Sula Vineyards has cut water use and increased its recycling and onsite renewable energy share ©Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Sula Vineyards has cut water use and increased its recycling and onsite renewable energy share ©Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Young, gifted... and green

Five of this year’s global GreenBiz ‘30 under 30’ have procurement as part of their roles

Alejandra Sánchez Ayala, 28, sustainable supply chain manager, C&A, Mexico
The youngest supply chain team leader in the history of retailer C&A, Sánchez Ayala heads a team of auditors and supplier consultants, engaging with 130 factories and 18,000 workers across Mexico and Colombia to ensure fair labour and safety standards. “In developing countries, it’s hard [for many] to see the value in sustainability,” she says. “You have to sell the idea and change the mindset of factory owners.”

Jonas De Schaepmeester, 27, sustainability and closed-loop manager, Umicore, Belgium
As factories produce ever more batteries for electric vehicles and cell phones, materials should be sourced sustainably and responsibly, says De Schaepmeester, who works with battery materials giant Umicore’s suppliers to achieve responsible sourcing of cobalt. Much of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been plagued by child labour concerns.

Carla Grados Villamar, 29, general director, Kunan, Peru
Grados Villamar spearheads the Kunan network, Peru’s first comprehensive effort to connect social entrepreneurs with resources within private companies, government, media and academia. Kunan works with 30 corporations – including some of the largest in Peru, such as Coca-Cola, IBM and Telefónica – to link start-ups with accelerators and incubators, help measure growth, and make introductions between manufacturers and supply chain directors. She finds some large companies treat social enterprises as “nice to have” but not serious business. 

Owen Keogh, 29, sustainable sourcing manager, Sainsbury’s, UK
Keogh, who grew up on a sheep farm, has used this experience to inform his strategy when working for firms such as Mars, McDonald’s and Sainsbury’s. “You need to have experience working with farmers in order to be successful in sustainability, especially in the food industry,” he says. Keogh’s drive to improve the livelihoods of farmers and reduce the environmental impact of raw materials has driven his leadership in sustainable sourcing related to key commodities such as palm oil, cocoa and soy. Establishing new practices for supply chains that are high-risk and vulnerable, he aims to source from sustainability-practicing and cruelty-free farmers.

Inesh Singh, 28, chief sustainability officer, Sula Vineyards, India
At Sula Vineyards, India’s largest winemaker, Singh oversees the supply chain. This year, Sula sourced more than half its energy from onsite renewable energy. Its 2021 goal, to be recognised as the most sustainable winery in Asia, includes reaching more than 75% renewables usage. A partnership with a local recycling company turns waste from Sula’s fields into stationery.

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