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PepsiCo introduces initiative to drive sustainable transformation strategy

Food and beverage giant PepsiCo has launched Pep+ (Pep Positive), a strategic end-to-end transformation initiative with sustainability at its core, aimed at inspiring positive change for the planet and its people.

PepsiCo introduces initiative to drive sustainable transformation strategy
© cookelma - 123RF

Pep+ will guide how the Lay's and Pepsi owner will transform its business operations: from sourcing ingredients and making and selling its products in a more sustainable way, to leveraging its more than one billion connections with consumers each day to take sustainability mainstream and engage people to make choices that are better for themselves and the planet.

“Pep+ is the future of our company – a fundamental transformation of what we do and how we do it to create growth and shared value with sustainability and human capital at the center. It reflects a new business reality, where consumers are becoming more interested in the future of the planet and society,” said Ramon Laguarta, PepsiCo’s chairman and CEO.

“Pep+ will change our brands and how they win in the market. For example, imagine Lay’s will start with a potato grown sustainably on a regenerative field, and then be cooked and delivered from a net-zero and net water positive supply chain, sold in a bio-compostable bag, with the lowest sodium levels in the market. That’s a positive choice. That’s the best tasting, #1 potato chip of the future.

"That’s how Pep+ will be better for people, for the planet, and for our business. Now, imagine the scale and impact when applied to all 23 of our billion-dollar brands.”


Efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa


Commenting on Pep+, Tertius Carstens, PepsiCo sub-Saharan CEO said, “PepsiCo is deeply committed to enhancing sustainability in all stages of the food chain and everyone from farmer to consumer has a role to play. There are a number of key initiatives underway and Pep+ drives action and progress across three key pillars, bringing together a number of industry-leading 2030 goals under a comprehensive framework.”

In PepsiCo SSA, some of these same initiatives are underway to advance this PepsiCo Positive agenda, from the company’s food relief efforts for vulnerable communities to making a positive social impact through its brands. Below are the key areas of focus over the coming months and some of the achievements to date.

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Positive agriculture

Through the Development Fund, the company will invest R300m (of the total R600m) in agricultural activities that build the capacity of disadvantaged emerging farmers and black-owned businesses; promote regenerative agriculture practices and encourage the adoption of innovation to revitalise local production within South Africa's agriculture sector. While in Uganda, the She Feeds the World programme has been a great success and has improved the livelihoods of thousands of people, the company said.

Positive value chain

The remainder of the investment into the Development Fund, includes R100m for SMEs within the company’s supply chain and R200m for education, including scholarships for previously disadvantaged individuals acquiring qualifications or skills that contribute to transforming the South African food system. PepsiCo SSA is also committed to creating a positive value chain by supporting initiatives that improve water efficiency and deliver safe access to water to communities.

Last month the PepsiCo Foundation launched a new $1m programme in partnership with WaterAid to bring safe water to families in sub-Saharan Africa. This investment builds on the Foundation’s $350 000 grant to fund water access and sanitation projects in communities across South Africa.

The company is continuing its water stewardship journey, having successfully adopted the Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard at its Parow Plant – plans are underway to extend it to more sites across South Africa before the end of the year.

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Positive choices

The company’s brands across its food and beverage portfolio are accelerating their efforts to realise PepsiCo’s sustainable packaging vision and leveraging their influence to educate consumers on recycling and the planetary impacts of their choices.

“Earlier this year, through Lay’s RePlay we unveiled the first sustainable artificial soccer pitch in Tembisa, South Africa made from over three million reclaimed chip packages. This initiative, in partnership with the UEFA Foundation for children and NGO Streetfootballworld, aimed to develop programming that goes beyond the field to empower youth, promote inclusivity and develop key life skills,” said Carstens.

The group’s range of 100% fruit juice and reduced sugar nectars and dilutables is helping consumers make healthier choices, the company added. Ceres is launching a new project that will see all the plastic straws on its juice boxes replaced by bio-degradable paper straws. This follows a major investment last year in technology to improve the packaging of Ceres products, making them 100% recyclable.

In Nigeria, Quaker will be launching a pilot in 2022 to develop low-cost high nutrient products designed for lower-income families to help address malnutrition in urban and rural areas.

“Pep+ directly links the future of our business with the future of our planet, for the benefit of both,” said Carstens. “We are offering consumers positive choices that use less plastic, create fewer emissions, and are better for people. Pep+ is our roadmap to create the food and drinks people love in a way that helps build the sustainable future we all must have.”

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