PepsiCo has unveiled its ambitious goal to cut carbon emissions by more than 40% by 2030 (against a 2015 baseline) — more than doubling the previous climate objective of a 20% reduction in absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
In the face of an escalating climate crisis, the move is expected to reduce over 26 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to taking five million-plus cars off the road for a full year.
Last year, PepsiCo had announced it would source 100% renewable electricity across all company-owned and controlled operations globally by 2030, across its franchises and third-party operators by 2040.
PepsiCo chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta said that moving up the company’s timeline is crucial, considering the dire consequences of waiting. “The severe impacts from climate change are worsening, and we must accelerate the urgent systemic changes needed to address it. There is simply no other option but immediate and aggressive action. There is simply no other option but immediate and aggressive action,” Laguarta says.
PepsiCo aims to have a significant impact with opportunities at every point in the production cycle to reduce and remove greenhouse gas emissions. The company’s goal is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, one full decade earlier than called for in the Paris Agreement.
“It’s long overdue that companies move beyond just minimizing their environmental impact. They must actively work to improve and regenerate the planet. Climate action is core to our business as a global food and beverage leader and propels our PepsiCo Positive journey to deliver positive outcomes for the planet and people,” says Jim Andrew, PepsiCo Chief Sustainability Officer.
PepsiCo’s strategy targets the company’s most significant opportunities for impact, starting with farming.
In Illinois, farmers are already working with the company to use cover crops to improve soil health and limit the need for fertilizer, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and captures carbon in the soil. Through the company’s network of ‘demonstration farms’ in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, India, and Vietnam, sustainability programs have increased potato yields while lowering carbon emissions.
Building on programs such as these also has the benefits of better yields, improved soil health, decreased deforestation, and increased productivity for farmers. The company’s progress extends to packaging, factory floors, and delivery vehicles. Areas of focus include reducing virgin plastic and finding new ways to use recycled plastic in packaging.
PepsiCo is also advancing zero and near-zero emission technologies, utilizing electric and natural gas power in warehousing, transportation, and distribution facilities, which is modeled after the electric fleet and solar-powered buildings at the Frito-Lay North America site in Modesto, CA.
In 2020, PepsiCo achieved its goal to source 100% renewable electricity for its operations in the U.S. More than 400 solar panels help power the Quaker plant in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Installation of a single windmill at the Tropicana plant in Zeebrugge, Belgium, will generate approximately 40% of that site’s total electricity consumption.
Wind projects in Texas and Nebraska break ground this year, and by the end of 2021, 15 countries in PepsiCo’s direct operations will be fully sourcing renewable electricity. This means that more than 60% of all of the company’s direct global electricity needs will be met through renewable sources.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) had released its latest – Solar Means Business – report, which tracks U.S. solar installations that support commercial activities. As per the report, Apple remained at the top spot for the second year in a row, with 398.3 MW (on-site and off-site) installed. Amazon grabbed the second spot with 369 MW installed. Walmart rounded off the top three with 331 MW of solar installations.
Rahul is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Before entering the world of renewables, Rahul was head of the Gujarat bureau for The Quint. He has also worked for DNA Ahmedabad and Ahmedabad Mirror. Hailing from a banking and finance background, Rahul has also worked for JP Morgan Chase and State Bank of India. More articles from Rahul Nair.