PepsiCo has published its 2019 Sustainability Report, highlighting progress towards its sustainability goals and reaffirming the company’s agenda to help build a more sustainable food system. 

“Today’s global environmental and societal pressures are bringing into sharp focus the need for systemic change,” said Ramon Laguarta, PepsiCo’s CEO and Chairman. “These challenges not only require deeper commitment from the private sector, they also require demonstrated and sustained action. As a global food and beverage leader, we have a responsibility to use our scale and influence to help tackle long-term challenges, including addressing the threats to our food system which have been further strained by the unfolding pandemic. We’re making significant progress that I’m very proud of. We know it will take even more, however. From how we grow food and make products, to inspiring positive change – we are committed to help build a better future for people and the planet.” 

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The 2019 Sustainability Report shares progress across the priority areas where PepsiCo believes it can have the most meaningful impact: agriculture, water, climate, packaging, products, and people. Highlights include:

Reducing emission across its value chain

PepsiCo reduced its absolute GHG emissions by 6% across its global value chain in 2019, making progress towards its goal of reducing 20% by 2030 against its 2015 baseline. 

Agreeing to science-based emissions-reduction targets aimed at limiting global warming to 1.5°C

In April 2020, PepsiCo affirmed its plans to accelerate action on climate change by signing the UN’s Business Ambition for 1.5°C pledge. This is part of PepsiCo’s long-term strategy for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Cutting emissions across the manufacturing process

In 2019, PepsiCo achieved 100% renewable electricity in nine European markets – including the United Kingdom. Across its manufacturing network, PepsiCo will continue to invest in renewable sources and will use the power of its teams to drive behavioural change and promote efficient methods.

Creating a circular economy for packaging

Packaging waste is an urgent global problem. While plastic is a lightweight and highly effective packaging material that helps to keep food safe, accessible, and affordable, only 14% of what is used is effectively recycled.

PepsiCo is working to create a circular economy to ensure less of its packaging becomes waste, therefore reducing the carbon intensity of its packaging. PepsiCo’s sustainable plastics vision is based on three interconnected strategies: reducing the amount of plastic it uses, recycling more plastic, and reinventing the plastic packaging it uses. In-line with its UK Plastics Pact commitments.

PepsiCo is working to increase the amount of recycled PET it uses in plastics bottles, with a goal of 30% recycled PET inclusion in bottles by 2025. Within the past 12 months, the business also concluded a compact packaging project, resulting in a 30% reduction in outer packaging across the six and 12 multipack packaging of some of its most popular brands. 

Investing and scaling-up precision agriculture technology to improve efficiency of its farmers

Through PepsiCo’s Sustainable Farming Programme, in 2019 the company worked with more than 1500 farmers and growers across Europe to reduce its environmental impact by increasing efficiencies and growing more with fewer resources. New innovations,  developed in the UK, such as PepsiCo’s precision agriculture technology and the Cool Farm Tool, enable farmers to quantify on-farm greenhouse gas emissions.

PepsiCo continues to build on the monitoring technology it co-developed with Cambridge University, empowering farmers to use the latest mobile and web-based capabilities to monitor over 48,000 hectares of potato production. In the UK, and 13  other European markets, PepsiCo captures in-field data to help farmers better understand how to increase yield and crop quality, while optimising the inputs needed, such as water and fertiliser, which can help to reduce resource use and GHG emissions.

Through data-led approaches, the company is developing more efficient farming practices to build stronger crop resilience. The crop monitoring system has been used to track potato varieties and seed supply over several years. The benefits from this program became evident during the heavy rainfall in the 2019 harvesting season, as the company was able to work more closely with local farmers to extend the harvest timeframe and avoid crop loss.

“As we look to the decade ahead, global efforts to mitigate climate change and support a more sustainable and inclusive future are more crucial than ever,” said Simon Lowden, PepsiCo’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “From working with farmers to grow crops more sustainably, to innovating around packaging, we remain focused on our long-term agenda. It will require agility, collective action and collaboration, and as we think about our approach, we’re determined to embrace an important lesson of COVID-19: The world can mobilise quickly when working together toward a shared goal. We know building a more resilient food system is possible, and we’ll continue working with partners around the world to catalyse change for a better tomorrow.”
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One project which has contributed to the business’s sustainability goals is Splash Cone. The simple system helps save water when potatoes are washed prior to frying. Devised at the company’s Global R&D centre in Leicester, and tested at the adjoining Walkers Crisps factory, the innovation is on course to save more than 640 million litres of water a year as it is rolled out to all our crisp factories globally.

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