[Podcast] 'Grow For Good™' S02 E11: Sustainability at a Global Scale with Zoetis' Jeannette Ferran Astorga
On this episode of the Grow For Good™ podcast, Jed sits down with Zoetis' Head of Sustainability, Jeannette Ferran Astorga.
If you have any questions or suggestions for future guests, send an email to email@example.com.
Read the episode transcript below.
Jeannette Ferran Astorga [Snippet]: This is truly being embedded into how we work. Our colleagues feel accountable, they feel responsible for delivering on different goals that apply to their functions. So, that's critical.
Intro [Voiceover]: It's an age-old question. Can you do well by doing good? Welcome to the Grow For Good™ podcast, where we speak with leaders who strive to make a positive impact on the world. Here's the host of the Grow For Good™ podcast, Jed Morey.
Jed Morey: Most of the time on Grow For Good™ we speak with companies that operate with people and planet in mind. After all, it’s a big world with a lot of people in it. You know what else? There’s a whole lot of animals of all kinds as well. So today is a departure from our people-focus, but not the planet, as we speak with Jeannette Ferran Astorga, the global head of sustainability for Zoetis, an enormous company dedicated to delivering quality medicines and vaccines to the animal kingdom, including our beloved pets.
Jeannette’s deep experience in corporate sustainability and ESG initiatives primed her for the challenge of representing this leading global provider of animal health and the challenges are immense. From assisting communities suffering from the effects of climate change in order to best serve the world’s animal populations to signing on to tackle some of the biggest challenges set forth by the United Nations in terms of sustainability goals, Zoetis has placed animal health and wellbeing and corporate social responsibility at the center of all they do.
We cover a lot of ground with Jeannette, including a bit about her background in CSR and how a company as large and far reaching as Zoetis coordinates activities that honor local communities in disparate regions of the world. I hope you enjoy this conversation with Jeannette as we continue our journey together learning how some companies, both large and small, are coming together to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
JM: Hey, it's Jed, CEO of Morey Creative Studios, Executive Producer of social justice podcast News Beat and of course, Grow For Good™. Today, I'm extremely fortunate to be joined by Jeannette Ferran Astorga, head of sustainability at Zoetis, a Global Animal Health company that has been in business for more than 60 years. Jeannette, welcome to Grow For Good™.
Jeannette Ferran Astorga: Hi, Jed. Great to be here.
JM: So, before we get into your specific role, I was just wondering if you can start with an overview of Zoetis today, and maybe actually a bit about its founding purpose and growth over the years, because it's a pretty tenured company, this is a pretty established, very big business, as we’ll cover—but if you can just tell us about its founding and kind of its core discipline.
JFA: Sure, absolutely. At its core, Zoetis has a key purpose, which is to nurture the world and humankind by advancing the care for animals. Zoetis is a Fortune 500 company, it's the global market leader in animal health and serving veterinarians, farmers, pet owners, with the products they need to raise and care for animals. So, when you look at Zoetis; portfolio, they are leading in terms of discovering, developing, manufacturing, and selling vaccines, medicines, and diagnostic products to our customers.
And from the beginning, there's always been this belief that healthy animals ultimately help us create a healthier, more sustainable future. That's been one of the key drivers behind how the innovative portfolio across Zoetis has grown over the years. The portfolio today covers eight species, which includes supporting horses, cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, fish, and of course our beloved pets: cats and dogs. And as you said, Zoetis has almost 65 years of history, the company IPOed over eight years ago when it spun off from Pfizer, and now again has become the market leader in our sector.
JM: So, you touched on something interesting just now that I want to make sure that we get into everybody's minds before we go forward—and we're going to spend most of the time talking about your area within the company, but I think it's important to kind of connect the dots for listeners to understand just how wide-ranging the scope of services you provide are, because it's not just livestock and farms on the bigger side of the business, but you serve as veterinarians on the personal side of the pet equation.
I was just wondering if you can reflect for a second on the sheer scope of service delivery that Zoetis provides, because taking care of let's say livestock in Sub-Saharan Africa is certainly different than taking care of Fido on the Upper East Side. So, it's really, really big. Can you just talk about this, just the scope of it?
