LA’s Magic Johnson Park now features a stormwater recycling system

March 24, 2021 by  
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Named for former NBA star Earvin “Magic” Johnson in 1994 and known as the largest park in South Los Angeles , the 126-acre Magic Johnson Park has recently undergone a sustainable renovation. Some of the updates include a stormwater capture and recycling system as well as a new landscaping design focused on the native plants of California. The project is led by a partnership between landscape architecture company AHBE and Berkeley-based multidisciplinary firm Moore Iacofano Goltsman (MIG). “The inspiration behind this project has been to transform a widely-used community-based park into something much more: an interactive and dynamic center of learning, nature and engagement that is powered through environmentally sustainable design,” said Gary Lai, Principal and Director of Regenerative Design for AHBE | MIG. “We believe that the enhancements for Phase 1-A of the Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson Park ensure its standing as a world-class urban park for the community while also serving as a model for sustainability and conservation for the County of Los Angeles.” Related: This city park in Amsterdam could help purify local water At the forefront of the project is an innovative stormwater recycling system that captures and diverts rainwater runoff. The freshwater is then treated with natural biofiltration through the wetlands inside the park. The park’s two lakes, which also feature a half-mile-long walking trail with picnic areas, act as storage for the water until it can be used for irrigation. The wetlands also benefit urban wildlife by creating a habitat for local birds and insects. New landscaping highlights native flora and includes a coastal sage scrub and freshwater marsh wetlands. The park will also offer a new, 20,000-square-foot community event center, which is not yet open to the public. Additional features include indoor and outdoor social spaces and a children’s play area with a splash pad. A series of scenic viewpoints are complemented with outdoor “classrooms” and educational graphics to help visitors understand the park’s natural environment. + AHBE | MIG Images via AHBE | MIG

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Texas lawsuit fights environmental racism in highway expansion project

March 24, 2021 by  
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Starting in the years after World War II, Black neighborhoods around the U.S. were destroyed and replaced with highways in the name of urban renewal. But people in Harris County, Texas have had enough. The county is suing the state to stop an I-45 expansion that would displace more than 1,000 households and would mostly affect people of color and low-income residents. The plan is to elevate segments of the highway in North Houston and add several lanes. In addition to the 1,079 households affected, the highway widening would displace 341 businesses, two schools and five churches. Flooding, traffic and higher levels of air pollution pose additional concerns. Related: A Chinese highway becomes a vibrant, community-centered ‘livable street’ The Biden administration and the Federal Highway Administration have voiced their opinions supporting residents’ civil rights. “This is an opportunity for this new administration to really back up what it’s been saying regarding highway projects that perpetuate environmental racism ,” said Bakeyah Nelson of Air Alliance Houston, as reported by The Guardian . Nelson thinks it’s a mistake to build homes this close to highways in the first place. “These affordable housing units are in locations where they’re already being exposed to greater environmental hazards than if they were farther away from the highway,” she said. The state has stood by the $7 billion expansion plan, saying it needs to update the freeway and increase its capacity. But not all studies back the thesis that more lanes lead to less congestion. An analysis of an earlier highway widening project in Houston concluded that it wound up increasing the average commute time for about 85% of motorists using the highway (and that highway spanned a whopping 26 lanes at its widest point). “For a generation we’ve gone on building more lanes, putting down more concrete, thinking that somehow magically that’s going to reduce traffic,” said Lina Hidalgo, Harris County judge, in a March 11 press conference. “We cannot continue to support transportation policy that prioritizes cars over people.” Via The Guardian and Catalyst Image via Patrick Feller

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NOAA predicts drought in the west, flooding in the east

