Interview with Jacob Aarup-Andersen, CEO, Carlsberg Group

Interview with Jacob Aarup-Andersen, CEO, Carlsberg Group


You only started your exciting role in September 2023, how have you found your first few months in charge and what are your strategic priorities for Carlsberg Group for 2024? What are some of the key development opportunities, growth areas, and expectations for the medium-term?

Between COVID-19, the terrible war in Ukraine and inflation, it is fair to say the past few years have been extraordinary and challenging. Carlsberg has a strong foundation and a healthy financial position, meaning we are well positioned to invest in our brands and markets to capture attractive long-term growth opportunities.

From a geographic standpoint, we especially see great potential in Vietnam, China, and India and will capture growth there in the coming years. For our brand portfolio we will continue to invest in our brands like Carlsberg, Tuborg and 1664 Blanc to increase our position in the premium segment.


As a cornerstone of Danish heritage for almost 200 years, Carlsberg stands as an iconic institution. How does the Carlsberg brand and its unique value proposition contribute to shaping Denmark’s global image?

The great heritage within Carlsberg is, without a doubt, a part of everything we do. We are “always burning”, as our founder phrased it, striving to do better every day. Carlsberg is built on quality, craftsmanship, and innovation, which goes together with Danish values and what has characterized many Danish businesses. Carlsberg’s global presence helps showcase Denmark’s strong cultural and industrial heritage, reinforcing its image as a country of high-quality products, fusing tradition and a modern approach.


Carlsberg is a true global enterprise, with a presence across the EU, Asia, and more than 150 markets. What are the primary competitive advantages fueling the success of Carlsberg brands in these diverse regions? Could you elaborate on the markets showing significant promise and the product segments capturing attention?

Carlsberg benefits from having a portfolio of both strong local brands and international brands. There is great potential in growing our international brands such as Carlsberg, Tuborg and 1664 Blanc, not least in Asia. We also see huge potential in our product range within alcohol-free beer. This aligns with our strategy that 35% of our brews globally will be low-alcohol or alcohol-free by 2030. The alcohol-free beers have grown fast, and we are proud of our leading position in several markets.

We have a strong market position, very attractive brand portfolios and a very healthy financial position. We are confident that we can drive growth in line with our overall strategy and continue to drive sustainable and profitable results.


Carlsberg plays a pivotal role in promoting the Danish brand and beverage industry. Could you provide insights into the competitive advantages of conducting business in Denmark as a multinational? How does Carlsberg collaborate with the government to stimulate talent development, empower SMEs, and leverage policy incentives for further investment?

The Danish economy is relatively small, but open and focused on international trade. We have a number of strongholds, including within food, where Danish companies are among the best in the world. Several Danish companies have a long heritage and have been operating internationally for decades, this global presence has had a positive effect on Danish businesses and the economy in general. An important factor behind this success has been the support and collaboration between businesses and government.


Engaged in the World Economic Forum’s CEO Climate Leaders Alliance, how is Carlsberg pursuing a low-carbon future across the beverage value chain? What are some of the innovative green solutions being implemented to reduce emissions and what can other companies learn from this?

The need for action to tackle the climate crisis has never been greater and we are focusing on our ambition to reach a zero-carbon footprint.

Carlsberg was the first brewer – and one of the first three companies in the world – to have emissions targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in line with limiting average global warming to 1.5°C. We have already cut emissions from our breweries by 57% with 2015 as baseline, and we will continue to pioneer low-carbon brewing techniques and technologies to achieve zero brewery emissions by 2030. We are going further by targeting a net zero value chain by 2040.

Innovation, collaboration, and advocacy will underpin our progress – including encouraging key suppliers to follow our lead by committing to science-based targets. We are working closely with partners to explore ways to reduce emissions from producing our ingredients and packaging, and from transporting and chilling our beer.

As we continue on the group’s journey of Together Towards ZERO and Beyond (TTZAB), we will be making new investments towards the ambitious targets and commitments that we have set out in our ESG program.


Advocating for responsible consumption and engaging in global CSR initiatives, how does Carlsberg actively contribute to health and well-being around the world, especially focusing on youth empowerment and socio-economic stimuli?

As a global business with well-known brands, we are fully aware of the influence we have on consumers and the impact on people’s lives where we operate. We give back through corporate and brand-led initiatives that create positive impact and mutual benefits for Carlsberg and for wider society. Some of our community projects support our global focus areas on our journey TTZAB. Others are driven by community needs or sustainable development issues that are important to local stakeholders. Beer is a local business, and we create a large number of jobs throughout the value chain that positively impacts local economies.

The Carlsberg Foundation is our principal shareholder and a major benefactor of Danish society. The Carlsberg Foundation donated 832 million Danish Krone [$123 million] to scientific research, the arts and civil society in 2022. This unique structure means that the more successful our business, the bigger the difference the foundation can make to society and communities with the dividends from Carlsberg Group.


Research and Development (R&D) at Carlsberg are paramount. Can you provide a glimpse into the intriguing projects undertaken by the Carlsberg team, including those under the Young Scientists Initiative? What are some specific areas of progress such as purifying yeast, pH scale exploration, barley genome sequencing, and advancements in brewing science?

The Carlsberg Research Laboratory is truly amazing. This is where all the magic happens. Today, the laboratory is world-leading for its brewing-oriented research. From breeding the crops to the end product, we have it all under one roof with the independence to never be afraid to head into the unknown.

It is our business to perfect the art of brewing, it is our fundamental duty to inspire the advancement of society at large. From the invention of the pH scale to breeding new climate-tolerant plant types, our science is not just brewed into better beer, it is brewed into a better world, because Carlsberg is brewing for a better today and tomorrow.

For example, we are engaged in long-term research projects to produce varieties of grains that can tolerate the changing climate. The challenges to improve crop yields, quality and resilience are being addressed by state-of-the-art research tools developed by us and our partners. The Carlsberg Research Laboratory has developed a screening tool that can fast-track screening of thousands of individual plant lines to find a genetic variant that is likely to better tolerate heat or drought. This enables more targeted research and development to speed up the emergence of new crop varieties for the future – without the use of genetic modification – that will be able to sustain yields in a changing climate.



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