Team Bayer

Leader Discusses Health Literacy as a Key to Sustainability

A panel of Bayer employees at the Sustainable Brands Brand-led Culture Change

Sustainability is fully embedded into the consumer health business and Bayer enables access by leveraging a deep history of innovation to develop the right formula and the right price point in the right packaging. 

At a recent conference of corporate sustainability leaders, Monica Alfonso-Muzquiz explained that half the world doesn’t have access to basic healthcare, a crisis Bayer’s Director of Innovation and Commercial Operations takes seriously. Having just added Sustainability Co-lead, North American to her title, she’s new to the responsibility of sustainability, but a veteran of knowing how to prioritize and operationalize solutions – just what Bayer North America needs as it scales its Nutrient Gap Initiative and other social impact programs. 

The conference, Sustainable Brands Brand-led Culture Change, was an opportunity for Monica and her fellow panelists - Jennifer Kaczmarek, VP, Global Sustainability Communications, Kelly Bristow, Global Nutrition Affairs Lead, and Vitamin Angel’s VP of Marketing Michelle Robbins, who is a key partner on the Nutrient Gap Initiative - to discuss the critical role health literacy plays in driving sustained habit change. It also provided Monica with her first external opportunity to highlight Bayer’s sustainability work. 

Monica, who grew up in Mexico City, spent her early career at P&G in Mexico and Canada in both finance and consumer marketing roles. She then moved to Unilever Canada and the United States to tackle Consumer Marketing Insights before joining Bayer in 2017. As a result of her breadth of experience across many functions, and her ability to apply strategic thinking to any problem, Monica added sustainability in Canada to her remit, and is now reaching into the U.S. as well.  

“I’ve loved my career so far and am grateful that I’ve been able to experience so many parts of the businesses I’ve been involved with, but the best job to have is one you feel passionately about,” said Monica. “And I feel passionate about sustainability.” 

Monica recognizes that Bayer’s work in Consumer Health is a transformative piece of the sustainability puzzle. In addition to the disparities of access, she also identifies a lack of health education as a critical issue. 

“Health literacy – or the ability to make information more accessible, to provide the tools and empower people to make better decisions – is a critical part of our work,” added Monica. “Our Global CH goal is to ensure access to 100 million people by 2030 – it’s not a small goal! So far, we’ve reached 28 million people globally as of May and we’re on track to deliver on our target of 49M people for the year.” 

Bayer is in a unique position because of the intersection between its sustainability goals and the commercialization of products. As a result, sustainability is fully embedded in the business, requiring Bayer to leverage its history of innovation to develop the right formula and the right price point in the right packaging, which enables access. 

“When we follow the sustainability design and business principles we’ve established, as well as leverage our strategic partnerships, we can create solutions that are good for the planet and generations to come, as well as good for our business,” Monica said.

3 min read