JFA: Sure, and I think that your reference there is just a testament to our incredibly talented colleagues in our teams across Zoetis. We have a business that spans the globe, we have a direct presence in 45 countries, our products are sold in over 100. So, we truly have global reach and capabilities when you look at our R&D, when you look at our manufacturing and our sales and technical teams.
We employ many veterinarians that are on the front lines servicing our customers. And to your point, whether it's supporting a dairy farmer in Australia, New Zealand, supporting beef and cattle producers in the United States, as well as supporting pet owners across the globe, a little over half of our business is focused on companion animals; so our beloved cats and dogs. However, the rest of our portfolio is centered around livestock products.
JM: So, I love that you're here by the way, and I appreciate you taking the time to do this, and it's not just talking about Zoetis, but it's also to talk about your journey because this show is about the people that bring to life certain aspects of sustainability or justice or inclusion initiatives within companies.
We don't really speak to companies as massive as Zoetis—though we've spoken to some very big ones, they tend to be more on the startup side, ironically, because it seems easier to infuse an ethos of sustainability or justice or diversity into a newer organization than to try and move a titanic company into these directions.
I give you that layup because I want to talk about your journey with respect to it—I'll say that these initiatives are kind of hitting the mainstream with ESG and SRI-type initiatives—but can you give the listeners a little background on your journey through corporate responsibility, and maybe highlight how you've seen it evolve over the years? Because I should say, as we covered in the introduction, you're not a newcomer to this, this is what you studied. You couldn't be more in the vanguard of sustainability if you tried. You studied this, this is your life's purpose and mission, and now you get to do it inside a multibillion-dollar organization. That's kind of heady stuff.
JFA: Well, gosh, I wish I could say I studied it, let's just start there. I went to school; I don't want to date myself—but I wish there was a course focused on sustainability when I was in college. At the time when we studied business, it was business ethics. And I just am so fortunate that a number of experiences that I had professionally along the way, kind of set me up to be able to have the experiences to become a subject matter expert in sustainability and a practitioner across global organizations. I came to Zoetis in 2020 after a long career in corporate responsibility and philanthropy, and sustainability with over 15 years of direct experience, developing and implementing programs for public companies in the fashion and retail sector.
So, I made a pretty big pivot in 2020. I like to think of it—I went from fashion to farming and felines, and I haven't looked back. I reflect on, now coming into a new organization, just how much the whole space of corporate responsibility has changed over the years. I was starting in the space when these were very siloed functions, these were more risk-based, they were philanthropic in nature, it was about demonstrating your responsibility as a corporation. It was not as integrated as I think we have evolved to be today as sustainability functions. And today, organizations are seeing the value of having their sustainability work thoroughly integrated into the corporate strategy.
We know more now today around how driving sustainability supports talent retention, attraction, it supports reputational matters, it also helps you develop a competitive advantage of course in addition to managing risk, but we're seeing so many other reasons why it's important to drive sustainability.
So, what I've learned along the way, in my career at fashion and retail, and seeing this kind of evolve from being very siloed and risk-based integrated into business strategy has all set me up for this exciting challenge that I now have in front of me at Zoetis.
And while sustainability has always been extremely top of mind and a very high priority for our leadership, the fun work now begins as we are formalizing the strategy, integrating it into how our business units run their functions every day. So, to just tie it up with a bow, in terms of your question, thank goodness it's evolved, thank goodness I've been through all those iterations over the years. But this is fun to be able to now organize it, mobilize it at a company of Zoetis' size and scope.
JM: So, I want to stay on the size issue for a moment, because you've seen fairly significant top-line and bottom-line growth over the past few years. It certainly seems well-timed with the IPO and splitting out from the parent organization. And since that time, you've just been on a phenomenal growth trend.
Managing growth is sometimes just as difficult and tends to leave the initiatives that we're talking about behind, because managing growth is a very difficult proposition. And I've found over the years, the larger the company, the more performative these initiatives tend to be. But I'm getting the sense that that's not the case here, because as we'll talk about in a little bit, the type of initiatives that you're planning and going after in regards to sustainability are global impact significant.
