors Light cans by the end of March, switching to cardboard sleeves.

Meanwhile, its Colorado Native brand is testing a new fiber-based six-pack ring for drinks cans. The rings are made from post-industrial recycled fiber and are 100 percent bio-based, recyclable and compostable in commercial composting facilities, Molson Coors said.

"As a global brewer with a strong family heritage, we have always taken seriously our responsibility to brew a more sustainable future," said Molson Coors CEO Mark Hunter. "Plastic waste poses a clear environmental challenge, and as a consumer-packaged goods company, we play an important role in helping to solve the global waste crisis."

However, some plastics campaigners are skeptical about the switch to compostable plastics, pointing out that in the United Kingdom at least commercial composting facilities are few and far between, and there is no separate collection stream for them. As such, many compostable plastics either end up in landfill or as contaminants in the traditional plastic recycling system.

Molson Coors is the latest brewing giant to address packaging concerns over its beer. Last year Danish brewing giant Carlsberg unveiled a host of plastic-fighting packaging innovations, including the Snap Pack, which replaces plastic rings in a six-pack with tiny dots of glue to allow consumers to "snap" cans apart.

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