This article first appeared in Convenience & Impulse Retailing, authored by Tom Oakley-Newell
The impacts of climate change are being felt and seen around the world in devastating measures, from flooding in India, droughts in Europe, to bushfires here in our own backyard.
With concern growing about how to not only manage, but prevent, these catastrophes, companies are under increasing pressure to reduce their impact towards climate change.
Colin Matthews, PepsiCo APAC sustainability and A/NZ engineering director tells us more about the company’s sustainability strategy.
Q: Could you outline the key commitments that PepsiCo has made as part of its sustainability roadmap?
Matthews: PepsiCo Positive is our strategic end-to-end transformation with sustainability at the centre of how the company will create growth and value by operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive change for the planet and people.
PepsiCo Positive drives action and progress across three key pillars – positive agriculture, positive value chain and positive choices.
PepsiCo is working to spread regenerative practices to restore the earth across land equal to the company’s entire agricultural footprint (approx. 7 million acres), sustainably source key crops and ingredients and improve the livelihoods of more than 250,00 people in its agricultural supply chain.
- In South Australia, Mark Pye, who has been supplying potatoes to PepsiCo for many years has implemented a composting system on his 600 acre farm. The composting system utilities waste to enhance the soil the potatoes are grown in. The compost (a mixture of wood, fibrous material, manure, straw and water) is made on site with large mounds scattered across the farm that are managed closely – the compost is ‘cooked’ and turned at just the right time to ensure its efficacy. When added to soil the compost delivers nutritional, conditioning and water holding capacity benefits that result in higher yields and increased crop uniformity.
- PepsiCo ANZ sources 100 percent of its potatoes sustainably – across environmental, social and economic factors.
Positive Value Chain
PepsiCo will help build a circular and inclusive value chain. In 2020, PepsiCo committed to transitioning to 100 per cent renewable electricity globally by 2040 – PepsiCo ANZ is committed to 100 per cent renewable electricity by the end of this year. By the end of the year, consumers in Australia will also be able to recycle all of their PepsiCo snacks packaging via their home curb side recycling bin for cardboard and plastic trays and REDcycle collection bins for soft plastic packaging.
PepsiCo continues to evolve its portfolio of food and beverage products so that they are better for the planet and people. Last year PepsiCo ANZ launched Smith’s Baked – a chip with 50 percent less fat when compared to our Crinkle Cut potato chips. And in 2019 we moved from palm oil to Aussie grown canola, removing 1,700 tonnes of saturated fat from Australia’s food supply per year. Seventy per cent of our snack portfolio complies with our goal not to exceed 1.3mg of sodium per calorie.
Q: What are the biggest challenges to creating a more sustainable food supply chain?
Matthews: Now more than ever consumers are aware of the interconnected nature of our food system – its impact on our planet, its support for our communities and its ability to provide nourishment. Drastic shifts such as climate change threaten the health of our planet and communities and also present challenges for our business. As a company that sources crops from over 7 million acres of farmland in 60 different countries, PepsiCo has deep roots in the global food system.
Q: Has implementing new sustainability measures effected revenue?
Matthews: Working to transform the way we create shared value by operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive change for the planet and people will make us a better company, with purpose more deeply integrated into our business strategy. It will also make us faster and stronger, enabling accelerated growth and continued investment in our people, business, and communities.
Q: Are you seeing a consumer trend towards purchasing “greener” products?
Matthews: Definitely – our consumers are demanding products that are more sustainable and made with minimal impact on the environment.
Q: How important is creating a more sustainable food system to PepsiCo?
Matthews: We believe that there is an opportunity to change how the world produces, distributes, consumes, and disposes of foods and beverages in order to tackle the shared challenges we face. We aim to use our scale, reach and expertise to help build a more sustainable food system; one that can meet human needs for nutrition and enjoyment, and continue to drive economic and social development, without exceeding the natural boundaries of the planet.