So, this is different than fashion and apparel, certainly, but it's not like you were working at a boutique organization there either. You were working in a pretty sizable company. Now coming into a 7 billion dollar organization, what is it like to try and affect change in such a large framework? Maybe talk about the types of resources that are available to you, how much impact you personally feel you've been able to have on the processes. And I assume that when they recruited you to come there, they had a particular set of—I don't want to call it like a suite of tools at your disposal to be able to affect this type of change, but what does that actually look like in a company of this size?
JFA: Right. One of the things that was most appealing to me as I was researching the company was the leadership and how they were prioritizing sustainability. And obviously, that starts with our CEO, Kristen Peck. She was with the organization since its founding—before that with Pfizer Animal Health—but ultimately became CEO in January of 2020, and sustainability was put at the forefront as one of the five key strategic imperatives to drive growth in animal health and to help us chart our course as we reinvent animal health for the future. And I think it starts there, I think you need the direction and the leadership, from your CEO, from your board. That's going to give you the support you need across the organization.
So, I'm fortunate enough to work with really inspiring leaders that have made this a key priority. And so, as a result of that, what I'm also seeing at Zoetis is just a lot of cross-functional coordination. We're still building a sustainability team, but my team is broader than just any sort of direct reports I have. The team is cross-functional in nature, we've assembled different groups of colleagues that are helping us drive performance to our new goals. And I think that's the magic formula, it needs to be integrated. Going back to my earlier point, if it's run in a format and a model which is siloed, it's going to have a different result.
So here, this is truly being embedded into how we work. Our colleagues feel accountable, they feel responsible for delivering on different goals that apply to their functions. So, that's critical. What I've been excited about is, we've had some early wins. Coming into the organization, within two to three months, we launched the company's first-ever baseline metrics around ESG. In November 2020, we launched our 2019 ESG review, our first comprehensive report on our ESG metrics, none of that would have been possible to pull together without cross-functional coordination from my colleagues across the business.
So, I also think our culture is primed for this, we have a number of core beliefs at Zoetis that we follow and guide our actions every single day. One of the key ones that I reflect on as being a success factor here is we are, “One Zoetis,” that being “One Zoetis” is one of our core beliefs. Another one is we run it like we own it, and I think all of those attributes play into just how successfully we’re coordinating and collaborating to bring this to life.
JM: So, I guess just as a quick aside to the type of team members that you look to bring on, whether they're internal, and you're bringing them into the process, or you're recruiting from external sources to bring them into Zoetis. One of the challenges I imagine that's different for you than other companies is that you, as you said, you're talking about an impact on 100 different countries doing business in 45 different countries.
There are language issues, there are also cultural issues around what the idea of sustainability truly means. Because that means something different in other places, depending upon geography, topography, the effects of climate change, etc., so, when you cast that net out, what are you looking for in your team members to be able to help you keep the entire globe in mind and make sure you break out of just whatever the cultural framework that we might have here in the United States is.
JFA: Yeah, and that is such an important consideration in any sustainability program, especially when it comes to people and the impact on your colleagues and on your communities. And I would say that either we follow this approach in sustainability at Zoetis which is global direction, but local impact. And through our enterprise work in sustainability, certainly directing our teams into the topic areas that we know are important for our business, such as community investment during times of disaster relief, or support for the veterinary profession through scholarships to professional programs. So, we know what's important to our business and we've identified those strategic pillars at the outset.
But we are enabling our local teams to tailor those initiatives to what's locally relevant. And I think the best place to focus on that is in our philanthropic work. This is an incredibly philanthropic company, and we've enabled our business units to take action locally to respond to what they know, which is important in the local context. I think examples of that are certainly around COVID-19, where we mobilized action as an organization, but also enabled our local colleagues to make decisions that were important to colleagues and customers in their regions. In many cases that resulted in COVID support through in-kind charitable donations, through grants to community partners. But those decisions were made locally.
So, when you think about what we're looking for in terms of the colleagues that we need to engage in this process: collaboration. We need to work in a collaborative fashion, I think the organization has already been doing that, which is why I think we're moving so quickly and advancing so successfully in driving to our sustainability goals, but you need people that are open and willing to work together.
