Introducing: Audrey Jean-baptiste
Can you tell us a little about your career path and your position at BV?
Before becoming a Global Key Account Manager for Bureau Veritas’ Agriculture Global Business Line (GBL), I was an agricultural commodities trader for Louis Dreyfus Company, supporting sustainability projects around traceability and regenerative agriculture. Alongside this trading background, I also have some experience in the fast-moving consumer goods industry. This career path has given me a good understanding of the upstream side of things, including the challenges of implementing a global solution embracing the whole supply chain. As Global Key Account Manager, I support BV’s core agriculture strategy of supporting in the top 10 or so largest global trading companies – the ones that are leading the show. I also support our Operating Groups (OGs) looking to switch to new approaches. And on top of that, I am involved in the roll-out of V-TRACE (our verified product traceability tool) at a global level and across all business lines. Sustainable usage of natural resources is key in agriculture.
How do you contribute to the sustainable management of such resources?
Sustainability is no longer a standalone subject: it is woven into every aspect of our day-to-day work. And it is a subject that keeps expanding, as there is still so much to be done to feed, dress and make the world go round – preferably using biodiesel! In the Agri Service Line, we have worked hard on increasing our sustainable agri-service offering and collaboration between GBLs. I am proud of how we support our local teams, equipping them to develop further sustainable services. This is definitely what we should be focusing on: we all need to make a positive impact on the world we live in, at our own level and in both our personal and professional lives. Today at BV, we offer more lab analysis than ever before, we promote precision agriculture using drones and satellite images, we support regenerative agriculture practices, we offer training on good farming practices, we verify our clients’ Codes of Conduct, carry out farm site audits, certify sustainable label schemes and provide a way of verifying traceability thanks to our V-TRACE tool, supporting better governance of ESG and quality KPIs.
What’s been your greatest professional achievement at BV?
My greatest achievement so far has been federating our V-TRACE ambassadors in all BSLs—without even having met a fifth of them—within a year of my arrival at BV. Our calendars are filling up with client meetings and we now know exactly what approach we need to adopt. But since this is not part of our core job, it is not always easy. We want to get as many clients as possible on board, given the need for such a tool, what with increasing regulation and pressure to take action on and back up sustainability claims. V-TRACE is a solution that offers a vast range of possibilities, and that can of course seem daunting at first. But it is truly a unique solution and something that really differentiates BV from our competitors.
In your opinion, what will be the main challenges for the agricultural sector in the next ten years and what will BV’s role be?
Agriculture is at the heart of the world’s food, feed, textile and biofuel challenges – both current and future. The sector needs to change and start thinking differently about how to do business without jeopardizing our natural resources and the environment, despite growing global demand. With BV’s extensive expertise and presence on the ground, we are well placed to reinvent ourselves, to be proactive and to support this change. We champion change on an international scale, rather than at a local level through isolated initiatives. We all pull together, joining forces and leveraging our skills and expertise. Our clients do not necessarily have all the requisite skills to respond to their new needs or the expertise to know how to meet demand with a limited budget. As a result, demand for our consulting services will no doubt increase. And by building on our strong relations with the top 10 agri players, we hope to pool certain services between clients.