BIER Member Spotlight: Nicolas Clerget

Meet Nicolas Clerget
Sep 21, 2023 12:10 PM ET
Meet Nicolas Clerget

Name: Nicolas Clerget | Director Net Zero Carbon Strategy


Connect with Nicolas 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 joined Heineken five years ago. I started in the procurement department, where I was asked to lead and transition a team of sourcing experts to procure more renewable energy. Three years ago, I moved to the global sustainability team responsible for Heineken’s new sustainability strategy. I focused on designing our Net Zero carbon strategy – it was the right fit based on my background in energy and how much work needed to be done in the face of climate change.

I’ve learned a great deal in this role. When I first accepted the position, I thought it was primarily a decarbonization agenda - but actually, it is a transformation agenda. That is because you have to reconcile decarbonization with ongoing business objectives like growth and profitability. This means the proper ecosystems must be set up to enable the transformation. You must set internal targets and establish rewards, remuneration, and incentives. You must allocate enough funding for transition investments and you have to build capabilities within the company. The level of orchestration required is amazing.

The good news is HEINEKEN has a company culture that fosters innovation and collaboration. From our C-suite to our operators, our company takes this agenda very seriously. In reality, my role today is less to mobilize the organization but more to manage and pace the transformation.

How has the company's sustainability program evolved over the years, and what are your specific priorities for 2023?

Just five years ago, only a few people in Heineken were working on decarbonization – it felt a bit like working in a startup! Then we started to scale up, integrating more teams and senior leaders. We set solid governance with the executive teams of the operating companies, and we started to put processes in place.

Today, I would say we are at full corporate alignment with nearly 45 people dedicated to the agenda – all teams from finance to engineering to procurement to corporate affairs. As a company, we now have the capacity to execute, and our traction in the business is high.

One key improvement we made was turning carbon dioxide (CO2) into a corporate performance KPI. The (sad) beauty is that CO2 is a very easy KPI to integrate into financial performance management. You can create benchmarks and draw insights more easily than other environmental topics. This helps us maintain focus and reflects sustainability as critical to growing the business.

Learn more about Nicolas Clerget in this BIER Member Spotlight.