BIER Member Spotlight: Abelardo Moctezuma
Name: Abelardo Moctezuma, Global Director - Sales Sourcing and Commercial Agreements
Company: Anheuser-Busch InBev
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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've been with Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) for 11 years now. I started working for the company in Mexico, where I’m originally from, back in 2010, where I joined within the supply chain organization. After 3 years I moved into the Procurement & Sustainability organization, of which I’ve been a part of ever since. Over the last 11 years, I’ve worked in Mexico, Belgium, and Switzerland. This has been a good experience for me as I was able to interact and see the scale and diversity of our company in action. My current role is the global director for sales sourcing and commercial agreements. On the sales sourcing side, I'm responsible for everything related to the procurement and sustainability of our commercial refrigeration, which includes branded fridges that we place in our points of sale. I’m also responsible for commercial agreements, leading projects aimed to upscale the capabilities of our sales teams.
How has the company's sustainability program evolved over the years, and what are your specific priorities for 2021?
When I joined the company, we were all aware that sustainability is something that we needed to address as individuals and as a company. But there wasn’t a clear way of tracking and measuring our progress, we worked to change this and in2018 we published our science-based targets and our 2025 sustainability goals around agriculture, climate action, circular packaging, and water stewardship. These goals were adopted within the company globally as strategic priorities that we wanted to measure and take bold action towards meaningful change. Even our vision that we call “Our Purpose” states “Bringing people together for a better world”. This shift was important because we moved from sustainability awareness to accountability.
After that, we launched the 100+ Accelerator program, which partners with startups to capture innovative ideas to accelerate inclusive sustainable growth through innovations that would make our purpose even more meaningful. Around this same time we kicked our sustainable brand work into high gear, from Stella partnering with Water.org to Budweiser making its pledge to brew all beers from 100% renewable electricity, our consumers were witnessing sustainability as a differentiator of our products. We at AB InBev also know to use the voice of our portfolio of great brands, and not only the scale of the company, as powerful communicators and stewards of those big messages, and how we can bring our consumers on the same journey. This made me feel even more proud of being part of the organization.
Specifically, in the commercial refrigeration space, we have a big challenge because 20% of the total CO2 emissions of the company come from this space. It doesn't seem like it would be that big. However, if we think about it, we all like to consume cold beers. And whenever we go to a restaurant, a bar, or even in the retail space, we will choose the coldest available, or at least me as a Mexican, I definitely enjoy that really, really chilled beer. Given this, to get consumers the cold beer they want, we need to spend a lot of energy. We are the world’s largest brewer with a large footprint serving thousands and thousands of points of sale. So in line with our sustainability goals, what we want to do is reduce our CO2 emissions by 25% from a 2017 baseline by 2025. And of course, now as 2025 is approaching, we're already thinking on how to go beyond and chase the next big ambition. So, the main challenge that we have is we've made good progress already in this space, but we believe that we've gathered a lot of the low-hanging fruit and we are now at a point where there are some additional solutions out there, but it may not be financially feasible for us to implement them at the moment. But even thinking further than that, there's not a lot of options in the future; we need to be innovative.
Regarding innovation and seeking new alternatives previously unavailable to us is the success of the 100+ Accelerator Program. In the 2021 startup cohort of the program, we had several applications regarding refrigeration, and there's one that has been accepted to be funded and developed. It is innovative in that it embraces disruptive technologies and it adjusts our current traditional vapor compression cycle, while also offering a new engaging cooling experience to our consumers. The solution is called V-Chiller, and it uses vacuum technology to provide a cold beer, with 20x faster cooling times, but also with the expectation of a 50%+ energy reduction with a refrigerant that has a global warming potential of zero. Think of it as a reverse microwave that will cool your beer from ambient temperature to refreshing sub-zero in less than one minute! No doubt, we are excited about this! Our next steps include piloting the technology to confirm and review the scalability and the feasibility of this. Yet, this solution is evidence that programs like our 100+ Accelerator are discovering and elevating big ideas. It’s very exciting!
And even more exciting is that we are joining forces with The Coca-Cola Company on this one, acknowledging that Sustainability is all of our business and that together we'll achieve even more powerful and meaningful results. This comes as a result of the recent announcement of them becoming partners of our 100+ Accelerator program, along with Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive.