Today, I lead clean energy projects for Nestlé in the Middle East and North Africa.
To have a regenerative impact on the planet, we need to challenge the status quo and adopt a more flexible way of thinking.Myra
My work focuses on helping Nestlé adopt more sustainable practices to improve our climate impact. One big piece of that effort is our commitment to using 100% renewable electricity in our 800 global sites to help us reach net zero emissions by 2050.
Gaining hands-on experience
I'll never forget my first major project, implementing solar PV panels in our Dubai factory. We benefit from being one of the hottest, sunniest places on Earth - a perfect fit for a solar project. That environment let us take a novel approach: redesigning the factory itself for solar, rather than buying renewable electricity from an electricity company. The integrated approach gave me a chance to put hands-on skills into practice and establish standard practices for future renewable projects.
During my first week on the job, I arrived at the factory every morning at 6:00 a.m. - sometimes 5:00 a.m. - and spent the day in the sweltering Dubai heat. As a relatively fresh graduate and the only female engineer on the team, I was determined to get the job done right.
From day one, I was entrusted with crucial responsibilities: collaborating with local stakeholders and authorities, overseeing project planning. One day, feeling uncertain, I went to my manager for advice, and I'll never forget what he said: "There's no such thing as a foolish question." It sounds simple, but it truly changed my perspective. Managing this renewable electricity project demanded that I get comfortable with asking questions, fostering dialogue and, above all, believing in my abilities.
Adopting a flexible and open mindset
In the middle of the project, our team learned that an important delivery would be arriving late to the factory. This would set back our progress by several weeks, jeopardizing the success of our start date.
It's like taking 1,500 cars off the road every year!
For a moment, we seemed to be at an impasse. I took a deep breath and remembered my manager's advice. Ultimately, I was able to ask the right questions and propose a creative solution that would keep us on track. Currently, nearly 25,000 photovoltaic panels are installed at our manufacturing sites in Dubai - the electricity they produce makes a major impact on our emissions. It's like taking 1,500 cars off the road every year!
Implementing on-site renewable electricity generation was, and is, a tough challenge. But challenges are what drive me to continue to seek out these sorts of projects, as they allow me to stretch my curiosity and demand I be adaptable, asking questions as I go.
All of this is part of a truly global effort with Nestlé teams worldwide accelerating the shift to renewable electricity. At the end of 2020, our teams in the U.S. made one of our largest direct investments in renewable energy, which will be adding enough solar electricity to the U.S. grid to power 90,000 homes each year. And Nestlé is not only looking towards the sun, but also harnessing wind power, electricity that comes from wind, like in the UK, where now 100% of our electricity there comes from wind.
Nurturing a sustainable future
To have a regenerative impact on the planet, we need to challenge the status quo and adopt a more flexible way of thinking. We will not achieve meaningful and lasting progress if we keep working and thinking in old, comfortable ways. Some of my best experiences have been on the ground testing out creative problem-solving. I truly love my work, especially at Nestlé where I see the impact of my profession and passion on such a large scale.
Moving to renewable electricity across all our sites is just one part of our journey to net zero emissions by 2050. From supporting regenerative farming practices to transforming our products, explore all the steps we're taking on our journey toward regeneration.