Sustainability in the supply chain is crucial – BBG’s Coindreau

Mauricio Coindreau is Head of Procurement and Sustainability for Budweiser Brewing Group (BBG), part of AbInBev – the world’s largest brewer

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I am an experienced entrepreneur and leader currently focusing on sustainability, strategy and sourcing. I am university educated, hold a degree in chemical engineering and also an MBA.

I have led various projects in different industries and have expertise in change management, stakeholder management, growth strategy and social impact investing.

… and your role at BBG

The biggest challenge in my role at BBG is making sense of supply chains and finding ways to gain efficiencies, especially with prices set to rise further. My role is twofold: procurement and sustainability.

Supply is being strained as commodity prices continue to rise. Mitigating these costs through supplier negotiation and relationships has never been more important.

We are constantly looking for small to medium-sized vendors to add to our vendor portfolio, but we also know that we rely heavily on technology and innovation to help us get there.

On the sustainability side, the challenge is how can we get to net zero faster?

We are always looking for ways to get closer to net zero. Right now, here at Budweiser Brewing Group, we’re using technology and diversity to achieve that end goal.

How important is sustainability to BBG?

Extremely. Two years ago I co-founded a company called Ocean Bottle, which is designed to stop 7 billion plastic bottles from entering the ocean. To date, we have collected over 450 million plastic bottles.

The idea is to create waste infrastructure in communities that lack it. In poor communities, there are no garbage trucks to pick up trash. People have no choice but to throw it into a river, which then carries plastic bottles into the ocean.

With the sale of each Ocean Bottle, 11kg of plastic – the equivalent of 1,000 plastic bottles destined for the ocean – is collected from impoverished coastal communities where plastic pollution is worst.

Plastic collectors can exchange plastic waste for cash or credits via blockchain technology to pay for school fees, tech goods, healthcare, and micro-finance.

Who do you find inspiring?

I’ve had great mentors throughout my career. I’m originally from Mexico, so that’s where my career started. Under my first boss, I had the opportunity to launch the Amazon Mexico store. There were 10 of us stuck in a room trying to figure out how to build the biggest e-commerce store in Latin America. Gloria, my boss, was a revolutionary feminist in executive empowerment and showed me how to lead by example.

Then when I joined BBG’s sourcing and sustainability team in Switzerland, I had another boss and mentor called Annabel, and she sparked in me a passion for finding solutions for a value chain circular for our breweries, and so we started to work closely with more startups and innovation solutions.

The best advice ever received?

In my first job after college, working at a small consulting firm, I was advised to focus your efforts on the 20% activities that solve 80% of your problems. I have tried to follow this advice throughout my professional career.

You get a lot of noise at work, and there are issues left and right. But there are also opportunities and solutions left and right, so you need to stay focused on those 20% that will change the future of the industry you work in.

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