And the other important thing I would say is tracking and reporting. You need to build that trust with your colleagues globally, to be able to encourage transparency and tracking and reporting. From where we sit at our corporate headquarters, it's important that we're tracking and understanding our impact on a local level. And that can be very hard to coordinate across so many global teams. But once you build that trust, and you set the right structure in place, it really is, again, a winning formula.
JM: So, in terms of these big plans and initiatives and support that you give, Zoetis has signed on to tackle some of the biggest challenges set forth by the UN and their Sustainable Development Goals. I'm just interested to understand sort of the process that a multinational firm goes through to evaluate where you can make a difference there, because their goals are pretty wide-reaching, you can't touch on them all. Were you part of the process to evaluate those particular goals and to figure out where Zoetis fit into that? What was that like and where did you land on that?
JFA: So, we absolutely subscribe to the overall UN Sustainable Development Goal agenda, that is driving for global growth and progress by 2030. And it was very important for us as we defined our sustainability strategy—Driven To Care—that we looked for those areas of natural alignment, where our key sustainability issues were going to be able to support UNSDGs to maximize our impact. So, before we even launched the strategy, we did define our key strategic pillars, which focus on communities, animals, and the planet, and then we took a look at where we could have the greatest impact and influence as it related to driving any of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Now reflecting back, we are the only standalone animal health company that has aligned its strategy to UNSDGs. And across the 10 that we've aligned with one of the most common ones are support of eradicating poverty, supporting the initiatives around zero hunger, as well as support for initiatives to drive good health and well-being. So, it was important to us that not only we aligned our strategy upfront, but now on an ongoing basis, we'll continue to report our progress and how we're driving impact to those goals.
JM: So, what's challenging in my mind about that is that I'm sure you've run into situations in different countries or different regions of the world, where there may not be economic or political alignment with some of the objectives that the UN lays out, but also, some of where you want that intersection to be between those goals and what you can provide. And I'm thinking—I don't know if this is necessarily a circumstance that you've run into—but you have at Zoetis a mission to really take care of the planet's animal population, irrespective of kind of where they are, or the countries that they may happen to be migrating to or reside in.
Have you found situations where you are aligned with the UN, you certainly can provide the types of services, but the structural alignment isn't there yet with a particular country to be able to facilitate the achievement of these goals? And if so, do you have to approach each territory a little bit differently? Is this more nuanced than just saying, “we're checking that box, and these are the 10 we're going to go for?”
JFA: Well, so I'll start by saying, one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals is called Partnership For The Goals. So, there is already an understanding that no company can address these challenges alone. And so, I think that's a great example of where we have found partnership to mobilize impact. And I think a good example of that is our Project Alpha, which is going into its fifth year, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And we've been working to expand access to veterinary care in underserved markets, it's a key part of our strategy, but seeing how we could partner with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to deliver this on the ground, what we're seeing now, it's been a huge success.
So, the way Project Alpha works is that we are working in collaboration with them to ultimately improve livestock health across Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as positively impacting farmer livelihoods with a particular focus on female empowerment. So, as a result, we've embedded this in our sustainability strategy, we've set five-year targets for this work, we're committed to training 100,000, farmers, veterinarians, and lab technicians through 2025 with the ambition to ensure that a high percent of the trainees are female.
And again, this directly supports additional SDGs, not just in service to Partnership For The Goals, supports gender equity, again, no poverty, no hunger, as well as good health and well-being. So, I agree with you. You need to find those partners, and those regional opportunities are going to help you drive impact in some of those far-reaching markets. It’s harder to do it alone.
JM: I'm so glad you said that, because one of the things we try to tease out of Grow For Good™ are themes that are emerging among the companies that we speak to that are trying to affect change in a particular way. Sometimes they don't necessarily relate to the core business, but they know that it's in support of the population that the core business is important to. And you have multiple constituencies obviously, you have animal constituencies, and you have humans and then of course the planet overarching itself, that's a constituency that you're taking into mind.
But the theme that you just struck on, I think is emerging in many of the conversations with the companies we speak to that have global reach is that—and for our listeners, I'm thinking about The Desai Foundation that promotes female health in India, and how it was mission-critical for them to get the support of not just the local governments and tribal areas within rural India, but to make sure that they partnered with organizations on the ground as well.
