Member Spotlight: Shourya RaneFebruary 23, 2023 | BIER
Welcome to our series aimed at spotlighting the individual leaders within BIER member companies and stakeholder organizations. Learn how these practitioners and their companies are addressing pressing challenges around water, energy, agriculture, climate change, and what inspires each of them to advance environmental sustainability in the beverage sector and collectively, overall.
Briefly describe your role and responsibilities and how long you have worked with your company.
My title is Sustainability Manager, Commerce and Business Services. At HEINEKEN, our procurement is structured so that we are divided into several category teams. Every category team has a sustainability manager. My team is responsible for procuring everything to do with commerce and business services and I am responsible for the sustainability aspect of it. However, given the external commitment, I am primarily responsible for the scope 3 emissions from cooling, also known as commercial refrigeration equipment which is used for commerce. I spend 80% of my time focused on decarbonization of cooling and the remaining 20% of my time on everything else that my category involves, which is pretty broad. It includes business travel to merchandise to media houses. To sum it up, my role is about sustainability for cooling, though in theory, it is much more than cooling.
How has the company’s sustainability program evolved over the years, and what are your specific priorities for 2023?
As a 158-year-old family-owned business, it is in our DNA to take a long-term view and continuously improve our impact on the environment and society. We started a long time ago with sustainable innovations, such as the Wobo bottle. If you are unfamiliar with the Wobo bottle, it was a bottle that looked like a brick that Freddy Heineken, our previous CEO of many years ago, made. The idea was that after people drank beer out of it, it could be used as a brick to make houses. Ultimately, the idea centered around having a circular mindset way back in 1963. Building upon that and in 2010, the first Brew A Better World strategy was implemented with strong targets for 2020. At that time, we already had a target to reduce our carbon emissions in cooling by 50% in ten years. So already, back in 2010, we started with our decarbonization agenda. In 2020, we delivered more than 55% of reduction on cooling, mainly by changing the refrigerants used in our fridges. Also, in 2020, our CEO and the executive team changed completely.
Our new CEO and executive team are an ambitious and dynamic group with aspirations to raise the bar on sustainability. This team approved with the board long-term incentives connected to 3 sustainability KPIs, including carbon- a best practise I would say. Reflecting that, we announced our ‘Brew a Better World – Raise the Bar’ 2030 goals in 2021. We increased our ambition to reach Net Zero in Scope 1 & 2 by 2030 and the full value chain (Scope 1, 2, and 3) by 2040. I think that’s the ambitious part because in the value chain, going Net Zero is quite the challenge. Our near-term targets, which are approved as science-based from the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), include 21% emissions reduction in Scope 3 by 2030 vs. a 2018 baseline. It puts us on our trajectory to achieve Net Zero by 2040.
Our 2030 targets are meant to drive immediate action. We intentionally decided to focus on our own operations first – to lead by example. But now we have to deliver at speed, and at scale, in both our own operations and with our key suppliers. In 2023, our Scope 3 focus is on four key categories that make up 85% of our Scope 3 emissions – Agriculture, Packaging, Logistics, and Cooling. We will focus on areas where we have teams in place, expertise, and strong relationships with suppliers.
How do you feel being a BIER member will help you successfully address the key areas you are addressing in 2023?
As an industry, we’ve made some great progress in cooling. As per the Montreal Protocol, 197 countries decided to phase out Hydrochloroflueorocarbons (HCFCs), one of the key refrigerants used in the 90s. The cooling industry showed great initiative and accelerated its efforts in changing all the refrigerants, making great progress in driving down emissions. Yet, despite that progress, we have reached a bit of a standstill at this point. We need to make a radical shift in energy efficiency of our coolers to be able to reach out net zero commitments.
With the cooling coalition, or should I say Coolition, I’m very optimistic going into 2023. Unquestionably, we have a long list of things to do, such as aligning on supplier reporting methodologies, testing procedures, and guiding principles for circularity, but I’m confident that we’ll do it together with BIER.
We recently hosted the COOL BIER Conference – Sustainable Coolers of the Future and launched the Coolition, which is an end-to-end value chain coalition for cooling. We are not going to achieve efficiencies, or desired scale, if we, as individual companies, do it alone. We need each other. We need the beverage industry to work together with the fridge OEMs, component manufacturers and retailers.
BIER provides the perfect platform to gain this necessary scale, get the necessary efficiencies. BIER also provides a community of experts who have the opportunity to sit around the table, so to speak, and discuss at length the issues, challenges, and opportunities for innovation. It’s great to have these like-minded individuals working together as a community.
Share a recent accomplishment of your company’s sustainability initiatives/achievements you are most proud of and why.
In addition to the progress we are making in cooling, one of the highlights for me, and it’s a bit personal as well, is our new solar plant. We have a new on-site power purchase agreement (PPA) with a huge solar plant for our Sedibeng Brewery outside Johannesburg in South Africa. The project has 14,000 solar panels – it is the largest freestanding solar plant powering a brewery in South Africa, and also the largest within HEINEKEN. It’s dear to me because I worked in South Africa for the brewery’s procurement. Having lived and worked there, I’ve seen the challenges that are faced regarding the lack of power in South Africa. I remember my office was 10 minutes away by car. Sometimes when the electricity was out, it would take me 50 minutes to get to the office. Why? Because when the electricity goes out, the traffic lights go out and the traffic is super congested. It’s slow-moving – nothing moves! I have a deep understanding of the sheer amount of difficulties that exist because of electricity and power outages. And in this kind of environment, procuring renewable energy and trying to achieve Net Zero in our own operations is so hard. But rather than postponing the issues, our team really took it on themselves to solve it- which is fantastic! It not only helps the brewery reduce carbon emissions by approximately 30%, it also provides stable energy supply at a controlled price, which is quite impressive.
If you had one superpower that could be used to radically accelerate and scale sustainable best practices, which one would it be, and how would you use it?
Given that I love superheroes and I am a big fan of science fiction, Marvel, DC, and all those kinds of things, there are so many superpowers I can think of. Ironman or someone who is really a technology genius. Tomorrow’s solutions mostly lie in technology, and if I could have that genius, that superpower, that would be amazing. If I could have the power of a Lightning who can just create electricity just by herself, that would be amazing! But to be honest, none of these are foolproof solutions until we change the mind of individuals. It all boils down to changing our individual and collective mindsets. If you are familiar with the X-Men character Jean who uses something like mind control, that would be one superpower I would love to have because any kind of global transformation starts with individual transformation. And for individual transformation, you need a mindset change.
The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) is a technical coalition of leading global beverage companies working together to advance environmental sustainability within the beverage sector.
By BIER [crp]