Windmills powering Tropicana production, electric trucks delivering Cheetos, crops fertilized with Walkers potato peels: At PepsiCo, the pursuit of transformative ideas like these is stepping up the company’s fight against climate change in a very big way.
In the face of an escalating climate crisis, the company has unveiled an ambitious new goal to cut carbon emissions by more than 40% by 2030 (against a 2015 baseline) — more than doubling the previous climate objective. This is expected to result in the reduction of over 26 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions — the equivalent of taking five million-plus cars off the road for a full year.
“The severe impacts from climate change are worsening, and we must accelerate the urgent systemic changes needed to address it,” says PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta. Moving up the company’s timeline is crucial, considering the dire consequences for waiting. “There is simply no other option but immediate and aggressive action,” Laguarta says.
There is simply no other option but immediate and aggressive action.
Of course, a company the size of PepsiCo can have significant impact — with opportunities at every point in the production cycle to reduce and remove greenhouse gas emissions. The company’s goal is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, one full decade earlier than called for in the Paris Agreement.
“It’s long overdue that companies move beyond just minimizing their environmental impact,” says Jim Andrew, PepsiCo Chief Sustainability Officer. “They must actively work to improve and regenerate the planet.”
PepsiCo’s strategy targets the company’s biggest opportunities for impact, starting with farming. In Illinois, farmers are already working with the company to use cover crops to improve soil health and limit the need for fertilizer, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and captures carbon in the soil. Through the company’s network of Demonstration Farms in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, India and Vietnam, sustainability programs have increased potato yields while lowering carbon emissions. Building on programs such as these also has the benefits of better yields, improved soil health, decreased deforestation and increased productivity for farmers.
The company’s progress extends to packaging, factory floors and delivery vehicles. Areas of focus include reducing virgin plastic and finding new ways to use recycled plastic in packaging. PepsiCo is also advancing zero and near-zero emission technologies, utilizing electric and natural gas power in warehousing, transportation and distribution facilities, which is modeled after the electric fleet and solar-powered buildings at the Frito-Lay North America site in Modesto, CA.
Looking at the company’s sites around the world, some of this important work is already evident. In 2020, PepsiCo achieved its goal to source 100% renewable electricity for its operations in the U.S. More than 400 solar panels help power the Quaker plant in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Installation of a single windmill at the Tropicana plant in Zeebrugge, Belgium will generate approximately 40% of that site’s total electricity consumption. Wind projects in Texas and Nebraska break ground this year, and by the end of 2021, 15 countries in PepsiCo’s direct operations will be fully sourcing renewable electricity. This means that more than 60% of all of the company’s direct global electricity needs will be met through renewable sources.
“Climate action is core to our business as a global food and beverage leader,” says Laguarta, “and propels our PepsiCo Positive journey to deliver positive outcomes for the planet and people.”
For more information on our climate strategy and progress, visit our ESG Topics Climate page.