From "In Conversation," Business in the Community Ireland —
Please describe your role and responsibilities and how many years you have been in the company.
I’ve been with Heineken Ireland for 13 years and my current role is as our Communications and CSR Manager. It’s a wide ranging brief including heading up our internal communications, corporate & digital communications, and of course, driving our sustainability agenda. The diversity of the role is really challenging and rewarding. Every day is different, and so it really doesn’t feel like I have been with the company for over a decade!
What was your background previously? How did you enter the CSR field?
My background is marketing and I have been lucky enough at Heineken to work across our brand portfolio and manage brands like Coors Light. I also spent some time leading our Innovation Team and managing our craft and varieties portfolio, but it was in 2011 that the opportunity came up to manage communications and our CSR Programme, and I jumped at it. Heineken N.V. had just launched its “Brewing a Better World” strategy globally and I was charged with developing and implementing it in Ireland. For me, the chance to bring together my passion for communications, strategic thinking, creativity and at the same time, having a positive impact while doing it, really excited me.
How has the sustainability/CSR programme evolved at your company?
We have seen a huge transformation in our approach to sustainability in Heineken globally and locally here. Over the last number of years we have taken some important steps to make sustainability a business imperative rather than something that sits outside our normal business operations. Today, Our “Brewing a Better World” strategy is one of our six key business priorities. Our ambition is to Brew a Better World from Barley to Bar, connecting our activities to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and COP21. Here in Ireland, we want to create shared, sustainable value for our customers, our stakeholders and our business. We currently focus on six key areas where we believe we can make the biggest difference:
* Protecting water resources
* Reducing CO? emissions
* Sourcing sustainably
* Advocating responsible consumption
* Growing with communities
* Promoting health & safety
What are the challenges you encounter in driving the sustainability agenda and how do you stay inspired?
Sustainability, by its very nature, is long-term focused. Unfortunately, there is no one ‘quick-fix’. It’s evolving all the time, with new challenges and barriers that need to be overcome. Our challenge is to constantly think of new and interesting ways to deliver our sustainability objectives and tell our story.
As a small example, this year, our Innovation Challenge, which is an internal employee competition, was all around creating cool consumer innovations to reduce carbon emissions. We had huge levels of engagement and great ideas that we will bring into our sustainability thinking.
So what motivates me is knowing that what we do can and will make a difference to the future, and it’s fantastic to work for a company which is so committed to that.
What is your biggest accomplishment or learning so far?
Last year in June on the 160th birthday of Heineken’s Lady’s Well Brewery in Cork, we brought together over 50 of our key stakeholders to share the progress we had made on our “Brewing a Better World” journey over the previous five years. This was the culmination of a lot of hard work and commitment by all of our people, across the business. We used a short video animation to highlight some of our achievements around sourcing locally, our efficient water consumption, the reduction in our CO2 emissions and the fact that we spend 10% of our Heineken media spend on responsible consumption. It was also an opportunity to recognise some of our key community partners which we support including Cork Simon, one of our long-term strategic partners. It was a great event, because not only did we look back at our achievements, we used it as an opportunity to future gaze and discuss how we can all work together to ensure that Heineken Ireland can make a real and lasting positive impact for another 160 years.
What is your motto in life?
What is for you won’t pass you by. It might sound a bit clichéd, but was one by Nana that always drummed into us, and as she lived to the ripe old age of 100, I firmly believe it!
What would a perfect day entail for you?
In work, I had one of those only last week. We have been working with Business in the Community on developing our Community Strategy and we had a great “aha” moment where months of work with our Communities Tribe came together and we now have an idea that we can shape into a long-term strategic partnership.
From a personal point of view a perfect day is spent with my hubby and our four kids on the beach in Rath, Caherdaniel, Co. Kerry.
Originally published by Business in the Community Ireland