PepsiCo To Launch Sustainable Agricultural Initiative Next Year

PepsiCo told Business Green it will launch a sustainable agricultural initiative next year. Dan Bena, director of sustainable development for PepsiCo, said the global soft drinks company will build on work the auditing firm Validus is currently doing.

“The study is designed to help PespiCo measure the social return on investments (ROI) and put a financial value on the environmental and local economic impacts associated with its supply chain,” according to Business Green .

The study focuses on the following areas: water, energy, emissions, farm productivity, soil fertility preservation and biodiversity. In addition, it will include the social impacts of farming. The environmental part of the study is currently being conducted, and next year the social and economic parts will be conducted, Bena said.

“[When we started looking at doing this] we quickly realised that we needed to go and look at standards, but we soon realised that no such standards existed,” … “No agency can handle the diversity of the agricultural industry.”

Bena said the social impacts will be the hardest to review. “Comparatively, the environmental part is going to be easy to solve because there the technology exists to improve farming practices… The economic aspect will also be relatively easy because we already have examples of improvements we’ve made there,” he said.

“But the most difficult part will be tackling the social element, because there we will probably have to supersede what’s technically available locally,” he added.

Coca-Cola’s freshwater conservation initiative with WWF

PepsiCo’s main rival, The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) launched a fresh water conservation initiative with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2007. The initiative is a $20 million multi-year partnership which works to conserve seven freshwater river basins globally (Yangtze, Mekong, Danube, Rio Grande/Rio Bravo, Lake Niassa, the Mesoamerican Reef catchments, and the rivers and streams of Southeastern United States).

The goals of the initiative are to improve TCCC’s water use, support more efficient water use in TCCC’s agricultural supply chain, and decrease TCCC’s carbon dioxide emissions and energy use.

The specific targets for the initiative are:

  • Improve water efficiency 20 percent by 2012
  • Stabilize carbon emissions system-wide, and make a five percent absolute reduction in developed countries by 2015

TCCC and WWF are also working on improving TCCC’s supply chain, focusing on sugarcane, oranges and corn by working with the Better Sugarcane Initiative.

Photo: Flickr user, Like_the_Grand_Canyon

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.