PepsiCo: Key Areas of Sustainability Progress in ESG Report

PepsiCo accelerates efforts to build a more resilient and sustainable food system, reducing absolute GHG emissions more than 40% by 2030 across entire value chain and pledging to net-zero emissions by 2040.
PepsiCo is reporting strong progress in areas of sustainability performance but also reflecting on areas that continue to present challenges

Global food and drink giant PepsiCo is reporting significant achievements, surpassing several goals ahead of schedule, introducing new objectives and making notable progress on various fronts. However, certain targets, particularly those related to packaging, remain challenging. The company is putting the success down to extensive innovation, strategic investments, pioneering partnerships and the concerted efforts of its 318,000 global employees. 

Jim Andrew, Chief Sustainability Officer at PepsiCo (Credit: PepsiCo)

"Three years into our pep+ journey, it's clear the focus we have driven throughout the business is working in many areas.  Our use of virgin plastics is down year-over-year and our total Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions are down compared to 2022, as well as versus our 2015 baseline.  This is all to be celebrated. However, the road ahead will continue to present challenges," said Jim Andrew, Chief Sustainability Officer at PepsiCo. "We continue assessing where to devote time and resources to deliver meaningful impact and ensure we are focusing our efforts. Building strong and strategic partnerships with other scale players and adopting and scaling breakthrough technologies are central to our strategy."

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Key PepsiCo ESG highlights 

  • Reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 13% and total Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions by 5% year over year.
  • Reducing the use of virgin plastic derived from non-renewable sources by 4% year over year.
  • Doubling the global regenerative farming footprint to more than 1.8 million acres.
  • Achieving a 25% improvement in water-use efficiency at high water-risk company-owned locations compared to a 2015 baseline, reaching this goal two years ahead of schedule.
  • Helping more than 10 million people gain access to safe water, bringing the total to more than 91 million since 2006.
  • Introducing new goals to reduce sodium and deliver diverse ingredients, with 36% of the foods volume at or below these new sodium targets and delivering 75 billion portions of diverse ingredients.
pep+ strategy overview (Credit: PepsiCo)

What is the pep+ strategy? 

PepsiCo Positive (or pep+) is the food and beverage giant’s end-to-end sustainability transformation that impacts the entire business.

The strategy is built on three pillars:

  • Positive Agriculture – sustainably sourcing ingredients and improving agricultural practices and farmer livelihoods
  • Positive Value Chain – helping to build a circular and inclusive value chain
  • Positive Choices – evolving the company’s food and beverages so they are better for people and planet

“pep+ is our strategy to nurture the soil, air, and water that sustain us, positioning our company for future success and seeking to positively impact the communities we touch around the world, today and for future generations,” said Ramon Laguarta, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Ramon Laguarta, Chairman & CEO, PepsiCo (Credit : PepsiCo/ Amanda Taraska)

The initiative is part of PepsiCo’s strategic transformation, which aims to reduce the company's global emissions by 75% in its direct operations and 40% in its indirect operations by 2030. PepsiCo is targeting net-zero emissions by 2040, as well as supporting Positive Agriculture, recently backing eight new innovation projects across the globe with a US$30m investment.

“pep+ is at the heart of our business, and we’ll aim to continue making strategic investments to future-proof and strengthen our business to drive sustainable growth while promoting positive action for the planet, people and our communities,” said Jamie Caulfield, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

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PepsiCo and sustainable packaging 

PepsiCo's sustainable packaging approach aims to create a world where packaging never becomes waste. In 2023, the company made significant strides in this vision:

  • Sold 10% of beverage servings in reusable models.
  • Became the first beverage company to announce a North American rollout of paper solutions to replace plastic rings on all beverage multipacks.
  • Used 10% recycled content in plastic packaging, working toward a goal of 50% by 2030, with more than 30 markets offering at least one product with 100% recycled PET (excluding caps and labels).
  • Reduced virgin plastic from non-renewable sources per serving across global beverages and convenient foods by 1% compared to a 2020 baseline, improving from an 11% reduction in 2022 to a 6% reduction in 2023.
  • Designed 89% of packaging to be recyclable, compostable, biodegradable, or reusable (RCBR).

Despite challenges in achieving packaging goals, PepsiCo continues to work toward its ambitions. The company projects that by 2025, 98% of its packaging will be designed to be RCBR, and 92% will be overall RCBR based on the availability of end-of-life solutions. Although this falls short of the 100% goal, PepsiCo remains committed to innovation, investment, and partnerships to make further progress.

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PepsiCo’s first net-zero plant

It comes after the company announced its Álava Beverage Plant in Spain aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2025

Using electricity from renewable sources since 2015, the electrification project, following a pilot programme, will replace the remaining natural gas with electric energy, enabling 100% electrification of the factory.

The electrification of the plant’s operations will eliminate 1,849 tons of CO2 per year.

Pol Codina, General Manager of PepsiCo in Southwestern Europe, says: “I am tremendously proud that our beverage plant in Álava aims to become the first in our company worldwide to have net-zero emissions next year.”

PepsiCo’s plant in Northern Spain, is aiming to become its first plant globally to reach net-zero emissions by 2025 (Credit: @PepsiCoEU on X)

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