We’re working to support a long-term, sustainable supply of water for all
Facing the challenge of water insecurity
As the world faces an unprecedented global pandemic, we are seeing clearer than ever the importance of access to clean water. According to the World Health Organization, access to clean water for sanitation and hygiene could prevent at least 9% of global disease and 6% of all deaths. Yet, water insecurity is growing throughout the world, and more and more people are living in areas with chronic water shortages.
Climate change and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns are making droughts and floods more severe, and population growth is accelerating this trend. Nearly two-thirds of the world’s population currently experience water insecurity at least one month a year and it’s likely that, by 2040, one quarter of the world’s children will live in water-stressed regions. Water shortages threaten community health, diminish hygiene and lead to disease, famine, migration, and violence. In farming communities, water scarcity can leave lands too arid to farm and decrease crop yields, threatening food supply.
The PepsiCo Foundation is partnering with WaterAid Pakistan to increase handwashing facilities and educate on proper handwashing techniques in a socially safe manner.
Striving for impact at the local watershed level
As a food and beverage company, PepsiCo is acutely aware of the critical role water plays in the food system. Our water strategy is designed to enable long-term, sustainable water security for our business and for local communities that depend on an accessible and reliable supply of clean, safe water. We are focused on improving agricultural and operational water-use efficiency, local replenishment in high water-risk areas, public education, advocacy for smart water policies and regulations, and adoption of best practices with key partners in the community. We work to understand the water challenges at a local level and support solutions that address the specific needs of the watershed.
"PepsiCo has used its voice and network to highlight the need for long-term, strategic collaboration among business, government, and civil society to achieve water security. It has challenged its traditional approaches and operating models to make 2030 WRG possible."
2030 Water Resources Group (WRG)
In this discussion, PepsiCo Vice President of Global Sustainability Roberta Barbieri and Karin Krchnak of 2030 WRG discuss the importance of partnership and community-led system thinking in solving the water challenges facing our planet.
Exceeding Our Safe Water Access Goal
Since 2006, The PepsiCo Foundation has helped more than 44 million people gain access to safe water through distribution, purification, and conservation programs, far surpassing the company’s original target to help 25 million people by 2025.
Over the years, The PepsiCo Foundation has invested more than $46 million as a founding partner or early investor in programs with WaterAid, Water.org, Safe Water Network, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), 2030 Water Resources Group (WRG), the Columbia Water Center, and the China Women’s Development Foundation (CWDF). The investments helped catalyze nearly $700 million in additional funding from other donors, government organizations, and multilateral agencies.
Recognizing the increase in worldwide water risk due to climate change, as well as the essential connection of safe water to health, PepsiCo has set an ambitious new target: helping to expand safe water access to 100 million people by 2030 with an immediate-term focus on supporting water distribution, sanitation, and hygiene practices.
Localizing Safe Water Access to Meet Community Needs
Recognizing that access to water is a human right, PepsiCo’s safe water access work focuses on distribution, purification, and conservation programs in support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #6: Ensure the availability and sustainable management of clean water and sanitation for all.
- Increasing Access to Handwashing with WaterAid in Pakistan and India
- Bringing Safe Water to Remote Communities in Latin America
- Providing Safe Water Access to Farming Communities in India
- Cleaning Up “Small Water Sources” in China
- Supporting Groundwater Purification in Ghana and India
Increasing Access to Handwashing with WaterAid in Pakistan and India
The PepsiCo Foundation is working with WaterAid to increase access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene in water-stressed communities in India and Pakistan. In Pakistan, we have reached over 15,000 people through a combination of hygiene workshops and COVID-19 education through media.
We have also provided strategic handwashing stations and hygiene education to schools, community organizations, and people in their homes across 18 communities in southern India.
Bringing Safe Water to Remote Communities in Latin America
The PepsiCo Foundation partnered with Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on a program to install water pumps and delivery pipes in difficult-to-reach rural and dispersed communities in Latin America. Water infrastructure for these communities has historically lagged behind that of urban areas. This program helped provide access to clean water and sanitation for more than 778,000 people in Peru, Mexico, Colombia, and Honduras.
