Stakeholder Spotlight: Yu-Ting (Eileen) LoMarch 23, 2023 | BIER
Company: Antea Group
Connect with Eileen on LinkedIn
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.
I’m a senior project manager on the corporate reporting and disclosure team with Antea Group USA. Primarily, I support sustainable reporting projects, which include helping clients write their annual ESG reports, develop their reporting strategy, and support third-party sustainability questionnaire responses. I also support the BIER Benchmarking Study workstream. I contributed to the 2021 Water and Energy Use Benchmarking Study, and I’m working on the 2023 Benchmarking study now.
How has the benchmarking evolved over the years, and what are your specific priorities for 2023?
Originally the BIER benchmarking report focused only on water and energy performance. Over time and because of increasing importance and discussions regarding climate change, the BIER members expressed an interest in including scope 1 and 2 emissions in the benchmark report. Within the 2021 study, we looked at water, energy, and emissions metrics for global beverage facilities. We classified those facilities by their facility types, for instance, bottling facilities, wineries, distilleries, and breweries. In doing so, we provided the participating members with a global view of what the overall beverage industry performance looks like while also helping them to understand the sustainability performance of each facility type.
From my perspective, I think members are increasingly interested in what the best practices are for those top-performing facilities. In 2022, we took a further step from the 2021 benchmarking study and conducted a best-in-class analysis. In doing so, we took a deeper dive into those members with top-performing facilities and then tried to understand what are some of the technologies, tactics, or programs that they have in place that support them in improving and achieving higher performance among their peers.
For the upcoming benchmark report, we are in the final stages of defining what will be the key objectives of this benchmarking study. I think there are opportunities to collect additional qualitative information regarding how efficiency is being tracked and monitored and what strategies support members’ efficiency goals and sustainability programs.
How do you feel the benchmarking reports serve the BIER members, as well as, the beverage sector as a whole? Specific to the 2023 results, how do you feel that will support companies’ efforts in meeting their ESG goals and commitments?
In general, I believe the benchmarking reports help the members. Increasingly, we are seeing higher rates of participation in the benchmarking process from the members; so that’s a good sign. More importantly, I think the reports help the members in that they are able to benchmark themselves against the entire industry as a whole. The reports help them to better understand how their facilities are doing compared to the industry’s average performance and also assist in developing and tracking their sustainability goals.
Another useful measure of the BIER benchmarking reports is that they provide historical data with five-year trends. Because we collect biannual data, members can compare the most recent performance to past performance to gain insights. For example, they can see whether or not they are making consistent improvements or if there are certain upticks or reductions within specific time frames that may be attributed to other external or internal factors that they were not thinking about. This provides a better understanding of a specific time frame for implemented programs being successful or to question if something was missing in their program that hindered their performance.
Name one of the practical solutions or best practices you learned in working with BIER and its members and why it was important to you and/ or your company.
The collaborative nature of the BIER members is very impressive. The realization that so many large companies, that are competitors, can collaborate on these sustainability initiatives, is encouraging and impressive. In working with the BIER members, I’ve observed an interesting dynamic. That is, some members really try to be the leader of sustainability, and they will encourage other members to participate more and then engage. It’s encouraging to witness the BIER members that have participated in BIER for a longer time explain to newer members why we are here together, BIER’s history, and why this is important. This is important because it provides the new members with additional context that BIER’s work is not just beneficial to one company, but is helpful to the entire industry. It is motivating to all to come together and put our efforts together to provide something that’s valuable.
The benchmarking study extends beyond the members, and I see that as a great success in facilitating industry collaboration. We don’t just collaborate with companies themselves, we also collaborate with industry associations, including beverage-specific associations. We are engaging many key players in the industry, and that’s something that I really enjoy doing. I hope that these collaborations can continue, and then we will do great things together.
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?
My superpower would be to immediately put a price on all the natural resources that we consume. Because right now, we pay for electricity and water, but we are not charged for the benefits that the natural resources and ecosystems provide to us that reflect their actual environmental, recreational, and cultural value. For example, there are benefits that good air quality, healthy forests, and biodiversity provide to us in sustaining our food chain, our living environment, and our cultures. My superpower would be putting a price on all the ecosystem services, which would bring awareness to people of the actual value of natural resources. Oftentimes, we are trying to get capital to pursue environmental conservation opportunities but can’t get approval because the projects don’t meet the threshold of being cost-effective, but there is actually value beyond economic benefits in protecting ecosystems that haven’t been monetized and considered in the decision-making process. By assigning a monetary value to ecosystem services, people would be able to approach them differently and evaluate them properly based on the value they bring to our lives. It will help us make more conscious decisions about how we interact with ecosystems and utilize natural resources, and how we prioritize and execute our environmental sustainability projects.
BIER Publications referenced in this interview:
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]