PepsiCo has made a pledge to become “net water positive” by 2030, as it aims to replenish more water than it uses in its operations.
The new commitment will see the beverage giant placed among the most water-efficient food and beverage industry manufacturers that operate in high-risk watersheds.
The PepsiCo Foundation is also launching a $1 million programme with NGO and long-term partner WaterAid in a bid to bring safe water to families in sub-Saharan Africa, expanding its 15-year $53 million+ safe water project that reaches over 20 countries and has supported over 59 million people since 2006.
“Time is running out for the world to act on water. Water is not only a critical component of our food system, it is a fundamental human right – and the lack of safe, clean water around the world is one of the most pressing issues facing our global community today,” said Jim Andrew, chief sustainability officer at PepsiCo.
He added: “Water scarcity is directly linked to the climate crisis, and at PepsiCo we believe a global effort to be ‘net water positive’ is essential. We’re focused not only on making sure people around the world have access to this vital resource, but ensuring that we are also prioritising water stewardship in our operations everywhere.”
To reach this goal, PepsiCo will employ “best-in-class water-use efficiency standards” covering more than 1,000 company-owned and third-party facilities. It is hoped the programme will enable the company to reduce water usage by 11 billion litres per year – a 50% reduction in the water currently at PepsiCo’s sites.
PepsiCo also hopes to adopt the Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard in all high-water risk areas where it operated by 2025.
The Foundation’s investment will help improve water infrastructure, build new water supply systems and sanitation facilities, and promote hygiene education. “It will also empower women and girls to become water, sanitation and hygiene stewards in their communities by providing them with the funding and training to maintain water access points and sanitation facilities for years to come,” a company statement said.
“We learned quickly at the onset of the pandemic that handwashing and proper hygiene were critical to slowing its spread, but for millions around the world, access to water remains a luxury. As a result, millions of lives remain in jeopardy and until we address this crisis the region will remain especially susceptible to viruses like Covid-19,” said CD Glin, VP global head of philanthropy at PepsiCo.
“Not only does this disparity in water access contribute to the severity of the pandemic, but it also affects many other developmental goals of the region, including food production, gender equality, climate resilience and poverty alleviation. We’re proud of our continued partnership with WaterAid to bring this programme to the region and are excited to be investing in the water-scarce areas that need this resource most.”
“The PepsiCo Foundation is a stalwart partner of WaterAid across three continents,” says Kelly Parsons, CEO, WaterAid America. “They are funding critical programmes, providing flexibility to respond to the pandemic, and shouting loudly and clearly about the importance of safe water access for the billions who lack it.”
She continued: “We are proud to partner with The PepsiCo Foundation and are committed to doing all we can to support their goal of reaching 100 million people by 2030. Their aspiration helps us reach further and work harder on behalf of those in need.”
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