Challenges occurring at the consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturing levels and across food distribution and retail are happening worldwide and these are driving forward the sustainability agenda. A report released on 20 June 2022 by The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) listed five urgent actions identified by CEOs of 13 of the largest CPG companies needed to help reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 deadline:
- Partner for success
- Measure for progress and impact
- Embed sustainability into your company DNA
- Bring the consumer on the journey
- All sustainable development goals should be supported but prioritize the areas where you have the power to make the biggest difference
So how is this being put into action? One of the many CPG companies which is embedding sustainability into its core strategy and business operations is PepsiCo.
PepsiCo’s ‘Performance with Purpose’ sustainability goals include reducing absolute GHG emissions across its value chain by 40% by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2040, one decade earlier than called for in the Paris Agreement.
As part of its efforts to reduce GHG emissions, PepsiCo has made significant improvements to the efficiency of its delivery fleet over the last ten years. For example, Frito-Lay North America is building the largest commercial fleet of electric vehicle route trucks, which produce around 70% less GHG emissions than conventional diesel trucks. It also operates 560 compressed natural gas (CNG) freight trucks, representing 38% of its long-haul fleet inventory, which emit 23% less GHG emissions than diesel freight trucks. PepsiCo has helped finance natural gas stations near some of its distribution facilities, but electric charging capacity to keep fleet on the road is problematic. PepsiCo is also training drivers to drive efficiently in order to help reduce fuel use. In addition, some bottles, such as in the Naked Juice product line, are square, allowing PepsiCo to fit more freight into their shipments, thereby reducing their carbon footprint.
PepsiCo is shipping more freight by rail. Its famous Tropicana ‘Juice Trains’ have won numerous awards. They transport orange juice up the US east coast five days a week, as well as running ten trips a week to Jersey City, N.J, and Cincinnati, Ohio. Additional shipments with specially equipped refrigerated cars now travel 3,000 miles by rail to California.
Other key sustainability goals include:
- Spreading regenerative farming practices across 7 million acres (approximately equal to its entire agriculture footprint) which it estimates will eliminate at least 3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade.
- Sustainably sourcing 100% of key ingredients.
- Improving water use efficiency by 15% in its agricultural supply chain (focused on corn and potatoes).
- Replenishing more than 100% of the water used back into the local watershed in high water-risk areas by 2030.
- Achieving ‘world-class’ water-use efficiency at all company-owned and third-party manufacturing facilities by 2030.
- Designing 100% of packaging to be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025.
- Reducing 35% of virgin plastic content across its beverage portfolio by 2025.
- Increasing recycled content in the plastic packaging across the entire product portfolio to 30% by 2025.
- Eliminating virgin fossil-based plastic in all crisp and snack bags by 2030.
As CPG companies are on the brink of unprecedented growth, PepsiCo is clearly setting out the tools it needs to reduce its environmental impact while growing profits.