PepsiCo Digs Deep in Agriculture and Water
by Margaret Henry, Director, Sustainable Agriculture at PepsiCo
Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of participating on a panel, ‘Building Brand Value While Mitigating Your Water Risk,’ at the Sustainable Brands 18 Conference in Vancouver.
The topic of water and its impact on society is personal for me as I was born on a dairy farm in Kentucky and know firsthand how diligently farmers must work to conserve resources and grow the food we all enjoy. At PepsiCo, we focus on working with our farmers to find ways that “sustainability” benefits everyone who grows, makes and eats everything from Doritos to Naked Juice, Quaker Oats to Lays Potato Chips, and Pepsi to Tropicana.
A few of the key points I enjoyed discussing with the great folks at Sustainable Brands included:
- Our commitments go deep: PepsiCo is going above and beyond the vast majority of “sustainability” commitments by not only working on our own operations, but also working hand in hand with the farmers who supply us to make progress together on issues that matter to communities worldwide
- We are working on mitigating water risk not only in our own operations, but in our supply chain: We are committed to improving our water efficiency by 15% in our direct supply chains for all of our high water risk areas. That means working with farmers on how they make decisions, what equipment they use and what varieties they plant to ensure that we are working towards the long term health of watersheds and all of the communities that reside within them
- We work hand in hand with farmers: Our work on water builds from our work on overall sustainability. For us this means meeting farmers where they are on the issues that matter most for the economics of their farm, while working with them on the positive and negative environmental implications of the farm, and the opportunities for social gains to their communities
PepsiCo is, at heart, an agricultural company and a company whose products are consumed when communities come together. We cherish this role and are committed to being part of the solution when challenges arise. For agricultural communities this can mean facing difficult realities from 100 year floods and droughts now happening every other year, to the rising average age of farmers, to increasing soil loss and water pollution. At PepsiCo, we fully realize that our future is tied to the future of our farmers and communities and we are working together to confront shared challenges head on and make tomorrow brighter and better.