Because you cannot possibly understand the local circumstances anywhere coming through a corporate lens, and the bigger you get, the narrower ironically, our lens tends to become because we see everything the same. So, that type of partnership is really extraordinary. Beyond Alpha, can you point to a couple of other partnerships that you might have on the ground in places that have maybe shifted your approach, or made you say, “Oh, we're missing this key block, so, let me delve into the partner network to try and support what we're trying to accomplish here.”
JFA: Yeah, well, I hope to be able to come back and share more with you once we've announced some of the new work that we're going to be putting into place, especially on a philanthropic angle. I'll give you an example, I think 2020 and the pandemic have opened our eyes to the challenges around mental wellness. And I was amazed coming into Zoetis to also learn how veterinarians are very affected by mental wellness challenges just given the nature of their work. What we have found is, we've absolutely needed some strategic partners in certain markets to help us provide resources to support veterinarians that are put into challenging situations.
Namely—when you think about the bushfires in Australia last year—we partnered with Beyond Blue, to help us provide resources to support veterinarians’ mental health, and well-being to help them overcome in some cases or compassion, fatigue, help them overcome a lot of the trauma they face through the experiences that they're living both with the animal and even as caretakers.
So, I would say we've identified an opportunity to do more, I think there's going to be more to come. And it's absolutely going to be in partnership with organizations that are going to help us scale and expand the reach.
JM: That's perfect. I'm sort of smiling because I have teenage daughters and as they begin to think about their careers, I think it’s natural for anybody— we're a big pet household, so, anybody that has pets to think that someday well, “maybe I can be a veterinarian”, and then you watch sort of the wheels turn, and come to that inevitable, “but I don't think I could ever put a pet down or I don't think I could ever, it would break my heart daily to see pets that are sick, and you're seeing them but their worst moments.”
And when you think about our connection with animals in such an emotional way, I guess in some way I understood intellectually but not emotionally, how difficult and draining that must be to be in that profession. And then to see something as extreme as what you're describing with the Australian wildfires, had to be so taxing in a way that you can't even prepare for, I think that's a kind of a beautiful and brilliant place for you at Zoetis to land to think about the mental health of the people that are doing the caregiving. That's amazing.
JFA: It’s essential for us to ensure that veterinarians are experiencing a rewarding and thriving profession. We want to see more young people aspire to be veterinarians, and that's going to be good for the planet, good for all of our mental health and well-being as we think of the benefits of pet ownership, but it's also good for business. And so, we have an opportunity to kind of provide support and hopefully relief to veterinarians that are faced with these challenges.
And it's interesting to hear you are a pet owner, your daughters even contemplating if they would be vets—I fall into that same category. And it's disappointing to see that many young people between the ages of nine and 14 start to think about being a veterinarian, but often they change their minds around 12 to 17 years old. And I think we have an opportunity to think about what is the mentorship, what is the support that we can provide that can hopefully enable people to understand why it's such a rewarding profession and think about all the positive elements. Of course there will be challenges, but we have an opportunity to mentor and steward people further into understanding how rewarding it will be.
JM: Oh, absolutely. I'm going back to your example of the Australian wildfires because I hadn't thought in those terms, but I was looking at Zoetis and the company also mentioned that you have support for disaster relief. So, I imagine that’s where that comes into play. Just by nature of what disasters are, it's impossible to fully prepare for a disaster. You can do your best to be ready for the fallout of one which can't fully prepare for disaster. And climate change is such an existential threat, that we can plan for certain resilience models in our structures, but the fallout of that is never something that you can absolutely say with certainty, “Well, this is how that's going to go.” So, when you model disaster preparedness and support for that, what does that process even look like?
JFA: Well, so, on a philanthropic level, from a disaster relief perspective of course we would prefer that there were no disasters. But we have enabled our local teams to be responsive and reactive when there are times of need, and we've got amazing veterinarians across Zoetis, that they do a variety of things with their customers, whether it's partnering up with other nonprofits such as American Humane, and we're going out there and providing support during hurricanes, or other natural disasters. The stories are endless when you think about the way this organization has responded, both in in-kind donations, but also in service together to support animals and pet owners.