March 24, 2021 by  
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Prepare for more drought in the West and flooding in the East, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s spring outlook report. Most of the western half of the country is already in moderate to exceptional drought conditions, which, unfortunately, is likely to expand into the most significant spring drought since 2013. The  drought  could impact about 74 million people. “The Southwest U.S., which is already experiencing widespread severe to exceptional drought, will remain the hardest hit region in the U.S., and water supply will continue to be a concern this spring in these drought-affected areas,” said Mary Erickson, deputy director of the National Weather Service. “This is a major change from recent years where millions were impacted by severe flooding. Nonetheless, NOAA’s forecasts and outlooks will continue to serve as a resource for  emergency  managers and community decision-makers as they navigate all potential extreme seasonal weather and water events.” Related: New study predicts 6-month summers by 2100 Why so dry? The failed 2020 summer monsoon, low  soil  moisture and warmer than usual temperatures are all reasons cited by the NOAA. Southern Florida and the southern and central Great Plains will see increased drought conditions. If there’s not enough spring rain, the northern Plains could also see its existing drought worsen. As for flooding, the NOAA isn’t predicting major or prolonged flooding. But a lot of minor to moderate floods will likely hit the coastal plain of the Carolinas and the Lower Missouri and Lower Ohio River basins. Many Midwestern streams are swollen from late-winter rainfall.  NOAA  publishes seasonal outlooks to help people prepare for what’s in store.  “Our national hydrologic assessment helps to inform the nation where there will likely be too much or too little water. This spring, we anticipate a reduced risk for flooding , and forecast significantly below average water supply where impacts due to low flow contribute to the continued drought,” said Ed Clark, director of NOAA’s National Water Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Via NOAA Lead image via Pixabay Additional images via NOAA

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Thinking Huts and Studio Mortazavi plan a 3D-printed school in Madagascar

March 16, 2021 by  
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International architectural firm Studio Mortazavi has teamed up with Colorado-based nonprofit Thinking Huts to propose designs for the world’s first 3D-printed school to be located in southern Madagascar . Developed to improve access to education in remote and impoverished areas, the modular concept taps into 3D printing for its low-carbon benefits and ability to shorten construction time from months to a matter of days. The design team, which has also partnered with Finland-based 3D technology company Hyperion Robotics and local Madagascar university EMIT, hopes to break ground on the pilot project in 2021. According to UNESCO, over 260 million children around the world lack access to education — a staggering number that includes over half of Madagascar’s 1.3 million primary-age children, who are not enrolled in school due to classroom overcrowding. As a result, Thinking Huts and Studio Mortazavi chose southern Madagascar for the pilot site, not only because of the pressing need for more educational infrastructure but also because of the country’s economic growth potential, political stability and optimal conditions for solar harvesting. Related: BIG unveils sustainable, 3D-printed lunar igloos for Moon exploration The 3D-printed pilot school will follow a low-cost modular design for scalability and adaptability. Inspired by a beehive, each wedge-shaped module will be printed from clay with natural pigments from the local landscape, then joined together with other units into a variety of configurations. Each module can be used as a standalone classroom that accommodates 20 children with space for a library, reading area, whiteboard desks and chairs, two individual toilets, a shared sink and storage. The modules can also be easily adapted for other uses such as a dance studio, woodworking shop and even housing. The eco-minded prototype project is expected to feature a vertical garden on the outside of its 3D-printed walls as well as rooftop solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system. “We are thrilled to be working with Studio Mortazavi who is at the forefront of design and innovation, forming a strong partnership that values sustainability within the construction industry as we seek to increase access to education via 3D-printed schools,” said Maggie Grout, founder of Thinking Huts. “We believe education is the vital catalyst to solving global issues ranging from gender inequality to poverty; achievable through local partnerships, we are building a future where communities have the necessary infrastructure to ensure that education is accessible to all.” Once the prototype project is complete, Thinking Huts hopes to build three additional schools with its materials partner LafargeHolcim in Madagascar’s Ibity. + Thinking Huts Images via Thinking Huts

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PepsiCo CSO on embedding sustainability into ‘day-to-day business’

