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Pepsico Unveils Ambitious New Agriculture Goals

As threats from climate change mount, Pepsico’s positive agriculture strategy focuses on innovative farming practices and empowering farming communities.

“Any plan to tackle the urgent challenges facing the global food system must address agriculture, the source of nourishment for billions and a key lever to address climate change and inequality,” says PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta.

With its ambitious new Positive Agriculture strategy, PepsiCo is doing exactly that.

The agenda’s far-reaching goals will impact more than 250,000 people in PepsiCo’s agricultural supply chain, 7 million acres of farmland and 100% of the company’s key ingredients by 2030. PepsiCo estimates these efforts will lead to a net reduction of at least 3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade. Taking action in the next decade is crucial for the development of a more sustainable, resilient and inclusive food system.

“Working together, we can reduce our collective carbon footprint, feed a rapidly growing population and provide meaningful economic opportunities for more people,” says Laguarta.

Creating a more sustainable agriculture system is key to PepsiCo’s business because the company is an agricultural one at its core — sourcing more than 25 crops in 60 countries and supporting over 100,000 jobs. In PepsiCo’s well-established Sustainable Farming Program, the company works with farmers across the globe to implement and scale a range of farming practices that will have meaningful impact.

One big part of Positive Agriculture is extending regenerative farming practices — a set of techniques that focus on boosting soil health and fertility, reducing carbon emissions, enhancing watershed management, increasing biodiversity and improving farmer livelihoods. Partnering with farmers, PepsiCo will spread the adoption of these practices across an area roughly equal to the company’s entire agricultural footprint. The growers behind products like Lay’s potato chips, Quaker oats and Tropicana orange juice will be driving forces.

Much of this work is already underway. Through its Demonstration Farms, PepsiCo works with farmers to adapt regenerative practices that save water and control pests. In addition, technical assistance and financial incentives will give farmers opportunities to experiment with sustainable techniques, like planting cover crops that enhance soil health. Investment in such innovative solutions is already paying off: Potato peels left over from making Walkers crisps will soon be transformed into carbon-capturing fertilizer that potato growers across the U.K. can use in their fields.

Positive Agriculture also means bettering the lives of people in the agricultural supply chain. Bolstering underserved populations is essential to making the entire food system stronger, and PepsiCo’s goal is to improve the livelihoods of more than 250,000 people in agricultural communities. A major focus is empowering women in agriculture across the globe by helping them lease farmland and offering training programs. Partnerships with the U.S. Agency for International Development, Inter-American Development Bank and She Feeds the World program are providing support for female farmers in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. In addition, PepsiCo has partnered with National Black Growers Council to address the critical need for increased diversity in the agriculture business.

Another key area of focus: responsibly sourcing 100% of key ingredients by 2030 and beyond. This includes not only direct-sourced crops like potatoes, whole corn, oats and oranges, but also key crops from third parties such as vegetable oils and grains. PepsiCo is also strengthening its Global Policy on Sustainable Palm Oil, which includes the company’s strict commitments to avoiding deforestation, development on peat and exploitation of the rights of indigenous peoples, workers and local communities.

“Today, we’re accelerating our Positive Agriculture agenda, because we know we have to do even more to create truly systemic change,” says Jim Andrew, PepsiCo Chief Sustainability Officer. “By focusing on regenerative agriculture practices at the local level to build soil health, we can build a stronger foundation for our products and help make the entire food system more sustainable.”