Environmental Stewardship

At Molson Coors we have an ambition to be first choice for consumers and customers, we believe we will achieve this by doing business the right way; one way we do this is though our strategic commitment to improve Our Beer Print. Improving Our Beer Print by protecting our environment is critical to maintaining the trust of our customers and consumers and therefore our long-term sustainability as a business.



So how do we improve Our Beer Print?

  1. We first ask our consumers and community stakeholders what is important to them and focus our efforts accordingly.
  2. We evaluate the risks associated with our resource use and waste generation and take action to mitigate these risks.
  3. We set ambitious long term targets on our most material issues.
  4. We continuously work towards achieving our targets and have rigorous internal governance to ensure we stay on track.
  5. We engage our suppliers in managing risk and improving their resource intensity with the objective of minimizing the impact of our entire supply chain on the environment.
2020 Sustainability Targets

Through our materiality assessment process we identify the most important environmental issues to our business. These issues cover both availability of resources that we rely on to make our products, and the impact we have on the environment though generating waste streams and emissions. In our most recent Stakeholder Review, conducted in 2014, water was again identified as a top material issue; see full details in Stakeholder Engagement. Our top three material environmental issues:

  • Water Risk
  • Energy and Carbon
  • Packaging and Waste

Our 2020 Sustainability Strategy was developed in response to the environmental issues we have found to be most material to our business. The Strategy lays out ambitious targets for improvement and integrates how we manage energy, carbon emissions, water, waste water and solid waste.

The cornerstone of the strategy is a commitment to invest in waste water treatment that will allow us to generate clean energy from the waste water our breweries produce. The use of anaerobic digestion waste water treatment technology allows us to treat our waste water to a high quality and generate biogas that can be used to produce heat or electricity. The energy can then be used to power our breweries. This approach will mean we protect the watersheds we operate in, alleviate the impact of our operations on municipal water treatment resources, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and reduce our carbon emissions. 


  • Improve water efficiency by 15% by 2020.
  • Breweries in water stressed areas will achieve world class water use efficiency.

What is world class?

Global brewing benchmark studies indicate world class water intensity as being between 3.0 and 3.5 pints of water to make 1 pint of beer, depending on the complexity of the brewery’s product mix. We undertake bench marking of water and energy efficiency performance each year though The Beverage Industry Environmental Round Table. See Our Performance for full details.

Energy & Carbon

  • Improve energy efficiency by 25% by 2020
  • Reduce carbon intensity by 15% by 2020

Our energy efficiency and carbon intensity targets are complementary and are designed to both reduce the overall energy footprint of our operations and incentivize the use of cleaner fuels and alternative renewable energy sources. The 10% difference between the two objectives is due to the very low relative carbon intensity of our energy consumption in Canada (where electricity is largely generated by hydro power), while the largest opportunity for energy saving also lie within our Canadian operations. See Our Performance for full details.


  • Send zero waste to landfill by 2020

Currently we dispose of 16% of our solid waste streams to landfill. We are already some way along the road to meet our target; our three main UK breweries have been landfill-free since December 2012. See Our Performance for full details.


  • Reduce the weight of packaging sold by 10% by 2020 per unit of production

The target excludes our on-trade keg packaging, which are in a reusable format. See Our Performance for full details.

Our Quality, Food Safety, Environmental, Health and Safety Policy (QEHS Policy) outlines our commitment to control the risks associated with the safety of our people and communities, manage our impact on the environment and ensure our products are safe and of the highest quality. It is reviewed regularly and updated based on best practice and issues that are material to our business In 2015 our QEHS Policy was expanded in scope to encompass the broader life cycle impacts of our products and this year we have added our commitment to be first choice for customers and consumers. The policy is approved by the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Supply Chain Officer and is distributed to all facilities. The policy applies to our direct operations, is practiced by all employees and promoted with our partners, contractors, and suppliers. It is available to all employees on the company intranet portal and is displayed in key communication areas across our sites.

We have a global environmental management system that ensures we deliver the commitments laid out in our QEHS Policy and support our business to reach our 2020 sustainability goals. The EHS pillar and Our Beer Print (OBP) Pillar are part of our World Class Supply Chain continuous improvement programme. The EHS pillar covers Environmental Compliance while the Our Beer Print Pillar covers energy, water, waste management and longer term environmental sustainability risk and opportunity. The pillars and management system are modelled on global best practice and international standards explicitly ISO14001 and ISO50001. Responsibility for the policy and management system is held at the highest level by both the CEO and Chief Supply Chain Officer.

Each year we audit every brewery and large distribution centre against our Global EHS and OBP Pillar Standards using internal experts who are all qualified to ISO lead auditor status. This rigorous audit program ensures consistency of approach to environmental risk management is maintained at the highest level throughout all our operations worldwide.

