Transforming an Iconic Brand to Meet Consumer Demands

In this episode of Beyond the Shelf: The Product & Packaging Podcast, Laura Foti chats with Stacey Tank, Chief Transformation Officer at Heineken. In Stacey's role she is charged with developing and executing the 140-year-old company's new growth strategy to ensure the organization adapts to the rapidly changing environment and to meet consumer demands.

Posted on 
June 20, 2023
Laura Foti
CMO, Specright

Most of you are probably familiar with iconic beer company, Heineken, established in 1864.

The company was formed at the beginning of the industrial revolution and built up from a single brewery to a drink that brings people together around the world.

Stacey Tank, Chief Transformation Officer, has played a pivotal role in the company’s journey as an industry leader, especially in recent years as the global climate changes.

With her interest in the intersection of business and positively impacting our society, Stacey’s passion and drive have allowed her to repeatedly author large-scale movements across enterprises like General Electric, Heineken, and Home Depot.

Stacey has also recognized the rise in sustainability awareness and stricter regulations surrounding the topics, allowing her to ignite positive change at Heineken.

Our discussion further pushed the point that companies are going to have to be in touch with their data in order to meet company goals and legal standards.

As I spoke with Stacey I learned even more about the value of implementing a sustainable business model for huge companies life Heineken.

Below are some highlights from our conversation - you can listen to the full audio on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Soundcloud. And be sure to subscribe to our channel to get the latest episodes as soon as they drop.

On the Benefits of Sustainability Initiatives

“Heineken is introducing something called the Corporate Sustainable Responsibility Directive, CSRD. This will, in our estimation, invite us as of January 2024 to disclose 117 new non-financial reporting KPIs. We want to be transparent, and we're up for it. But it's a lot, it's a lot quicker, and we want to do it well. There's carbon taxation that's coming. When you start to look at the cost of action versus the cost of inaction in Europe, the cost of inaction becomes higher. So, in the business case to decarbonize, become more efficient with water or, more circular, or whatever your topic, there are a lot of directives that are coming. Responsible packaging and producer directives are coming at the European Union level. On this topic, I think regulation is helpful because it creates a level playing field as long as it's brought into the market, and gives us a little time to implement it and do it well.”

On Heineken and Science-Based Target Initiatives

“The Science-Based Targets Initiative or SBTI, sets the science-based standards for what it means to decarbonize. We take carbon as a topic. They talk about Scope 1, scope 2, and Scope 3. For us, scope one is production. Those are our 200 breweries across the world from Burundi to Vietnam to Romania. Pick your country. Then, scope 2 would be the energy that you're procuring to be able to fuel those breweries. Those two, scopes 1 and 2 are 10% of our carbon footprint. And then scope 3 is 90%, and that's all the way through the value chain, the biggest four drivers being cooling, packaging, logistics, and agriculture. We're committed to decarbonizing scopes 1 and 2 by 2030, which is six-plus years from now, which is such a race. We have our decarbonization roadmap.”

On Understanding Energy Sources to Meet Net Zero Standards

“We're getting down to deeper levels of detail because otherwise, I don't think we would make it if we don't have that transparency. Now we're working brewery by brewery to make a net-zero pipeline. We're indicating which technologies are passible because different countries have different things that are available or sometimes that are legal or not. A lot of the time governments are your power supplier, so they have a nationalized energy utility. In that case, if we're using our electrical energy, which is one-third of our energy, we can use wind, and, solar, and hydro. But if you are putting, let's say, solar for electricity on your brewery site, that means you're using less from the grid. It means the government is making less money in their government-owned utility. Sometimes these things are not working in concert with each other, and we have to work through that together.”

On the Importance of Aligning Cross-Functionally on Sustainability Targets

“To your point about needing data with your suppliers and visibility, we need it not just so we can report, but also because we have to do this together. If we have a science-based target, our suppliers need to have science-based targets too, that align with ours. Because our scope 3 is their scope 1 and 2. We need to work as a system because none of us can do this on our own.”

On the Most Exciting Elements of a Sustainable Future

“I am excited about low-waste packaging and I would say, also circular packaging. Living in Europe, we separate all of our trash, plastic, metal, glass, and compost. You always see people bringing their own bags, always reusing jars. One, it’s the right thing for the environment, but also it's much less burden on you and your household to have all this waste that you have to do something with. It's no way to live. So anything that allows me to eat all the food, so I have low food waste, or I have very little packaging, or if I'm at a store and I can just throw something in my purse and save a bag, I'm very into that these days.

Listen to the whole episode here to learn more about the history of Heineken and the steps they are taking as a company to aim for a more sustainable future. You can also connect with Stacey on LinkedIn here.

To listen to more Beyond the Shelf episodes, click here.


Laura Foti

Laura leads marketing and investor relations at Specright. Prior to Specright, she led advertising and analytics at GE Digital, GE’s Industrial Internet software business. Before that, she was a consultant at Deloitte Digital working in enterprise digital transformation, where she helped clients design and deploy eCommerce experiences, develop revenue-driving mobile apps, and reimagine their global digital marketing strategy. Laura was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for marketing and advertising and Brand Innovators 40 Under 40 and 100 Women to Watch lists. She graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She resides in Newport Beach, CA.

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