Facilitating Sustainable Supply Chains

Published on : 4/6/24
  • Sevrine_blog.pngName: Sevrine Bethy
    Title: Head of Responsible Sourcing North America
    Segment/Site: Transversal
    Years with Sodexo: 17
    Areas of expertise: Food safety and quality, human rights compliance, local sourcing, sustainable agriculture

    Sevrine Bethy works in the purchasing department, where she drives the formalization of responsible supply chains at Sodexo. Her efforts ensure Sodexo secures its fundamentals around providing healthy and qualitative ingredients, respecting human rights in supply chains and protecting biodiversity while developing meaningful differentiators, including initiatives such as a circular economy approach to a regenerative agriculture model. She supports the category managers in their purchasing decisions to make sure the products and services that Sodexo is sourcing are good for the people and the planet, helping to protect the company brand and reputation. Sevrine grew up in the Caribbean and moved to France to pursue her studies. Most of her professional career has been with Sodexo, where she is actively engaged in Stop Hunger and SoTogether France. Here, she discusses what sparked her passion for sustainability work, a recent influential community project, and advocates for the integration of sustainability into every facet of company operations.

    Interviewer: What makes you passionate about CSR and sustainability work?

    Sevrine Bethy: My passion for sustainability is rooted in a profound sense of purpose and responsibility. When I joined Sodexo fresh out of food safety engineering school, I had the opportunity to work with great and inspiring leaders. One of them, Lesley Sander, shared with me her knowledge and dedication for sustainability, and I quickly understood that sustainability is not just a job but a personal mission that we all have to embrace at our own level. I started to merge my desire for protecting human health and rights with the sense of respecting and preserving our resources. It became obvious to me: I can create positive impact. I am acting to ensure the decisions I’m taking at work are aligned with my values. Working alongside supply decision-makers has allowed me to contribute to a wider ecosystem and to collaborate and be engaged in meaningful projects.

    Interviewer: What is the most satisfying or impactful CSR project you’ve worked on?

    Sevrine Bethy: Working for Sodexo in the sustainability environment, I really want to create impact and engage others to do the same. One recent example close to my heart was working with Stop Hunger to help their partner, the World Food Program (WFP), improve food safety and create resilient sustainable supply chains. We spent 15 months with a core team developing and piloting an audit program to address basic food safety principles in areas where food security was not guaranteed. We empowered women by sharing our knowledge and helping them to support their community. It was an opportunity for me to share and apply my professional expertise in a real-life case. This project reminded me that nothing is granted and we all have our part to play.

    Interviewer: How can Sodexo’s Better Tomorrow Commitments help our clients reach their sustainability goals?

    Sevrine Bethy: By leading by example and setting ambitious but also breakthrough initiatives, Sodexo will inspire clients to follow suit. Our Better Tomorrow roadmap is not set to stand alone; it is an industry transformation that requires endorsement and collaboration with our different stakeholders — our employees, our clients and consumers, our suppliers, our expert organizations and regulatory bodies. When we make a commitment, we are not only considering how it will impact Sodexo’s business but we want to lead the way with a new business norm and to have a wider influence. That is the reason why our commitments are connected with our clients’ goals. Last but not least, by having every Sodexo employee acting and contributing to our sustainability journey in their everyday decisions at work, Sodexo can empower clients to implement effective initiatives and make meaningful progress.

    Interviewer: What should companies be doing to truly move us toward a healthier planet?

    Sevrine Bethy: Everything an organization spends money on affects the planet, so companies should define and implement an approach to integrate sustainability into every aspect of their operations. This involves creating eco-friendly design products that are sustainable, recyclable or reusable, having sourcing practices that are responsible, such as ensuring ethical labor practices and reducing emissions. By infusing sustainability in their business and being transparent on what they are doing, organizations will be able to attract the best talents to create a better tomorrow. Companies should also set the right governance to truly move the needle. Moreover, companies play an important role in educating consumers about the impact of their daily decisions and encouraging responsible consumption habits. It’s a long journey, and part of my role is to continue to instill and cultivate a sustainable mindset across our community, Sodexo and its supply chains. It’s our company culture, and it’s everyone’s responsibility.