February 1, 2021 by  
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PepsiCo CSO on embedding sustainability into ‘day-to-day business’ Heather Clancy Mon, 02/01/2021 – 02:00 The number of companies proclaiming their intent to go net-zero by 2050 has expanded exponentially in the past 12 months, but the ones short-cutting that commitment by a decade are a rarer breed. In mid-January, PepsiCo joined that club with a strategy to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent across its entire value chain by 2030 and to reach the elusive net-zero emissions status 10 years before it’s called for by the Paris Agreement. The latter commitment is one touted by members of The Climate Pledge, orchestrated by Amazon and Global Optimism, although PepsiCo isn’t a member of that campaign as of this writing. The same week that PepsiCo announced its new ambition, the company’s foundation extended the terms of its 14-year-long relationship with the Inter-American Development Bank — with initiatives including a fund meant to promote the inclusion of women in regenerative, sustainable agricultural models in Latin America. The extension will see $6 million more invested through 2026, initially in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Guatemala. Even though the foundation is a separate entity, there is a close link between its mission and the company’s sustainability goals, according to senior executives. These initiatives, for example, are thought of in terms of years rather than months. “We have to have the certainty that the community will invest the time and willingness to go on with a program for several years, and we need to create awareness,” said PepsiCo’s Latin America CEO, Paula Santilli, when I asked her about how communities are selected. “We choose mathematically and analytically and concentrate on those communities on the wrong side of the poverty line.” I’ve got history in sustainability, but I’m a business guy. In addition to Santilli, I recently chatted with PepsiCo Chief Sustainability Officer Jim Andrew about the link between sustainability and community development, as well as the strategy behind some other developments announced as part of its updated climate strategy — such as its new Sustainable from the Start product development philosophy and two new internal carbon pricing programs meant to embed climate-centric thinking into everyday business decisions. Andrew, an avid scuba diver who joined PepsiCo about 4.5 years ago after heading strategy and innovation at Royal Philips, took over as CSO after Simon Lowden retired last fall. “I think speed is of the essence, not just for PepsiCo, but for the whole world, for the planet and all the people in it,” Andrew told me when I asked for the motivation behind the accelerated goal. Following is a transcript of our discussion, edited for clarity and length. The Frito-Lay facility in Modesto, California. PepsiCo accelerates efforts to build a more resilient and sustainable food system, reducing absolute GHG emissions more than 4 percent by 2030 across entire value chain and pledging to net-zero emissions by 2040. Photo courtesy of PepsiCo Heather Clancy: The goals were finalized alongside the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Did that experience influence the final shape of the climate goals? Was anything adapted or reconsidered because of what was going on? Jim Andrew: Certainly COVID-19 has been a challenge for everyone on multi levels. But what I think it’s done, it’s really shone a light on the need to be even bolder and move even faster. What has it done? It has, I think, sharpened the focus on the need to move urgently. We all saw that the food system is probably more fragile than we thought. We saw that the need for a food system that is sustainable, that is regenerative, that is inclusive, it’s probably bigger than we thought. In that respect, it didn’t influence what we wanted to do, but it probably helped re-emphasize the need to be big and be fast. Clancy: You mentioned a couple of interim goals to the 2040 one. I’m just curious if you have other short-term milestones that we should expect or watch for. What should we watch for? And how will PepsiCo disclose them? Andrew: You should watch for transparency, consistency and regularity in our reporting. We are completely open in that. Any goal we set, believe me, there’s a lot of work behind coming up with those goals. We put as much work into ensuring transparent reporting because it helps us be accountable — both internally and externally, candidly — and also helps us track progress. We’re a company that likes to set a big objective out there and then go get it. One of the big parts of my job is mobilizing the organization. I’ve got history in sustainability, but I’m a business guy. I didn’t major in environmental science. I’m a business guy working to drive in partnership with our CEO, Ramon Laguarta, and the rest of my executive peers to really drive the organization forward. Having clear goals, having really good data integrity, is at the heart of all of our ESG reporting. That’s important because then we know how we’re doing. It also builds trust. That’s something that we take really importantly. So what are you going to see from us? We’re going to report our progress annually in our sustainability report. We have one coming up in a few months and will be happy to talk to you again, when that comes out. Anytime we can provide real-time updates, we will. All of the reporting entities, we’re in alignment with — the Global Reporting Initiative, the CDP, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. We just issued our first [TCFD] report. So, we are going to be transparent; you’re going see it on a regular basis. Our objective is set some bold goals, and then go get them and hold ourselves accountable. Clancy: Since you brought it up, how will you engage the PepsiCo organization to deliver, especially when we’re all in this new age of remote work? Andrew: It’s been incredibly exciting to me to see just in four months the level of excitement in our organization. We’re 260,000-odd people around the world, 200-plus countries and territories. We’re a big complex organization, but there’s a level of interest and excitement. People get it. You ask me, how am I going to engage? There’s three things that you’ve got to do. The first is you’ve got to excite people. With PepsiCo, when you announce an ambitious goal, like our climate goal, people get excited and they get energized. Honestly, a lot of our partners — our bottlers, our co-manufacturers, our suppliers — I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me and say, “Hey, this is really exciting. How can we help? We’re in on it.” So the first thing you got to do internally and also externally is excite and a big goal does that. You know, make no small plans? I think that’s one of the real keys to make sustainability work. You got to embed it in the business strategy, the business processes and the actions everybody takes every day. The second is, there is a level of education that’s important. When we talk to people internally about regenerative agriculture, Scope 3 emissions, those are terms that to most people are new. So we need to introduce those terms. We need to educate people on why the goals matter, but most importantly, how are we going to achieve them. Because that’s what it’s all really about, and we’re doing that across the company. Because we’re Scope 3, it’s got to be across your whole supply chain. We’ve rolled out, as part of the climate goal, a really well-done employee training program specific to our