International MBA alumna focuses on sustainable packaging at Molson Coors

Moore School alumni are elevating corporate social responsibility at employers around the world. One is Renee Paris (’14, International MBA), a category manager of sustainable packaging at Molson Coors Beverage Company in Milwaukee, WI.

At the multinational beverage and brewing company, Renee is a supervisor in sustainable packaging. “No two days are alike,” Renee says. “I have typical category manager-type responsibilities — managing contracts, negotiating pricing, managing delivery issues, and planning strategy for spend categories. Other responsibilities are sustainable packaging work, whether helping brands brainstorm new packaging concepts, learning about new sustainable packaging technologies, or measuring progress against our goals.”

Renee has always been civic-minded. As a student, she was part of an economic development project in Mamfe, Cameroon, while serving in the Peace Corps. More recently, Renee has transitioned to a full-time focus on sustainable packaging due to the global plastic crisis. After National Geographic published an article about the plastic crisis, and China and other southeast Asian markets started declining U.S. plastics because of possible contamination, many consumer packaging companies created sustainable packaging goals and joined the New Plastics Economy initiative, says Renee.

“That decision fundamentally changed the economics of recycling in the U.S. New packaging legislation is proposed rather frequently,” she says. “It’s all culminated into a large focus on sustainable packaging. Consumers value it, lawmakers are legislating it, investors are spending based on it, and companies are pledging to do it.”

Paris adds that corporate social responsibility is an expectation of many consumers. In addition, buyers don’t have issues purchasing other brands if one does not meet ethical standards. “It’s no longer a delighter; it’s a gatekeeper,” she says. “A growing number of consumers expect companies to meet basic responsibility standards, and they have no problem calling out brands that do not play their part.”

At Molson Coors Beverage Company, Paris says she uses the communication, data analysis and operations management skills she gained from the Moore School’s International MBA program every day. She especially values the curriculum’s focus on Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions theory and similar topics.

“Understanding the different ways people think helped me immensely, both in foreign countries and back home,” she says. “The next big skill is data analysis. There are lots of vast spreadsheets that need to be interpreted. Being able to communicate with data is as valuable as being able to communicate with people.”

Last, says Renee, many employers have a growing interest in lean operations. “People do a lot of unnecessary, non-value-added work, sometimes only because it’s always been done that way.”

Learn more about another International MBA graduate’s experience in sustainability at Henkel, a German chemical and consumer goods company.

To learn more about MBA options at UofSC, email Diondra Black, Assistant Director of Full-time MBA Programs, or call her at 1-803-777-3709.

Claire McGrath

Photo Credit: Grant Emory, (’17 IMBA, Spanish Track)