We're also working with IDB on a project called HydroBID, which uses predictive modelling based on climate change data and the competing needs of end-users to estimate freshwater availability. This innovative conservation program has increased the reliability of water access for more than 15 million people in nine countries.
Providing Safe Water Access to Farming Communities in India
In early 2020, as part of our focus on extending access programs to our agricultural supply chain in support of farmers and their families, The PepsiCo Foundation invested $3 million with WaterAid to help communities in India facing urgent water crises. The program aims to provide 200,000 people with access to piped water supply for household and farm use, as well as increased water accessibility.
Cleaning Up “Small Water Sources” in China
The PepsiCo Foundation worked with the China Women’s Development Foundation to train 200,000 residents near the Danjiangkou Water Reservoir in conservation and environmental protection techniques. This program will help to ensure a long-term supply of clean water for 10 million people by 2025.
Supporting Groundwater Purification in Ghana and India
In Ghana and India, local water sources often contain dangerous levels of contaminants that can cause debilitating illnesses. The PepsiCo Foundation partnered with Safe Water Network to pilot and expand support for “small water enterprises”—self-sustaining water delivery solutions that purify local groundwater. The programs have helped provide convenient, affordable, and reliable access to safe water to more than 1.5 million people since the partnership began in 2008.
In India, PepsiCo is working with smallholder farmers to encourage drip irrigation. In the Indian state of Maharashtra alone, approximately 95% of the land used to grow our potatoes uses micro-irrigation practices, such as drip irrigation and precision sprinklers. Part of our work is focused on helping farmers identify the strategies that work best for them.
At smallholder farms across India, we've been piloting a product called "family drip system," which is a low-tech, low-cost option based on gravity instead of continuously pumped water. This can help farmers grow more and optimize water efficiency by reducing run-off, leaching, and soil erosion. By using water-efficient agricultural practices across our potato supply chain, we reduced our water footprint in India by more than 1.7 billion liters of water in 2019.
PepsiCo is a member of the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), and we aim to adopt the AWS Standard at all of our high water-risk facilities by 2025.
Adopting the standard is helping us identify and pursue opportunities to be better water stewards at the local level. This includes working with local stakeholders to better understand the unique challenges of the watershed and focusing our efforts on collective action and advocacy to achieve better water governance.
In 2019, we piloted the AWS standard at three manufacturing locations in South Africa, Pakistan, and Mexico, and in 2020, we launched a pilot in the U.S. We are training our Operations, Public Policy and Government Affairs, Environmental, Health and Safety, and Supply Chain associates on local watershed concerns and how PepsiCo can work with local stakeholders to improve conditions for all.
Spotlight on South Africa:
Addressing local water challenges with local resources
When PepsiCo learned in 2018, that Cape Town, South Africa, might run out of fresh water, we became a founding member of the Greater Cape Town Water Fund (GCTWF), contributing what was, at the time, the organization’s largest financial commitment.
In 2019, PepsiCo launched our AWS South Africa pilot at our Simba Foods manufacturing facility in Cape Town. We are working alongside members of the local community to continually improve water management and ensure a water-secure future for Cape Town.
"Being based in Cape Town, water sustainability has been top of mind for us for some time now. Applying the AWS Standard at our Simba food manufacturing facility has helped bring together our longstanding efforts, including improving our own water footprint through operational efficiency measures and partnering to improve water security for all in the region through the Greater Cape Town Water Fund. The Standard is helping us shape a new way of working towards our end goal of being good water stewards."
Plant Manager, PepsiCo Simba Foods Facility
PepsiCo representative on the GCTWF team
"PepsiCo's leadership in adopting the Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard gives practical and commendable effect to the ‘think global, act local’ mentality, as it brings its considerable global leadership capabilities to act in concert with dynamic local stakeholders in Cape Town."