employees to help them understand the role of us as a company, and then the role of them as individuals. What can they do to mitigate climate change? And then finally, it’s about engagement, it’s how do we take that excitement, take that education and then really engage people to drive real action. Because ultimately, it’s about action, it’s about results, it’s about moving the needle. And so that’s everything from, how do we give people the tools? How do we put it in their incentives? How do we talk about it on a regular basis? How do we measure it clearly, because what gets measured gets done, all those things. So: Excite, Educate and Engage. Clancy: How will the Sustainable from the Start Program be implemented, and which product divisions will be first to adopt it? Andrew: That’s a great question, because this is one of my real beliefs and one of my real emphases, which is how do you get sustainability not as something that happens “over there,” but that is really part of the day-to-day business, part of the day-to-day work. Because if it’s part of what we do every day, then it happens and that’s how you really drive action. So, we’re looking at where there are business processes where we can embed sustainability. New product development is a great example. Everybody, every part of the company is interested in and cares about what happens in new product development. So we started this program called Sustainable from the Start, and it really puts sustainability at the heart of product design and new product development, because what it does is it encourages, but it also enables product development teams to make environmental impact a part of their decision-making from the very beginning as they think about the whole product life cycle. We’ve rolled out some tools that really help, because you’ve got to make it simple. The less friction that we can introduce, the easier it’s going to be. So we gave people a set of tools, so that they can estimate, for example, the carbon and the water footprint of products and development, and what are the choices that they make early that are going to affect those footprints. And then they can compare that data to some best practice benchmarks that we’ve built in, so they know what good looks like and they can make more informed decisions. Things like recyclability impediments. If people don’t know, they will not be able to make the kind of decisions that they will if they’re informed. That gets back to the education point I was making as well. If they’re informed and they’re energized and they’re motivated, then they’re going to make decisions that will have big impacts as we move through the life cycle. A big focus of the Sustainable from the Start program is reducing GHG emissions, sure, but also things like discouraging the use of non-recyclable packaging, because that’s really important. So we’ve conducted life-cycle analyses, carbon footprints. We’ve done it for about a quarter of all of our brands now, and we’ve got plans to get all of them done. When you’re a company as big as PepsiCo, you’ve got a lot of brands, so it takes a little while to go through. We’ll have more to share on this — again, transparency, openness. But it’s a great business tool that we’re actively embedding, so that people are thinking about this, from the beginning, as a part of their day-to-day jobs. Because I think that’s one of the real keys to make sustainability work. You got to embed it in the business strategy, the business processes and the actions everybody takes every day. A farmer gives her livestock water in Cucungara, Peru. The success of infrastructure projects piloted by PepsiCo and the IDB in these rural communities has attracted additional support from international public sector partners that has been used to fund new infrastructure, including pipe systems and treatment plants. Photo courtesy of PepsiCo Clancy: Can you share more detail about the internal carbon pricing programs? Why are you embracing them now? Did they take effect? When will they take effect? Andrew: That’s another great example of where we’re trying to take environmental sustainability considerations and just put them in the normal flow of business. So, we’re going to have to collaborate and get employees involved, and also partners and suppliers and everything. There’s a couple that we mentioned. One is, how do we eliminate the carbon impact of employee business air travel? A lot of people travel; a lot of people may or may not fully understand what the implications are of that. What we have done is we have said that anytime any employee is going to travel by air for business, we’re going to put a price on that. And then we’re going to take that money, and we’re going to deploy it with a third party into our supply chain. It’s not something that’s out there, it’s put into our supply chain, to fully eliminate the impact of the emissions from that flight. And it’s flight by flight. And it allows every employee, every time they book a flight, to see that their choice has an impact and also that we as a company will do something. Again, it’s about how do you excite people because people get excited about, “Hey, I can do something.” It’s about how you educate them, because it’s right there, it’s going to be in the booking tool. We are programming it, as we speak. Then it’s ultimately about how you engage them, so they go do something. So that’s one. We’re rolling it out now. By the middle of this year, it’ll be up and running, full go. Then we’re also looking at how we build the carbon impact into carrier selection for third-party logistics. We’re working with our procurement team, so that the climate goals are a part of the consideration when they’re choosing carriers. Because what this will do is it will help you enforce, again, climate considerations and business decisions, which will help drive GHG reductions. And then we’re going to learn from these things, and we’re going to look for where can we continue to expand across other business processes, ways to just embed this into the everyday thinking in activities. Clancy: Those are great examples. Thank you for being so specific. Andrew: The carrier selection is being piloted right now. The employee air travel right now, obviously, we’ve got to do a little programming and not a lot of people are flying a whole lot right now. But the carrier selection program is being piloted right now. Clancy: The pandemic has underscored the fragility of the recycling infrastructure around the world, as well as the food system. What new investments is PepsiCo making to improve collection? And what steps are you taking to increase the use of recycled content in your packaging? Andrew: We have a very clear vision, and that’s a world where packaging never becomes waste. That is front and center for everything we do in packaging. There’s really three things that we have to [enforce that policy]. The first is reduce plastic use. The second is improve recycling, and the third is reinvent our packaging. Let me talk about those now and answer your question. To improve recycling, especially as you say, given some of the challenges, this is a systemic change that is necessary and it requires a lot of partnerships across the full value chain. It requires collaboration between the public sector and the private sector. And it really is how do we work together end-to-end for a circular economy for plastics? We set goals, and then we go and we work really hard to go achieve them. But you’ve got to be transparent along the way about what’s working, what’s not. Specifically to your question, in the last three