Executive Profile: Mark R. Westfall, The Coca-Cola Company
Mark R. Westfall, Chief Procurement Officer and Head of Supply Chain Services, The Coca-Cola Company
Mark Westfall, CPO and Head of Supply Chain Services at The Coca-Cola Company, has been with the company for over 10 years. In his previous role of CPO, Westfall managed a $25 Bn annual spend led a team of 450 professionals covering global direct and indirect sourcing/procurement, source-to-pay, and accounts payable organizations for the company.
in September of 2020 Westfall was additionally named Head of Supply Chain Services and currentlyl manages a $30 billion annual spend and leads 300 professions in a global network that spreads across 30 countries.
During COVID-19, Westfall contributed to the National Minority Supplier Development Council pledge to support Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs)
Prior to joining Coca-Cola in 2009 as Group M&A Director covering Eurasia, Westfall was with Anheuser-Busch where he worked for eight years. As he did at Coca-Cola, Westfall was consistently promoted to higher levels of responsibility, starting as Senior Manager, and subsequently Director, and withing that same year, jumping to Sr. Director of Corporate Planning & Executive Assistant to the CEO.
During his more than 11 years at Coca-Cola, Westfall has spent time as Group Director of Corporate Finance, Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Office of the Chairman & CEO, and VP of Global Finance & Procurement of Juice Beverages.
Earlier in his career, Westfall had a brief stint at Ernst & Young LLP as a Senior Strategy Consultant for Strategic Advisory Services.
Westfall holds a BS in Finance (magna cum laude) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well as an MBA in Quantitative Finance from the Olin Business School at the Washington University in St. Louis.
Westfall is fluent is both English and French, and has earned a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter designation.
Despite the supply chain challenges brough on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Westfall held fast to his commitment to sustainability and supplier diversity, reiterating his commitment and clearly laying out his expectations and action plan in a blog post where he stated:
"Covid-19 is raising a lot of questions about how we do business throughout the crisis and in the future, but one thing is for sure: we will maintain our long-term focus on sustainability. During the entire first phase of the crisis, we based our actions on our company’s purpose, which is to refresh the world and make a difference, and on our commitment to sustainable and ethical sourcing.
"For our agricultural ingredients supply chain, for example, sustainability is rooted in our Sustainable Agriculture Guiding Principles, which include a clear and ambitious set of expectations on Human Rights and Workplace Rights, Environmental Standards and Farm Management. Because we have set public goals on sustainable sourcing, we have been working with our global key ingredient suppliers (sugars, fruit juices, tea, coffee, soybeans) and bio-based packaging suppliers (paper and carton) to increase the share of sustainably sourced volumes from 8% in 2013 to 54% last year.
"Covid-19 has made us think even more about sustainable and responsible supply chain management. We understand that this is not a one-way-street; it requires partnership and mutual engagement. Together with other corporate functions, we pulled together a set of actions that we are taking to support our suppliers, and expectations that we have toward our suppliers to manage through this crisis successfully and with integrity".
A Watershed Moment for Sustainability Commitments
Last month saw a landmark ruling where Royal Dutch Shell was instructed to significantly step up its 2030 climate commitments and slash absolute emissions by 45% compared to 2019 levels. This ruling represents a considerable advance on Shell’s stated aim to cut 45% of its emissions intensity compared to 2016 levels by 2035 – a target which provided leeway for increasing emissions as long as the relative carbon emitted per unit of energy produced fell. Now, this imposes a much larger climate obligation on Shell in calling for an urgent absolute reduction.
A ruling that sent ripples through the oil, gas, and energy sector
A watershed moment, this ruling is sure to cause significant alarm amongst fellow oil and gas giants who recognise – for perhaps the first time – that national courts can compel organisations to accelerate their reduction of harmful emissions under the Paris Agreement. Not only does it have "far-reaching" consequences for Shell itself and may even curb the potential growth of the company, but the decision is also likely to set a legal precedent for other energy companies and corporations. According to Thom Wetzer from Oxford University, who heads up the sustainable law programme: “all companies in the energy industry and all heavy emitters will be put on notice and have to accelerate their decarbonisation plans.”
