PepsiCo expands stewardship efforts across water-stressed regions

Food and drink manufacturing giant PepsiCo has announced that its campaign to expand access to safe water in its areas of operation has provided 16 million people with clean water, putting it on track to reach 25 million by 2025.

The corporation said that investing more than £30m in water access solutions since the launch of its Safe Water Access initiative in 2006 has enabled it to reach 60% of its 2025 goal, as of the end of May 2018.

“Over the last decade, we have been focused on grassroots solutions to this challenge as well as partnering with experts in communities around the world to support innovative, sustainable and local water solutions,” the firm’s vice president of global stability, Roberta Barbieri, said.  

“Access to safe water is at the heart of PepsiCo’s global water strategy, in which we aim to enable long-term, sustainable water security for our business and others who depend on water availability.”

To reach the 2025 goal, PepsiCo is set to grant more than £3m ($4.2m) of funding to global NGO WaterAid, which will be used to fund clean water infrastructure in communities in southern India facing extreme water shortages.

The move will help WaterAid provide a further 200,000 people with access to safe water while helping to build community and government capacity to manage water resources, as well as educating local organisations on sustainable sanitation and hygiene practices.

PepsiCo additionally pledged to donate £1.5m to the China Women’s Development Foundation, making it the first Fortune 500 listed corporation to participate in the Foundation’s Water Cellars for Mothers initiative, which provides solutions to improve water access in areas that currently have no water infrastructure.

Winning on water

PepsiCo is widely regarded as a sustainability leader in terms of water, having partaken in a collaborative challenge aimed at strengthening sourcing and water stewardship action plans along with six other global food and beverage companies.

In fact, PespiCo is one of the top-rated companies for acting and reporting on water issues, according to a Ceres report.

In its first sustainability report since it updated its goals across emissions, waste and sourcing last year, the firm additionally noted that it was a quarter of the way to its 2025 goals for annual water replenishment – placing around 2.7 billion litres of water back into high-stress watersheds.

The funding announcements come after the number of corporates investing in water security was found to have reached “record levels” by CDP, which discovered that more than £17bn had been invested in projects like desalination plants, irrigation systems and drought resistance last year.

Despite mounting business investments, this figure still falls well short of the £4.8trn that the UN estimates is required to combat water scarcity by 2030.

Sarah George

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