PepsiCo’s green plan saves $375m

PepsiCo's sustainability initiatives on energy, waste and water have saved the soft drinks giant more than $375m since 2010, according to its latest sustainability report.

The US multinational, which generated more than $66bn in net revenue last year, said the figures are proof that investments in sustainability are “mutually beneficial for business and society”.

“Sustainability is not something to support with the profits we make, but rather a path to delivering profitability,” said PepsiCo chief executive Indra Nooyi in the report introduction. “Weaving sustainability into the very fabric of our organization is a way to help future-proof our business for the changing world around us”.

Resource use

In 2014, PepsiCo reduced its water intensity by 23% compared to 2006, delivering a cost saving of $17m in the last year alone. The company’s absolute water use decreased by approximately one billion litres in 2014.

Emissions were held flat against a 2008 baseline, although PepsiCo claimed this as progress, given that it saw ‘significant production growth”.

The company said major investments in a green fleet – including biofuels and electric-vehicles – had improved the energy efficiency of legacy operations by nearly 16% compared with its 2006 baseline.

However, the firm added that “the biggest impact we can have on reducing GHG emissions is by continuing to work with suppliers along our value chain.”

To that end, Pepsico extended its Sustainable Farming Initiative (SFI) across 11 countries and expects to purchase 100% RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil by the end of 2015 – previously a source of controversy for the firm.

In fact PepsiCo was the target of several campaigns by consumer group SumOfUs, who claimed that PepsiCo’s use of palm oil in Doritos was contributing to deforestation. The group targeted PepsiCo with viral videos, posters on London buses and a smear campaign on Amazon. PepsiCo said the campaign ‘continuously mischaracterized’ its impact on forests.

On waste, PepsiCo diverted 93% of waste away from landfill, surpassing its goal of recycling and reusing 90%. The company decreased the overall amount of packaging by 40 million kilograms in 2014 versus the prior year, and used 61 million kilograms of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) packages and bottles – a 23% uptick year-on-year.

The 2014 report – progress on water and waste, but little change on energy – is very similar to the 2013 edition, covered by edie last September.

Brad Allen

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