But to your point about climate change, certainly we're all reflecting on what we've heard has been the impact throughout 2020, it’s one of the warmest years on record, but also importantly, such a disruptive time where we've seen more floods, and more people around the world displaced due to climate change. So, we are also doing our part in terms of making sure we are responsible around our footprint. A big part of our strategy and one of our pillars is centered around the work we're doing to protect our planet.
And we've set our own targets around 100%, renewable energy sourcing and supporting greater energy efficiency, improving our packaging. We have a role to play in that as well. And our colleagues across the globe at so many of our different manufacturing and R&D sites, are diving right in, and are making huge strides towards these goals. So, again, it takes a lot of collaboration and coordination. But we have incredible colleagues at the organization. I can certainly attest to that.
JM: Just to go internal again, and we'll get out of the disaster zone for a second. It seems to me— and I could be wrong on this—but it seems to me that part of what kind of comes under the umbrella of your role is also determining the intersectionality of diversity, equity and inclusion and justice standards within the company itself. Do you take an active role in your daily responsibility in trying to incorporate those ideas? And if so, how does that kind of fall under the idea of sustainability writ large for a company like this?
JFA: I'll start with the end to get to the beginning of your question. And I think that this is one of the reasons why we've seen just the definition of how we classify this work evolve over time. As companies are talking about their sustainability initiatives and their sustainability strategy, it's a much more inclusive umbrella of initiatives within. And it's different than, again, the years past where it was more about just philanthropy and giving and responsibility. When you think about your sustainability opportunity and your footprint, it is inclusive of the innovation in your portfolio, it is inclusive of your giving of course. But diversity, equity, and inclusion are a big part of how you will drive for a more sustainable business over time,
Last year Zoetis appointed a head of talent, diversity, equity and inclusion, and was one of the first animal health companies to set ambitions to drive more diversity across our business. And it's been really amazing to see what the organization has mobilized and it is integrated into everything we do.
Now, almost one year later, after announcing these aspirations, we have six colleague resource groups assembled across the organization that are global in nature. All of our colleagues are invited to participate. We've established a diversity, equity, and inclusion council across the organization. And we've set some ambitions, namely to increase our women and senior management to 40% by 2025, as well as to increase representation of people of color to 25% in the US by 2025.
We've already seen incredible success from this team's work. And as an example, earlier this year we were awarded, as recognition, a 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, which is a signal that we are an inclusive culture and business for LGBTQ. So, it is embedded in everything we do. And I think that what we're also seeing is just the value that it brings to the organization as we support our colleagues, and enable them to be in an environment where they're going to thrive, and they're going to be supported.
And coming into the business, having been here six months, I can only just say it is, you feel the inclusion. Even though many of us are still working remotely, we're not physically in an office together, the feeling of inclusion transcends any sort of microphone or screen. It's truly a big part of the experience at Zoetis. So that team’s doing amazing work and well on their way to achieve their aspirations.
JM: So, as we draw near the close here, just to bring it back on a personal note, you and I were talking right before we came on about sort of self-care and an article that had mentioned that you make sure that you get your seven hours of sleep a night. And I was saying, well, thank goodness, because I'm always sort of driven a little mad by the people who say, “I only need two to three hours,” and I'm like, how do you function, I need my sleep. But I want to bridge that to something else that you mentioned, that I think is kind of important, because a lot of the companies that we speak to—no I'm going to say every company that we speak to, is largely guided by, I would say empaths.
So, you're talking about people that have a greater sense of social responsibility, but also their responsibility within the larger framework of their organization and the world. And this type of work can be very taxing. So, we were talking about mental health before, we were talking about taking care of ourselves.
I see it, we're a very small company of about 25 people, we have a director of social impact, who, when you say as an empath takes these things on her shoulders, and sometimes it can be truly overwhelming, because you're trying to do the right thing, and do business. And sometimes those things are not in alignment, and hard choices are to be made.
And in these roles, in your role of sustainability for such an enormous company, knowing that you still have miles to go in making the progress to hit your targets, along with the other artificial targets of the UN that you're going forward to, it can be a lot. And I think a lot of the people that we speak to, and a lot of the people that listen to Grow For Good™ feel that sense of responsibility, and just the weight and the urgency of it all. So, how do you help yourself and your team kind of resource for that, to make sure that you are still happy, healthy, productive, and not just weighed down by the whole thing?