This court mandate applies to not only the Shell group’s own operations but notably also to all the suppliers and customers of the group – strongly implying that Shell is being asked to tackle its Scope 3 emissions. Consequently, it is clear that Shell cannot meet the ruling’s demands alone; to make an impact across all carbon emissions scopes, Shell and other large businesses must immediately look towards forging new, productive partnerships with supplier stakeholders. Failing to do this not only means missed targets and mounting legislative action but also the reputational damage that this will cause to its brand and the company.
Activist investor warns of existential business risk
Reports on the Shell ruling were almost immediately followed by news of a coup attempt in American oil and gas corporation Exxon Mobil. Due to concerns surrounding Exxon’s strategic direction, hedge fund Engine No. 1 ousted sitting board members, stating that the climate crisis poses an "existential threat to the business", which the board has been reluctant to confront.
This small hedge fund accused Exxon of "a failure to take even initial steps towards evolution" and of "obfuscating rather than addressing long-term business risk", partly due to a historical lack of energy industry experience in Exxon’s board. This signalled an imminent shift in the company’s sustainability strategy, which was well received by the market, with Exxon’s shares rising 1.2% the day after the event.
The drive to reduce Scope 3 emissions
And if that wasn’t enough of a shakeup, this was followed by American multinational energy corporation Chevron’s shareholders voting 61% in favour of a proposal to cut Scope 3 emissions at their AGM, signalling frustration with the company’s slack approach towards climate change. Chevron has thus far failed to match its competitors’ net-zero targets with any commitments of its own.
For those less familiar, corporate emissions fall into three categories: Scope 1, 2, and 3. Scope 1 covers emissions from sources that an organisation directly owns or controls. Scope 2 refers to emissions from purchased electricity, steam, heating, and cooling that the reporting company consumes over the course of its operations. And Scope 3 is everything else – all other indirect emissions that occur within an organisation’s value chain, both up and downstream.
Why is this significant? Until now, Scope 3’s heady combination of difficult-to-manage and thus far easy-to-ignore has led large companies to abdicate responsibility for their value chain and sweep its emissions under the carpet. However, the Shell ruling indicates that this approach is no longer viable for big business. With courts stepping in and dictating climate policy to corporations as well as governments, the pressure is mounting on all heavy emitters to tackle their true impact and reduce Scope 3 emissions.
As organisations like Shell, Chevron and Exxon are considered responsible for the actions of their entire ecosystems, sustainability performance becomes contingent on supplier behaviour. The clearest example of this lies in Scope 3 emissions which, for many organisations, considerably exceeds the CO2 they emit directly.
Therefore, the time for green-washing and lip service is now over as pressure mounts from all stakeholder groups for large corporates to take decisive action on sustainability in the supply chain. However, businesses cannot turn promises into concrete progress without actively collaborating with stakeholders across the value chain.
For every five weeks that pass, we lose 1% of the decade
2030, the deadline for achievement of UN SDG-related climate commitments, is fast looming, and with every five weeks that pass, we lose 1% of the decade. The imperative to take immediate action has never been clearer. It’s now down to procurement, wider business leaders, and their associated supplier ecosystems to put sustainability strategy into action by:
● Defining, aligning, and communicating their corporate sustainability goals to focus suppliers, partners and the wider stakeholder groups on how they can make an impact.
● Collaborating systematically through technology using transparent processes that develop trust with suppliers and partners.
● Harnessing the innovation and IP within the supplier ecosystem, turning ideas into projects that can be managed and reported on transparently, and adding clear value trackers to prove impact.
Working closely with stakeholders in the supply chain is an infamously complex process, but it can be made that much simpler using Supplier Collaboration & Innovation (SC&I) technology. This ensures strategic alignment between buyer and supplier and provides comprehensive relationship governance and real-time performance visibility. This allows companies and their suppliers to work on sustainability initiatives more cohesively and develop innovative ideas through collaboration.
Here at Vizibl – through our SC&I platform combined with our knowledge and expertise – we are helping large enterprise organisations in the energy sector better leverage their supplier relationships and move closer to meeting those lofty 2030 sustainability goals.