Smart Energy Voices- Episode 78

Smart Energy Voices- Episode 78

Meeting Renewable Energy Goals: A Portfolio View with Quen Howard

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This episode of Smart Energy Voices is an interview from Smart Energy Decisions’ recent Renewable Energy Forum featuring Quen Howard, Indirect Procurement Manager of VF Corporation, and Debra Chanil, Smart Energy Decisions’ Director of Editorial and Research. They discuss the challenges of implementing renewables across a portfolio of consumer brands.


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Quen’s position at VF [01:34]
  • VF’s renewables and sustainability goals [02:59]
  • Getting people involved [05:33]
  • Choosing the right suppliers [07:05]


VF Corporation’s sustainability goals

VF Corporation is one of the largest footwear apparel companies in the world, representing twelve brands that empower individuals in their lifestyles and activities. VF has bold and ambitious renewable energy goals supported by science-based targets. Its goal is to utilize 100% renewable energy by 2026, and currently, the corporation is 34% towards achieving that target. VF also aims to reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 by 55% and reduce Scope 3 by 30% by 2030.

Creating a team throughout the company

Renewable energy goals benefit from a robust, cross-functional team. Members of the procurement team need to be involved, as well as legal, sustainability, tax, and finance. Quen recommends meeting early and often within a project phase. By having that robust team involved at the start, once the project starts to come through, the team can pivot quickly if a project no longer makes sense. Renewable projects can be complex, so having the right individual at the table with deep expertise helps streamline the process.

Different functions in a company speak different languages, and each has its own priorities. Having regular meetings as a project is developed gives the ability to deal with issues that arise from those various perspectives early, ultimately preventing anything from stumbling the team when the time comes to execute an agreement.


Choosing the right suppliers

Partnering with the right supplier makes a world of difference. The right supplier will want to provide educational guidance before the team approaches the executive leadership. Unique challenges will arise, and having the supplier’s expertise will mitigate those challenges and help identify opportunities. That involvement allows the team to move more quickly and capitalize on those opportunities. 

When choosing a supplier, Quen looks for a robust and deep knowledge of the utility and energy market and a proven track record of delivering renewable projects. Strong customer service is also a sign of a good supplier. The supplier must have the bandwidth and footprint to work with a multinational company and have robust reporting and analytics capabilities.

Connect with Quen Howard

Quen Howard is a passionate procurement professional with over 17 years of sourcing experience. He has a broad range of experience across different sectors, including manufacturing, agriculture/chemicals, and textile apparel. This unique background, paired with his strong customer focus and stakeholder engagement, has been instrumental in leading complex projects. Quen is currently a procurement Manager at VF Corporation and supports packaging materials, energy, and MRO categories. During this time, he has been engaged in several of VF’s sustainability projects and initiatives.

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