How McCormick Portugal’s Nuno Santos Supports People, Communities, and Our Planet
Growing up in the small fishing village of Santa Cruz, outside of the capital city of Lisboa, Nuno Santos developed a passion for the beauty and simplicity of nature. As the Distribution Manager for Ibéria at McCormick Portugal, he brings that passion to work every day, helping to reduce our impact on the planet and increase the health and well-being of employees. Nuno oversees the day-to-day operations of the main Lisboa distribution center and five distribution hubs in the Ibérian market, including supply chain, distribution, purchasing, warehouses, safety, health, and environment.
One of the first projects he led after arriving at McCormick, was eliminating the use of plastic in day-to-day operations. Aligning with our Purpose-led Performance principles, he partnered with the local Safety, Health, and Environment team and Human Resources to successfully achieve that goal. He also transferred logistical activities from a third party in Spain to McCormick Portugal’s internal operations, reducing waste and costs. Nuno manages environmental and sustainability initiatives locally and involves employees in those efforts as often as possible. Committed to reducing the carbon footprints of the team in Lisboa, he has made bicycles available for employees to use for commuting, shortened the workday by 30 minutes to save half an hour of electricity a day, and organized the planting of 10 football fields of trees.
Speaking five languages has proven valuable to Nuno, who currently manages a team of 35, representing a diverse group of people from eight countries of origin. Last year, he launched “Meet Your Colleague” sessions, where a member of the team introduces themselves and shares their personal and professional stories with their colleagues. “These open discussions help build connections and foster a sense of comradery and inclusion, which is important for any team,” said Nuno, “They create a safe and supportive workplace where all of our employees can thrive.”
Recognizing the importance of staying connected to others, Nuno has initiated activities to help bring his team together during the pandemic. They participate in virtual happy hours, yoga and mindfulness classes, and gymnastics. And when some of his colleagues began feeling restless because of the restrictions in place, he found ways to help them feel more productive. For example, he introduced them to Be My Eyes, a free mobile app designed to help sighted volunteers assist the blind and visually impaired with everyday tasks with the click of a button. From reading instructions and checking expiration dates, to distinguishing colors and navigating new surroundings, volunteers help the blind and visually impaired lead more independent lives. “Participating in this project has given the team a much-needed sense of purpose, along with the satisfaction of helping others, which is critical for their mental health and well-being,” said Nuno.
In an effort to be an involved global citizen, Nuno gives back to the communities where he lives and works by volunteering with local organizations, in Portugal and beyond. With the help of his colleagues, Nuno organizes donations of toys, clothes, and basic goods for communities in eastern Morocco, where many people live nomadically and go without essential items. Finding communities in need and discovering how to help them isn’t difficult. “I travel to remote locations with a simple backpack, observe what I see, and connect with people. After listening to their stories and sharing mine with them, I often gain their trust, and they welcome my gestures of goodwill,” he says.
On the island of Praia, off the coast of West Africa, in the capital city of Cape Vert, Nuno has found many ways to support remote communities. He teaches English classes that are in such demand, he purchased a computer with internet access for the community so they can enroll in online English classes when he goes home. After observing that most people in fishing villages do not know how to swim, he worked with the locals to organize swimming lessons for children. “The residents in Cape Vert are some of the most resilient people I have ever met. They know the real meaning of self-sustainability,” Nuno said. “Many live without electricity, plant and harvest their own crops, and raise their own cattle. They survive by sharing with one another and valuing human connections more than possessions.”
As he continues to lead McCormick Portugal into a healthier and more sustainable future, Nuno is committed to minimizing product and packaging waste in the distribution centers and warehouses he manages, and to looking at gaps across operations to see where he can make further improvements. “There is always another opportunity to plant a tree, use solar panels, get rid of plastic, or grow your own vegetables. The key is staying focused and dedicated to our goals and inspiring others to do the same,” Nuno said.