Environment & Sustainability Manger, PepsiCo Ireland
A new transformation strategy is helping business and consumers make more sustainable choices that benefit not only themselves and their communities but also the planet.
Now more than ever, people are acutely aware of the interconnected nature of the global food system and its impact on our planet. Unfortunately, the bonds holding this delicate ecosystem together are beginning to fray right in front of our eyes.
First of all, the climate crisis is endangering our natural resources. By one estimate, every degree of warming could reduce staple crop yields by 10%. What used to be hundred-year weather events are now happening every other year.
According to the UN, more than half the planet’s fertile topsoil is now degraded. This is reducing the soil’s potential to grow food and sequester carbon, increasing our vulnerability to extreme weather events, and impacting water quality and biodiversity.
Large industries currently account for about 20% of Ireland GHG CO2e emissions (Source: Environmental Protection Agency) and so have a major role to play in assisting the Government to meet its climate action plan commitments. The Government’s Climate Action Plan commits Ireland to a legally binding target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050 and a reduction of 51% by 2030.
Positive changes for people and the planet
To help address these challenges, in 2021, we announced pep+ (PepsiCo Positive). A strategic end-to-end transformation with sustainability at the centre of how we will create growth and value by operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive change for the planet and people.
The framework guides how we will transform our business operations: from sourcing ingredients and making and selling our products in a more sustainable way, to leveraging our one billion connections with consumers each day to make better choices.
We have also announced new goals to cut virgin plastic per serving by 50% across our global food and beverage portfolio by 2030 as well as using more recycled content in our plastic packaging and scaling the SodaStream business globally.
A new comprehensive framework
pep+ drives action and progress across three key pillars, bringing together several industry-leading 2030 goals under a comprehensive framework:
- Positive agriculture: Spreading regenerative practices to restore the Earth across our entire agricultural footprint, approximately 7 million acres.
- Positive choices: Leveraging the scale and reach of our global brands to drive positive impact at scale. Evolving our portfolio to build a USD 1 billion healthier snacking business in the EU and reduce added sugars across our beverage portfolio by 50% by 2030.
- Positive value chain: We will help build a circular and inclusive value chain through actions in the hopes of achieving net zero emissions by 2040. Setting new goals to improve packaging sustainability, including reducing virgin plastic per serving by 50% and bold new goals from Pepsi brands.
Working to achieve 2030 goals
Adrian Williams, Environment & Sustainability Manager, PepsiCo Ireland says great progress is being made through our Ireland operations: “We have significantly reduced our GHG emissions associated with our Ireland operations in the past number of years. We have already met the 2030 reduction target at the Little Island, Cork facility. All our Irish sites are on 100% renewable electricity supply and our facilities have 100% waste recycling processes in place with zero waste directed to landfill.”
“We have made substantial investments to enable us to treat our effluent streams to an even higher quality than is required by Irish Water before we discharge to their treatment facilities at both Carrigrennan and Shanbally in Cork harbour.”
Inspiring change throughout communities
pep+ is also inspiring and encouraging colleagues to create new habits, whether at home or within their communities. In 2021, the Little Island, Cork, Green Team hosted a ‘flowers and seeds’ pledge event on site. Colleagues received a potted plant or packet of seeds to take home and grow. All seeds and plants were purchased from the Cope Foundation in Montenotte, supporting those with intellectual disabilities.