years, we’ve pledged more than $65 million globally for recycling and collection. A little over a year ago we issued our first green bond. It was a $1 billion green bond. We’ve allocated just about half of that, I think it was $447 million, of the proceeds to projects that advance sustainability. Roughly $200 million of that was specifically to procure recycled PET in our North American beverage packaging. You want to talk about creating a market, that’s creating a market. We have brands, whole brands that are [using] 100 percent recycled PET in Europe. We’ve targeted 100 percent recycled PET in nine countries for our lineup of Pepsi-branded beverage bottles by the end of 2022. We’re working to both support the recycling infrastructure in partnership with other people in the supply chain, public entities, competitors, because this is something that we all have to work on. And then we’re also working at driving demand because if we drive demand and make clear what our commitments are, that helps support the investments that people need to make all along the chain. [Editor’s note: PepsiCo brands using 100 percent PET for their packaging include LIFEWTR, Tazo Tea and Naked Juice.] Clancy: The PepsiCo Foundation has invested considerably in cultivating economic growth and opportunities for women and disadvantaged communities around the world. How does the PepsiCo corporate sustainability team collaborate on those projects? How do they shape the execution of your strategy? How are they aligned? Andrew: We work very closely with the foundation. Again, this is a great example of where we work to use the scale and the reach that PepsiCo has to have a positive impact really across communities around the world, where we operate and to really show some leadership in helping to build a food system that’s sustainable, regenerative and inclusive, to your point. So what we’re always trying to do is work on both people and planet. The foundation and the business have very much those objectives. A good example of collaboration — in addition to the climate news we announced — was the announcement where PepsiCo, in particular our Latin American operations, with our CEO there, Paula Santilli, and the PepsiCo Foundation announced that they are expanding the social and environmental impact partnership that we have with the Inter-American Development Bank. We will go another five years through 2026. It’s a nearly $6 million investment. It builds on the heels of what has been a very successful investment in a partnership over the last 14 years. Over the last 14 years, we’ve supported about 19 million people across Latin America and the Caribbean, on five big pillars of things that are really, really important: water access; nutrition; sustainable agriculture; inclusive recycling; and disaster relief programs. There’s a great example of where the business, the foundation and third parties have been able to collaborate in ways that are more powerful. It’s one of those one plus one plus one equals probably seven. A lot of people have had been helped by a partnership that none of the organizations could do by themselves. Clancy: What’s on your mind right now that I haven’t asked about that you feel like we should talk about more? Andrew: This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot. The challenges that the world is facing, when it comes to climate — again, go back to our recent climate announcement, which is top of mind — are challenges where no company, no government, no NGO can do it themselves. The need for collaboration, for partnership, for working together, has never been higher. These are difficult challenges. These are not things that can be solved by any one entity, and they’re not things that are there to be solved overnight. But they are also things that we can’t wait on. The science is clear, the need is clear; the time to act is now. All of us have to find partners to move forward. There’s going to be some mistakes, there’s going be some things that won’t work but together, we have to work together, find those areas of common interest and where we can complement each other, and then move forward with urgency. That’s why we looked and said: “We want big goals, we want goals that will motivate not only ourselves internally, but also other folks externally.” I’ve gotten a lot of calls from people saying, “Hey, great, how do we team up? I see you’re interested in this; how can we work together on that?” That’s what we need. I wake up every day, I wake up every morning, and I worry about what’s going on and sustainability and how PepsiCo is going to drive forward and meet our goals and move the needle on things. But I also think about, how can we do that with others? So, to me, that’s so important and I’m not sure that is fully appreciated by everybody who needs to work together. Clancy: There is a certain amount of skepticism about some of these big alliances right now. How do you keep them relevant and authentic? Andrew: You have to be open, transparent; you’ve got to build trust; and then you’ve got to show results. I think if those things happen, a lot of problems are going to take care of themselves. Back to the question you asked about milestones, transparency. We don’t set goals that we don’t think we can achieve. We don’t know always how we’re going to achieve them because they are big goals, and they’re bold, and they’re aggressive. But that’s what’s needed. But we don’t set ones just to get a headline or, as much as I love talking to you, we don’t set big goals just to be able to go do interviews. We set goals, and then we go and we work really hard to go achieve them. But you’ve got to be transparent along the way about what’s working, what’s not. How are we doing? Clancy: I just have one last question. What’s your most important priority as a chief sustainability officer at this time? Andrew: Oh, that’s easy. I’ve probably got the best job in the company because I get a combination of the chief sustainability role, and also some business responsibilities, which are all about sustainability. But the most important thing is easy, which is achieving the goals we’ve set. That’s hard to do, but easy to say. But that’s the priority. Ultimately it’s about how do we make the planet better for both the planet and for the people on the planet. How do we drive forward results around climate? How do we reduce emissions? How do we increase our renewable electricity to 100 percent globally? How do we end up at net-zero? That’s what is the most important part of my job. That’s what motivates me, because that’s what ultimately will show up and create real change. I need to work with a whole lot of people internally — 260,000 people have all got to be pulling in that direction. It starts at the top and goes all the way down to our frontline workers, but it also is true externally. But that’s my priority 1, 2, 3, working in every way that I can, with everybody to help us achieve the results that we know are necessary for the planet and the people on it. Pull Quote I’ve got history in sustainability, but I’m a business guy. I think that’s one of the real keys to make sustainability work. You got to embed it in the business strategy, the business processes and the actions everybody takes every day. We set goals, and then we go and we work really hard to go achieve them. But you’ve got to be transparent along the way about what’s working, what’s not. Topics Corporate Strategy Corporate Social Responsibility Net-Zero Carbon Pricing Collective Insight The GreenBiz Interview Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off PepsiCo CSO Jim Andrew

