‘Not simply one other initiative’: How PepsiCo is combining innovation and sustainability

‘Not simply one other initiative’: How PepsiCo is combining innovation and sustainability
‘Not simply one other initiative’: How PepsiCo is combining innovation and sustainability

Picture: PepsiCo

Sustainability won’t be the very first thing you consider if you crack open a can of chilly soda, however Athina Kanioura, chief technique and transformation officer at PepsiCo, says a want to create a constructive environmental impression sits on the coronary heart of her firm’s method.

Whether or not it is utilizing AI to forestall water leaks in factories, creating bio-based thermoplastic for product show stands or utilizing bespoke knowledge platforms to satisfy regulatory necessities, PepsiCo is working onerous to make sure the merchandise it sells are produced, shipped, and offered in as sustainable method as attainable.

“For us, it’s an integral a part of the corporate,” she says. “It is all about how we will create a constructive setting, whether or not that is for the meals worth chain, for the communities we serve, or for the individuals who make and purchase our merchandise.”

PepsiCo’s sustainability efforts are often known as pep+ (PepsiCo Optimistic), which chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta has described as “the way forward for the corporate” and a elementary transformation of what the corporate does and the way.

Additionally: Tech for a sustainable future: The challenges and alternatives forward

Kanioura says expertise performs a key function in serving to the corporate make this variation and her group seems at sustainability via a number of lenses. 

One is portfolio, which covers the merchandise the corporate creates, whether or not that is cans of soda or packets of chips. One other lens is centered on packaging and the motion from plastics to biodegradable supplies. Lastly, there’s vital effort throughout agro and local weather change, notably in relation to assembly targets and driving innovation.

PepsiCo employs about 250,000 folks globally and develops a spread of data-led applied sciences in-house, notably for making certain compliance with environmental, social and governance (ESG) laws.

Nevertheless, the corporate additionally acknowledges that innovation is a staff sport, and it really works with exterior organizations to develop progressive options to intractable sustainability challenges. 


Athina Kanioura says sustainability is an integral a part of PepsiCo.

Picture: PepsiCo

“For various capabilities, we have now companions,” says Kanioura. “We tackle a particular drawback that we have now on this house with both a tech startup or a longtime firm.” 

The work with startups is led by David Schwartz, VP of PepsiCo Labs, which is a specialist staff that comes underneath Kanioura’s stewardship and is tasked with harnessing innovation. 

Schwatrz defined to ZDNET final yr how the lab — which has scaled greater than 30 startups in over 200 nations to date — is engaged on a spread of merchandise which can be serving to PepsiCo meet its sustainability targets.

Examples embrace a partnership with expertise agency WINT, which makes use of synthetic intelligence to forestall water leaks in PepsiCo factories — estimates recommend the system can lower annual water consumption by as a lot as 25%. 

In Turkey, PepsiCo is working with Pulse Industrial and BrenPower to watch and detect failures in steam traps within the firm’s vegetation via an AI system.

PepsiCo can be working with UBQ Supplies to show unsorted family waste, together with organics and unrecyclable plastics, right into a bio-based thermoplastic that can be utilized in product show stands.

Schwatrz says the intention is to convey these improvements inside the corporate and to supply environmentally useful leads to as efficient manner as attainable.

“We’re a big firm with a big infrastructure,” he says. “We wish to make sure that the answer integrates seamlessly into the PepsiCo system.”

Throughout all these pioneering areas, Kanioura says it is essential to acknowledge that delivering constructive outcomes for the setting is far more than a nice-to-have.

Additionally: PepsiCo is working with startups to faucet new sources of innovation. Here is the way it does it

She emphasizes the requirement to make sure ESG components are thought of in all funding evaluation and enterprise selections.

PepsiCo already reviews ESG indicators throughout “tons of and tons of of KPIs”, says Kanioura.

Kanioura says the corporate has constructed a bespoke knowledge basis that goals to create a consolidated platform for the data the corporate holds — and that represents a step change from what can typically occur in different huge companies.

“Information is historically held in every single place — it may be in spreadsheets, a few of it may be held within the fleet division, somebody might need it in a unique system within the agro staff or in a manufacturing facility, and a few of it is likely to be held on an enormous platform,” she says.

“If we will have one single knowledge basis for sustainability, then it’s totally straightforward to report KPIs in a constant manner. It turns into a lot simpler to embed sustainability as a key issue and parameter in each program we do.” 

Kanioura provides an instance: the corporate runs built-in enterprise planning, the place it makes selections on its goals for the subsequent three years. 

One among these selections may embrace product launches, which can solely achieve success if the corporate can think about all of the variations of sustainability as a part of the launch course of.

“Until you embed the sustainability KPIs in each a part of the method in PepsiCo, you’ll by no means have the ability to make the change,” she says. 

The intention now, says Kanioura, is to proceed honing the method and to make sure that the expertise techniques her staff supplies — whether or not they’re bespoke developments or created in partnership with exterior innovators — are making it straightforward to position sustainability on the coronary heart of every enterprise determination.

“We have to consider all the important thing areas of our enterprise after which think about how we embed sustainability KPIs into each single program, from the supply, which is what we name the ‘make half’ of our enterprise, the transfer a part of our enterprise — we have now the most important fleet in North America — and the sale to the patron,” she says.

“The one factor that I wish to stress above all else is that sustainability is an integral a part of the technique of this firm. It isn’t simply one other initiative.”