Aneta Slancheva, Legal and Compliance Manager at Carlsberg Bulgaria, on the secrets of brewing for a better future and the importance of being sustainable
Drinking beer is a pleasure, but brewing it can be a challenge, especially when you have a mission. Carlsberg Bulgaria (www.carlsbergbulgaria.bg), part of Carlsberg Group, takes beer to the next level, not only for the success of its outstanding brands but also for their added value. Aneta Slancheva, Legal and Compliance Manager at the company, talks about ethics, sustainability, and social responsibility as part of the pursuit of perfection.
Good beer owes its taste to well-mixed ingredients, balanced proportions, and modern production technologies. Successful management also combines qualities, skills, and good practices. What are these in the brewing industry?
Brewing is magic, known to manhood since ancient times. Beer is one of the oldest drinks in history, however, there are always new things to be discovered – new tastes, technologies, products. Curiosity and the pursuit of perfection lead Carlsberg Bulgaria forward and define us as a leader on the market. As part of the big family of Carlsberg Group, we are a global company with a long tradition, but we also have a strong local presence thanks to our leading national brands Pirinsko and Shumensko. We are proud to be part of the history of brewing in Bulgaria. We are still brewing according to the highest national and international standards, using carefully selected ingredients and unique recipes, which preserve the taste and quality of our products. Good beer comes as a result of perfectly balanced ingredients and the craftsmanship of our brewers. It needs time as well – to mature and acquire its perfect taste. It’s the same with business. To see the result of your work, you need perseverance, patience, devotion, and constant pursuit of excellence. As the saying goes – life is a long-distance run, and winners are not the fastest, but the toughest. Every new day is a chance for us to be better. We believe that sustainable business is made with integrity, trust, and inspiration. The best beer is produced today with the thought of tomorrow.
In 2016 Carlsberg Group announced its appointment for sustainable development in four priority fields. What specific goals did you set in Bulgaria and at which stage of their fulfillment are you in 2022?
"Together Towards Zero" is the long-term vision of Carlsberg Group for a better tomorrow in a time of serious challenges such as climate change, water shortage, and public health risks. Our strategy includes four ambitions: zero carbon footprint, zero water waste, zero irresponsible drinking, and zero accidents culture. Each one consists of measurable targets, which must be met by 2022 and 2030. We believe sustainable future is a shared responsibility, and together with partners and suppliers, we take steps to limit our ecological footprint. Water is the key resource for our production. Modernisation and innovations in the last 15 years helped us reduce the average water consumption per litre produced beer from 15 to 2-3 litres. We use bio anaerobic installation to filtrate wastewater – one already operates in the brewery in Blagoevgrad and we are building another one in Shumen. We plan a series of regional events for the 140th anniversary of Shumensko, and initiatives in Blagoevgrad, where we are a leader in beer production. We strictly control the carbon footprint of our activity and we take various actions to reduce it: we have introduced hybrid cars in the company’s car park, solar panels in the breweries, energy-saving refrigerators, etc. Another important topic is the reduced weight of packages. Today the two-litre PET bottles weigh at least 25% less compared to the ones that entered the market in 1970. That’s the moment to say that every consumer can contribute to environmental protection by throwing separately glass beer bottles or by returning them in stores for reuse – they can be reused up to 50 times in the production process. Last year we had a joint campaign with the leading food trading chain Kaufland – "Together for nature" and we collected approximately 300,000 reusable glass bottles, thus saving 90,000 kg carbon emissions.
Nearly 500 people work at Carlsberg Bulgaria. How do you motivate your employees and how do you develop their potential?
Employees are our most valuable asset. They are the face of the company and the people who stand behind your favourite beer brands. This is why a strong and motivated team is a key priority to us. We welcome all new employees with a special introduction programme, which aims to show them the company’s culture, our history, manner of work, values, and ethics. We want everyone to feel at the right place and experience the positive air of the company. In Carlsberg we appreciate personal opinion, so we encourage internal dialogue, open culture, and tolerance at the workplace. We have active Employer Branding, Diversity and Inclusion, Health and Safety, and Business Ethics programmes. We also offer volunteering initiatives, career growth opportunities, trainings, and online learning resources. Employees can benefit from the option to try different roles and departments – not only in Bulgaria but within the whole Carlsberg Group, which operates in more than 150 markets worldwide. With our clear and strong commitment to be socially responsible, to encourage diversity of personalities, opinions, and positions, to ensure a transparent and integral environment and uncompromisingly safe working conditions, we attract employees from various generations and we have established ourselves as a reliable and honest employer, who takes care of its people.