We do not seek external EMS accreditation for our sites. The rationale is simple, our results tell us that external accreditation in and of itself does not drive performance improvement. Our internal audit processes are extremely rigorous, and whilst they align to ISO 14001 on a technical level, they are more prescriptive. Our results are proof, we have seen environmental incident performance improve dramatically since 2012 (50% ahead of a 10% reduction target in 2013 and 21% ahead of a 20% improvement target in 2014). Our sites remain fully compliant with their IPPC permits due to the strength of our internal environmental management system.

We take any incident that impacts on the environment very seriously and ensure they are fully investigated to prevent reoccurrence.

  • In 2016, we had one violation* of an environmental law or regulation. In March 2016, Molson Coors paid a fine for contributing to the contamination of a water culvert near our former Alton Brewery (which was closed in May 2015). Although this is an isolated incident, we take this issue seriously and regret its occurrence. We have had a long and respected history of maintaining the water course around the Alton brewery site and we remain committed to our environmental compliance program. 
  • Three incidents met our internal criteria for a severe environmental incident. Our internal definitions in our areas of operation exceed the legal reporting requirements but we believe it gives us a better classification of our issues. The result was a 57% improvement from 2015. Each of these events has been fully investigated and actions have been taken to prevent reoccurrence. We continue to invest significant resources against environmental risk improvement projects, primarily though, but not exclusively in, the area of waste water risk management.

Environmental Compliance Trends and Breakdown by Region

Molson Coors Health and Safety Trends
2014 2015 2016
Environmental Violations Number of violations of legal obligations/regulations* 0 0 1
Severe Environmental Incidents **
19 7 3

Molson Coors Health and Safety by Region in 2016
Global MC Europe
MC Canada
MC Int'l
Environmental Violations Number of violations of legal obligations/regulations* 1 1 0 0
Amount of fines/penalties related to the above
130,000 130,000 0 0
Severe Environmental Incidents **
3 3 0 0

*Violation: We use the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) definition of a violation, i.e., A violation occurs when an authorized body (e.g., governmental body, independent commercial or non-commercial regulator, etc.) determines that a law, regulation, code, etc. related to environmental or ecological issues has been breached, and the fine or penalty is over $10,000.

** Severe Environmental Incidents: An internal definition which exceeds the legal reporting requirements in our areas of operation.



For the eighth year we have had our environmental data verified by an independent third party. This year's assurance was performed against ISAE 3000, the internationally recognized standard. As part of the assurance the EMS in each region was reviewed. Corporate Citizenship provides third party assurance of our environmental data. They have reviewed our environmental data for the last eight years. This year’s assurance was performed against ISAE 3000, the internationally recognized standard. See the 2016 Assurance Statement.

Carbon Disclosure ProjectSince 2005, Molson Coors has reported to the Carbon Disclosure Project, an independent not-for-profit organization aiming to create a lasting relationship between shareholders and corporations regarding the implications for shareholder value and commercial operations presented by climate change. Its goal is to facilitate a dialogue, supported by quality information, from which a rational response to climate change will emerge. Our reports are publicly available on their website.

UN Global Compact: Molson Coors is a signatory of the UN Global Compact. Launched in July 2000, the UN Global Compact is both a policy platform and a practical framework for companies that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. As a leadership initiative endorsed by chief executives, it seeks to align business operations and strategies everywhere with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. See our Communication on Progress.

CEO Water Mandate: Molson Coors has endorsed the CEO Water Mandate. The endorsement supports Molson Coors' commitment to water stewardship and sustainability. The CEO Water Mandate was established in 2007 by a group of chief executive officers in association with the UN Global Compact and the Government of Sweden. The CEO Water Mandate is a call to action and a framework for businesses to address water sustainability in their operations and supply chain.

Carbon TrustMolson Coors (UK) is engaged with The Carbon Trust, a private company funded by the United Kingdom government. Its role is to help the UK move to a low-carbon economy by helping business and the public sector reduce carbon emissions now and capture the commercial opportunities of low carbon technologies.

Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable: Our company is an active member of the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER). BIER's mission is to bring together leading global beverage companies to define a common framework for stewardship, drive continuous improvement in industry practices and performance, and inform public policy in the areas of Water Conservation and Resource Protection, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Mitigation.

Water For PeopleMolson Coors funded a partnership with Water for People to share best practices in integrative water resource management. Water for People is developing a model for stakeholder involvement in watershed issues in the developing world. Last year a volunteer from our Water Resources team went with Water For People to Malawi to conduct a water-monitoring project. The purpose of this project was to evaluate wells that had already been constructed and determine the effectiveness of the wells, impacts to the community, availability of water and the socioeconomic improvements to citizens contributable to the well. Water For People is unique in their approach to maintain a monitoring program that continuously evaluates the use and impacts of their projects.

Sustainability ConsortiumMillerCoors joined the Sustainability Consortium to partner with Wal-Mart and other food and agricultural businesses in the goal of creating a sustainability measurement and reporting standard for products that can be used by producers and retailers.