The company’s goal is to scale regenerative farming practices across its entire agricultural footprint, reduce at least 3 million tons of GHGs, and improve livelihoods of farmers across its supply chain.
Today, PepsiCo launched its Positive Agriculture initiative, which centers on a goal to spread regenerative farming practices across 7 million acres — approximately equal to its entire agricultural footprint. The snack food and beverage giant estimates that the effort will eliminate at least 3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by the end of the decade. Additional 2030 goals within the agenda include improving the livelihoods of more than 250,000 people in its agricultural supply chain and sustainably sourcing 100 percent of its key ingredients.
“Any plan to tackle the urgent challenges facing the global food system must address agriculture — the source of nourishment for billions of people and a key lever to address climate change and inequality,” said PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta. “As one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies, a resilient food system is essential to our business; and with our scale, we have an opportunity and responsibility to drive meaningful change. PepsiCo’s Positive Agriculture agenda prioritizes investment, innovation and robust collaboration with our farming partners to deliver impact around the world. Working together, we can reduce our collective carbon footprint, feed a rapidly growing population, and provide meaningful economic opportunities for more people.”
The Positive Agriculture agenda aims to source crops and ingredients in a way that accelerates regenerative agriculture and strengthens farming communities, with a focus on:
Adopting regenerative farming practices across 7 million acres
This would be approximately equal to the amount of land around the world devoted to growing crops and ingredients for PepsiCo products. These efforts are estimated to lead to a net-reduction of at least 3 million tons of GHG emissions by 2030.
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Investments in innovative, sustainable agriculture solutions are being driven by PepsiCo’s iconic brands, many of which have already begun implementing the Positive Agriculture approach. For example, PepsiCo’s Walkers brand in the UK worked with CCm Technologies to introduce new ‘circular potatoes’ technology that uses potato peelings to manufacture low-carbon, nutrient-rich fertilizer. Use of this fertilizer is expected to reduce Walkers’ carbon emissions from growing potatoes by 70 percent. And Quaker has developed the “Opti-Oat” initiative — which uses over one million data points to guide farmers in how to sustainably grow the “perfect oat,” improving yields.
Improving the livelihoods of more than 250,000 people in its agricultural supply chain and communities, including economically empowering women
PepsiCo will focus its work on the most vulnerable farming communities linked to its global value chain — including smallholder farmers and farm workers, women and minority farmers. The company will continue to advance this goal through work with partners including US Agency for International Development, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), CARE, FFA Organization, and the National Black Growers Council.
PepsiCo has already begun to address these issues: In January, it expanded a partnership with the PepsiCo Foundation and IDB aimed at fostering social and economic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a focus on empowerment of female farmers in its potato supply chain.
Sustainably sourcing 100 percent of key ingredients
This effort will include not only its direct-sourced crops (potatoes, whole corn, oats and oranges), but also key crops from third parties — such as vegetable oils and grains. PepsiCo sources crops across 60 countries and supports over 100,000 jobs in the agricultural supply chain.
As of the end of 2020, PepsiCo’s direct-sourced crops are 100 percent sustainably sourced in 28 countries. PepsiCo says that globally, nearly 87 percent of direct crops are sustainably sourced through its Sustainable Farming Program — including 100 percent of the oranges purchased for Tropicana orange juice from Florida; and 100 percent of the potatoes and oats for Lay’s and Quaker, respectively, in North America. The company also achieved its goal to source 100 percent Bonsucro-certified sustainable cane sugar globally by 2020 and achieved more than 99 percent physically certified palm oil by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.
“Through our Sustainable Farming Program and ongoing work with tens of thousands of farmers, we’ve seen firsthand the ability to drive solutions within our agricultural communities, resulting in nature-based outcomes,” said Jim Andrew, PepsiCo’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “Today, we're accelerating our Positive Agriculture agenda because we know we have to do even more to create truly systemic change. By focusing on regenerative agriculture practices at the local level to improve soil health, we can build a stronger foundation for our products and help make the entire food system more sustainable.”
PepsiCo advocates for the establishment of industry-wide regenerative agriculture standards and measurement. In the absence of such standards, the company says it will measure progress towards its Positive Agriculture goals by tracking acres and people engaged in the initiative; and over time, the impact toward five key outcomes — including: building soil health and fertility; sequestering carbon and reducing emissions; enhancing watershed health; increasing biodiversity; and improving farmer livelihoods. PepsiCo is already working with leading organizations including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to develop a method for setting science-based targets for water that consider the benefits of regenerative and resilient farming systems and practices on water quality and quantity.
The Positive Agriculture agenda is another step in the company’s PepsiCo Positive journey and follows PepsiCo’s recent announcement to double its science-based climate goal — targeting a reduction of absolute greenhouse gas emissions across its value chain by more than 40 percent by 2030, as well as pledging to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040.