Food, snack, and beverage giant PepsiCo announced on Thursday that it intends to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) supply chain-wide by 2040, a decade earlier than the Paris Agreement and many scientists call for.
PepsiCo joins a growing list of major companies like Amazon, Uber, and Verizon that have made the same commitment. The news comes just months after PepsiCo revealed its plans to use renewable energy across all of its global company-owned and controlled operations by 2030, as well as franchise-wide and across third-party operations by 2040.
Purchase, New York-based PepsiCo, known for its household staples like Lay’s, Quaker Oats, and of course, Pepsi Cola, shared plans to “more than double its science-based climate goal, targeting a reduction of absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its value chain by more than 40 percent by 2030.”
The company’s plan includes reducing absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions across its direct operations by 75 percent and limiting its Scope 3 indirect value chain by 40 percent by 2030 with a 2015 baseline. Scope 1 refers to emissions directly produced by a company, while scope 2 are those from the energy that is purchased and used by the organization. Scope 3 refers to any additional indirect emissions. According to PepsiCo, this will remove over 26 million metric tons of GHG emissions – equal to taking more than five million cars off the road for a year.
In a recent Bloomberg Green interview, PepsiCo Chief Sustainability officer Jim Andrew confirmed that Scope 3 emissions currently account for around 91 percent of the company’s carbon footprint.
“We didn’t back away from Scope 3. We were really leaning into Scope 3 because that’s what we’ve got to do if we’re going to change the trajectory that the planet is on,” said Andrew.
The company says that its sustainability strategy “focuses on the areas where it can have the most impact while creating scalable models and partnerships for accelerated progress across the full value chain,” and that its emissions target aligns with the Business Ambition for 1.5°C pledge and has received approval from the Science Based Targets initiative – a consortium of leading nonprofits that helps companies confirm that their targets are science-based and adequate to meet their goals.
“The severe impacts from climate change are worsening, and we must accelerate the urgent systemic changes needed to address it,” said PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta in the announcement press release. “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. Our ambitious climate goal will guide us on the steep but critical path forward — there is simply no other option but immediate and aggressive action.”
The food and beverage maker’s plan for reducing emissions includes continuing to reduce virgin plastic use, boost recycled content in its packaging, and implement and upgrade environmentally sustainable manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, and distribution sites.
Additionally, PepsiCo says it will focus on sustainable agriculture and regenerative practices, which includes expanding its global Demonstration Farms network, “which provide localized training and tools to implement sustainable practices and improve livelihoods.”
PepsiCo operates in over 200 countries and territories and employs around 260,0000 people. The company reported an annual net income for 2019 of just over $7.3 billion and has more than 100,000 manufacturing facilities and over 600 warehouses and distribution centers across the country.