A circular economy requires a circular strategy. And this is what PepsiCo, the global food and beverage company that includes Pepsi-Cola, Gatorade, Quaker, and SodaStream brands, announced in September.
Its new pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) strategy includes a comprehensive plan to source, produce, and deliver products in a sustainable way from beginning to end.
Its three-pronged approach focuses on positive agriculture, positive value chain, and positive choices.
“Pep+ directly links the future of our business with the future of our planet, for the benefit of both,” said Jim Andrew, chief sustainability officer at PepsiCo. “From how we source ingredients and make and sell our products; to how we inspire consumers through our iconic brands to make better choices for themselves and the planet; to how we support communities and improve livelihoods throughout our supply chain.”
Its positive agriculture plan aims to spread regenerative farming practices across seven million acres by 2030. This is about equal to its entire agricultural footprint. It would also allow PepsiCo to remove at least three million tons of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). In addition, its agenda includes boosting the livelihoods of over 250,000 people across its supply chain and sustainably source 100% of its key ingredients.
Its positive value chain plan includes building a circular and inclusive value chain. Goals to that effect include achieving net-zero emissions by 2040, becoming net water positive by 2030, and introducing a series of sustainable packaging.
More specifically, net water positive means that the company will replenish more water than it uses by 2030. This also includes PepsiCo Foundation’s additional investment of $1 million with its long-term nonprofit partner WaterAid to provide safe water to families in Sub-Saharan Africa. The program has already invested more than $53 million over a course of 15 years to provide safe water access to 20 countries in that area.
To introduce more sustainable packaging into the value chain, PepsiCo set new goals to reduce virgin plastic per serving by 50% globally by 2030 and use 50% recycled content in its plastic packaging. The company also plans to expand its SodaStream business on a global scale, which will help eliminate as much as 78 billion single-use plastic bottles by 2025. PepsiCo already offers 100% rPET packaging in 22 markets globally.
The positive value chain initiative also includes a $570 million investment into diversity, equity, and inclusion projects. The goal is to include these principles across the company, its business partners, and the communities it serves.
“Like many of our peers, PepsiCo is on a journey from awareness to commitment to action,” said Ramon Laguarta, PepsiCo’s chairman and CEO. “I am proud to say that our commitment to equity and inclusion is stronger today than at any time in our history. We understand that diversity of thought and experience gives us valuable strategic insights, fuels our innovation, and helps us attract the best talent.” Even so, there remains more work to do, he noted in the press release. Finally, the third initiative includes positive choices. This means incorporating more diverse ingredients, expanding its nuts and seeds category, accelerating the reduction of added sugars and sodium by using science-based targets, cooking its food with healthier oils, and continuing to scale new business models that will require little or no single-use packaging.