June 29, 2022  

PepsiCo’s partnership with UEFA goes beyond the pitch

Through its largest global platform, PepsiCo is driving positive change for people and the planet.

The UEFA Champions League (UCL) final was decided this May on the pitch in Paris, but PepsiCo’s partnership with the organization is making positive impacts that go far beyond the final whistle.

The UEFA Champions League Final draws hundreds of millions of viewers each year, making the collaboration with PepsiCo a powerful global platform. Iconic brands including Pepsi, Lay’s and Gatorade connect with passionate football fans at stadiums and in homes across more than 100 markets throughout each season. And PepsiCo is using that vast reach to continue to progress toward its pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) ambitions.

“Our partnership with UEFA drives positive change for both people and the planet through projects which both minimize the impact on the environment and also benefit our communities,” says Jim Andrew, PepsiCo’s Chief Sustainability Officer.

Inspiring the next generation of athletes

Teams representing Thailand and Latin America were crowned the Global Final winners of the Gatorade 5v5 Football Tournament, which pits teams of 14-to-16-year-old boys and girls from Latin America, Asia and Europe against each other in fierce but friendly competition. While there could be only two winning teams, all the athletes were rewarded with a coaching clinic from legends Roberto Carlos, Robert Pires and Asmir Begovic.

“Gatorade 5v5 demonstrates our long-term ambitions to support these athletes on their journey, providing opportunities, resources and access to world class expertise along the way,” says Mark Kirkham, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer for PepsiCo’s Global Beverage Group.

The Gatorade 5v5 Football Tournament crowned two Global Final winners this year.

The Gatorade 5v5 Football Tournament crowned two Global Final winners this year.

Connecting communities through football

PepsiCo and the UEFA Foundation continued their global Lay’s RePlay initiative, which repurposes empty Lay’s chips bags by converting them into sustainable football pitches. Four pitches have been opened around the world to date, with the most recent being in Turin, Italy, as part of the PepsiCo campaign at the 2022 UEFA Women’s Champions League Final. These 100% recyclable turf fields produce up to 128 tons fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a standard synthetic field.

They also do more than provide a place to play football. The projects involve local organizations in the construction and management processes. The first three pitches combined to directly impact 810 participants through 1,427 hours of educational programming, as well as 19,000 other community members through general use of the pitches. The newest pitch in Turin will provide 18 hours of weekly football education sessions to more than 200 participants over the next 12 months.

A substantiable football pitched made from repurposed Lay’s chip bags, which benefits both the community and climate.

A substantiable football pitched made from repurposed Lay’s chip bags, which benefits both the community and climate.

Championing sustainability from the local pitch to the UEFA Champions League Final

During the 5v5 finals in Paris, Gatorade supplied all players with kits made from recycled materials and reusable bottles made of 100% recycled plastic. Hydration was also provided in the form of seaweed pods containing Gatorade powders, which reduce packaging waste.

At the UEFA Champions League Final at Stade de France in Paris, PepsiCo and UEFA piloted circular economy convenient food and beverage practices aimed at producing zero waste to landfill at all UEFA finals by 2026. PepsiCo beverage products were served either in recycled plastic (rPET) bottles or in reusable eco cups, and Pepsi-branded LED boards featured a “Please Recycle” message around the pitch.

Providing aid to people in need

PepsiCo was the first global brand to partner with the United Nations Refugee Agency for the #Football4Refugees emergency appeal. The initiative was launched to unite the global football community in raising funds to provide humanitarian assistance such as shelter and protection for people forced to flee their homes by conflict or persecution.

The PepsiCo Foundation donated US$1 million, and the Pepsi and Gatorade brands called on their network of sports and music talent to drive awareness and donations. Their “Pass It On” campaign will feature several world-famous individuals posting short video clips to social media encouraging their followers to get involved.

“The global refugee crisis continues to affect the lives of so many people,” says Ram Krishnan, PepsiCo’s Chief Commercial Officer. “We want to ensure we are doing everything we can to provide those in need with vital resources and support.”