Sustainability Digital – Sept 2020

A company and investor engagement story

This session takes a deep dive into the sustainability lens from a large corporate view and how investors and corporates are working together to create lasting impact.


Beatriz Perez is the senior vice president and chief communications, public affairs, sustainability and marketing assets officer for The Coca-Cola Company. She leads an integrated team across public affairs and communications, sustainability and marketing assets to support the company’s new growth model and path to become a total beverage company. In this role, Perez aligns a diverse portfolio of work against critical business objectives to support brands, communities, consumers and partners worldwide. She continues to oversee the company’s sports and entertainment assets, including iconic partnerships with Olympics, Special Olympics and FIFA. She will continue to lead strategic and operational efforts for the company’s retail, licensing and attractions portfolio of assets.
Since 2011, Perez served as The Coca-Cola Company’s first chief sustainability officer, where she developed and led progress against comprehensive global sustainability commitments with a focus on water stewardship and women’s economic empowerment. She advanced a global sustainability strategy designed to help grow the business while making a lasting positive difference for consumers, communities and the environment.
Prior to leading the company’s sustainability efforts, she served as chief marketing officer for Coca-Cola North America, where she built brands by developing some of the company’s most historic relationships, including American Idol and NASCAR. She began her career at The Coca-Cola Company in 1996 and held various roles in brand management and field operations before becoming CMO.
Among her recognitions are membership in the American Advertising Hall of Achievement and the Sports Business Journal’s Hall of Fame. The Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) named Perez to its 2017 50 Most Powerful Latinas ranking. She has been recognized as a “Conservation Trailblazer” by The Trust for the Public Land. She was on Hispanic Executive magazine’s list of Top 10 Leaders, and she was featured as one of the “25 Most Powerful Latinas” on CNN and in People en Español.
Perez is a strong advocate for community service, serving on various boards including The Coca-Cola Foundation, the company’s global philanthropic arm. She also serves on the corporate boards for Primerica and Grainger. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from the University of Maryland.

Peter van der Werf is engagement specialist, covering the consumer staples, healthcare and shemicals sectors. His areas of expertise include impact investing, labor rights, supply chain management, access to medicine and nutrition and social and environmental issues in the food and agriculture sector. He is an advisory committee member of a number of PRI working groups such as Agricultural Supply Chain, Sustainable Palm Oil and Deforestation. He gained over four years of professional experience in business development in frontier markets before joining Robeco in 2011. He holds a Master’s in Environmental Sciences from Wageningen University.


White is responsible for the content across all Conexus Financial’s institutional media and events. She is responsible for directing the bi-annual Fiduciary Investors Symposium which challenges global investors on investment best practice and aims to place the responsibilities of investors in wider societal, and political contexts, as well as promote the long-term stability of markets and sustainable retirement incomes. She is the editor of, the online news and analysis site for the world’s largest institutional investors. White has been an investment journalist for more than 20 years and has edited industry journals including Investment & Technology, Investor Weekly and MasterFunds Quarterly. She was previously editorial director of InvestorInfo and has worked as a freelance journalist for the Australian Financial Review, CFO, Asset and Asia Asset Management. She has a Bachelor of Economics from Sydney University and a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Technology, Sydney. She was previously a columnist for the Canadian publication, Corporate Knights, which is distributed by the Globe and Mail and The Washington Post. White is currently a fellow in the Finance Leaders Fellowship at the Aspen Institute. The two-year program consists of 22 fellows and seeks to develop the next generation of responsible, community-spirited leaders in the global finance industry.

Key takeaways


  • We set bold ambitions with decade-long timeframes.
  • Even during the pandemic, positive work must keep moving. If something is truly core to your strategies, find a way to maintain momentum in the short-term to achieve long-term targets.
  • Targets must be clearly defined and clearly understood.
  • Business planning is critical to achieving growth, not just mitigating risk.
  • There is significant value in having your impact data independently audited.
  • CocaCola has created 1000 new recipes and this was in part due to strategy and sustainability engagement with Robeco.
  • It is critically important to focus the business strategy around what the public most care about.
  • The right behaviours must be incentivised appropriately for both short- and long-term.
  • When investors demonstrate care through engagement, so will everybody else.
  • ‘Robeco have made us better. They forced us to wake up. They forced us to make sure we did not become obsolete.’
  • I cheer the investment community for driving investee companies in the right direction.


  • We challenge companies on their strategic direction. It is important that investee companies have a clear North Star.
  • Tension through the engagement process can help achieve better outcomes. Have the courage to ask investee companies whether their strategy transformation is moving fast enough.
  • It is important to identify where sustainability efforts can be accelerated. There must be a long-term commitment to engagement.

Join the discussion