Dr. Mark Dent
Alliance for Water Stewardship South African Regional Coordinator and Global Training Development Manager
PepsiCo's support of the GCTWF has helped train women-led teams in specialized rope-access skills.
With support from PepsiCo, the Greater Cape Town Water Fund is removing these species in remote, high-elevation locations that are typically inaccessible, flying in women-led teams by helicopter for ecosystem restoration. We have trained team members in the specialized rope-access skills needed to remove trees in the remote, mountainous terrain. This training and skilled work experience also helps them earn higher wages as “high angle technicians,” improving their livelihoods.
By removing water-thirsty invasive trees, like pine, Cape Town is expected to add two months of water supply to seven sub-catchments that supply 73% of the area’s water. From 2018 to early 2020, almost 863 hectares of invasive plants were cleared and over 350 million liters of water replenished.
SEE HOW THE NATURE CONSERVANCY IS TACKLING WATER SCARCITY AT GREAT HEIGHTS IN GREATER CAPE TOWN REGION
To improve water-use efficiency while making some of our most iconic drinks, our sustainability engineers in the U.S. reconfigured the water flow and filtration process, rethinking the water treatment sequence in our facilities to enable us to recover more clean water. At the first site where this technology has been fully implemented, the new design has reduced our water footprint by over 40 million liters in 2019, compared to 2017 pre-project performance.
Splash Cone Technology Saves Water in Snacks Manufacturing
In 2019, PepsiCo installed innovative “splash cone” technology at select production facilities in high water-risk areas. The new technology distributes water more efficiently around our potato slicers, enabling a 64% reduction in water use. In 2019, this innovation avoided approximately 62 million liters of water use at these locations. As this technology rolls out across PepsiCo’s global manufacturing operations, it has the potential to reduce water use by over 640 million liters every year—the equivalent of 320 competitive-size swimming pools.
Around the world, PepsiCo has been implementing different strategies to ensure we continue to operate in a way that is sustainable for the planet, our business, and our shared communities.
Our teams implemented projects aimed at reducing our water footprint in production plants located in water-stressed regions across Latin America and, since 2015, we have reduced the water footprint in our Latin American food plants by an average of more than 28%. This reduction was the result of more efficient practices, such as water reuse technologies, splash cones, and low-spray nozzles in our potato and corn lines.
Water reuse pumps at a PepsiCo Mexico Foods facility.
To use water more efficiently in our Vallejo, Mexico plant, our local team implemented a new technology that reduces the amount of water needed to clean potatoes before cooking. By coupling this innovation with technologies like reverse osmosis, that purify water for reuse, we’ve been able to reuse 70% of the water needed for daily snack production.
Using water more efficiently is just one part of our sustainability journey in Mexico. In 2019, all the production plants in our Mexico Foods operation sent zero waste to landfill. In March 2016, our Mexico Foods business initiated a purchase agreement to source a large portion of its power via wind energy and, by 2019, 65% of the business’s power was wind-based.
PepsiCo partners with organizations like The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to replenish local watersheds in areas where we operate. In 2019, we replenished more than 1.6 billion liters of water around the world through a variety of projects and partnerships.
In Camp Verde, Arizona, located in the Verde River Basin, PepsiCo and TNC are partnering to help local farmers implement more sustainable techniques, such as seasonal crop switching, that reduce the need for irrigation and support local economic development in the watershed.
Traditional summer crops grown in the Verde River Valley, such as alfalfa and corn, require significant water during the hot and dry summer growing season. In contrast, barley is harvested before the critical summer water-stress period. By working with farmers to switch from growing alfalfa and corn to malt barley, this program reduces the irrigation needs in the critical summer months when the Verde River is low, ultimately leaving more water in the river. The effort is estimated to have replenished 130 million liters of water in 2019.
This program also helped support the market for barley by creating a local malting facility, Sinagua Malt. Creating this local demand provides a profit incentive for farmers to sell barley and helps ensure that conversion to crop switching continues to grow. The malt barley can also be sold to craft breweries around the state and has potential value in other markets, which may further increase future demand.