JFA: Well, it starts, in my opinion, with role modeling the behavior as a leader. We have an accountability to role model the behavior that will create an environment where people can thrive, and where people can professionally succeed, but where people can also find the rest and the self-care, to be able to rejuvenate. And I think 2020 reminded us all that burnout is real—whether you're working out of your home office or your bedroom, or you're in a physical office—burnout happens, and we have to acknowledge it and be sensitive to it.
So, from my vantage point, it's finding a way to make sure that you are having open and honest dialogues with your colleagues. It starts there. You want people to bring their full selves to work. And that's something that I've seen our leaders role model, I've seen our CEO, Kristen Peck strongly endorse, we want people to bring their full selves. And when people need to raise their hand and say, I need to be off-camera, or I need to take a break during lunchtime because my kids are homeschooling and I need to prepare them a meal. That's okay. And so, the way I try to enable that through my role is again, it's role modeling that behavior. I'll block my calendar if I need to have lunch with my son or I need to feed him. It's just basic needs here.
And again, across Zoetis, we've also been so sensitive to try to enable camera-free Fridays, giving people just a bit of a break, and not feeling the pressure to be on camera. And even where possible, try to have a meeting free Friday afternoon. Give people time to just have some time to catch up and to manage your emails before they go into the weekend. No emails on weekends have become also something that I try to follow, as best I can. But I do think it honestly starts with role modeling the behavior, but building honest and genuine connections with your colleagues, where you can create an environment where people will be comfortable to let you know how they feel, and when they and when they need a break.
JM: Yeah. So, just to finish on Zoetis, you have a lot going on. Personally, within your role, you have a lot going on corporately. If you had to identify one thing, one initiative that you're working on right now that just makes your heart sing where you're like,”I can't wait to do this work and to see where it takes us.” What's the one thing that's just like lighting your candle right now?
JFA: So, throughout my career, I've seen the power of how community support and strategic philanthropy can unlock amazing things for a brand. It unlocks colleague engagement, it provides support and resources to the communities where you live, work, and serve that help your stakeholders thrive. And as I said, this is an incredibly philanthropic organization when you look back, and we've given over $6 million throughout 2020, over eight percent of that was towards COVID relief, supporting causes that range from again, veterinary education, disaster relief, and professional programs and many others. But I am excited to see where we're going to take that. As I mentioned, we have exciting things underway to further bolster and amplify our giving in a very strategic manner, in a way that's even continuing to engage our colleagues on that journey of finding ways to engage them in supporting communities. So, that's what is driving me at the moment. And I'm excited to be able to share more with you in the near future.
JM: I love it. Jeannette Ferran Astorga, you've been an absolute pleasure to speak with. I thank you for first of all, doing the work that you're doing, but also agreeing to come on and share it with everybody. Are there areas that you can point people to on your website to learn more about some of the initiatives that you're tackling or anything external that you'd like people to know about?
JFA: So, zoetis.com is a great resource, we have a whole sustainability section on our website. So, it's definitely the place where I would direct anyone to learn more about our programs. I encourage you to follow Zoetis on Twitter or if you're on LinkedIn, we're regularly publishing amazing content on LinkedIn in particular from our leaders. A lot of great thought leadership, and insights into what's happening across Zoetis can be found through our various LinkedIn channels.
And we have our sustainability report coming at the end of Q2. So, I hope that your listeners can keep an eye out for our 2020 sustainability report, it'll be a full view into just how we're progressing towards our new Driven To Care aspirations and an update to our ESG metrics. And we'll be sharing a lot more about our future ambitions as well.
JM: I bet during the back half of June your calendar’s going to be pretty blocked as you try to get through that, I know that those reports can be massive.
JFA: But they’re a lot of fun to pull together. Again, in the spirit of collaboration, you have to work across the organization to curate, and just assess all of the amazing highlights from the year, so as a new player to Zoetis I've also met a lot of people along the way as we've been pulling together our sustainability reports. It's been a lot of fun.
JM: Jeannette, thank you for the time today. It's a great conversation, I appreciate everything that you brought to the show. Thank you.
JFA: Thanks, Jed. It's been a lot of fun talking with you!
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