We are embedding life cycle thinking in our product ideation and stage-gate approval processes, with the goal of making new products more sustainable than the previous generation.
Sustainable from the Start (SftS) provides tools to estimate a product’s potential greenhouse gas footprint, water consumption impact and packaging recyclability during its early design and development phase. It also provides guidelines on how to reduce those impacts with changes to ingredients, packaging, technology and distribution. Results from the tools are then incorporated into the new product development business process for visibility and decision-making.
The SftS Program is managed by the Global Sustainability Office with input from functional experts such as Supply Chain, Research and Development, Commercialization, and Marketing. Our assessment tools were developed in partnership with external sustainability experts, and they are reviewed and updated annually for accuracy with best available data.
On a quarterly basis, PepsiCo’s Global Sustainability Office evaluates progress within our portfolio at category- and brand levels. We also collect feedback annually from internal stakeholders with the goal of improving communication, processes and tools.
The program supports our packaging, climate and water sustainability goals.
We launched SftS as a pilot in 2018 and as full-scale program in 2019-2020 including rolling out new tools and trainings globally. Since then, we have assessed over 700 projects from Research & Development teams in over 50 markets globally. In 2020 alone, our teams assessed over 400 projects, including new product launches, packaging changes, and product reformulations.
The program currently focuses on new products, and by 2022, its scope will expand to include our portfolio of existing products. In 2020, PepsiCo began using SftS tools to calculate environmental footprints for approximately 25 percent of the company’s top-selling products made and sold in markets today, such as Pepsi and Lay’s. For each product evaluated, teams are required to complete the sustainability assessment and report key performance metrics - such as greenhouse gas intensity, water consumption intensity, and packaging recyclability - throughout the product design and development process. Projects that do not meet design standards or are not aligned with our long-term sustainability goals - such as non-recyclable packaging - will be required to track future solutions or mitigation actions.
Embedding SftS into our business functions takes close collaboration with key internal partners, including the Research & Development and Marketing teams that drive new product development. Teams are given the knowledge, tools and training to measure products’ environmental impact. This in turn helps to inform decisions about sustainable design alternatives and potential trade-offs for factors such as packaging materials or ingredients.
In 2021, we plan to assess the environmental footprint of all new products with packaging changes or ingredient reformulations through the SftS Program. We expect to formalize the program's key performance indicators and set internal goals, building on data and lessons learned from the program’s first year.
As PepsiCo continues to work to achieve its PepsiCo Positive agenda, teams will continue to build on lessons from internal product footprinting tools and identify strategies to shift the food and beverage categories globally in a more sustainable direction. As we continue to strengthen our tools and assess more products, PepsiCo also aims to share product-level sustainability data more transparently with consumers through our portfolio of more nutritious products and labelling efforts.