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PepsiCo CSO on embedding sustainability into ‘day-to-day business’

PepsiCo CSO on embedding sustainability into ‘day-to-day business’

February 1, 2021 by  
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PepsiCo CSO on embedding sustainability into ‘day-to-day business’ Heather Clancy Mon, 02/01/2021 – 02:00 The number of companies proclaiming their intent to go net-zero by 2050 has expanded exponentially in the past 12 months, but the ones short-cutting that commitment by a decade are a rarer breed. In mid-January, PepsiCo joined that club with a strategy to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent across its entire value chain by 2030 and to reach the elusive net-zero emissions status 10 years before it’s called for by the Paris Agreement. The latter commitment is one touted by members of The Climate Pledge, orchestrated by Amazon and Global Optimism, although PepsiCo isn’t a member of that campaign as of this writing. The same week that PepsiCo announced its new ambition, the company’s foundation extended the terms of its 14-year-long relationship with the Inter-American Development Bank — with initiatives including a fund meant to promote the inclusion of women in regenerative, sustainable agricultural models in Latin America. The extension will see $6 million more invested through 2026, initially in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Guatemala. Even though the foundation is a separate entity, there is a close link between its mission and the company’s sustainability goals, according to senior executives. These initiatives, for example, are thought of in terms of years rather than months. “We have to have the certainty that the community will invest the time and willingness to go on with a program for several years, and we need to create awareness,” said PepsiCo’s Latin America CEO, Paula Santilli, when I asked her about how communities are selected. “We choose mathematically and analytically and concentrate on those communities on the wrong side of the poverty line.” I’ve got history in sustainability, but I’m a business guy. In addition to Santilli, I recently chatted with PepsiCo Chief Sustainability Officer Jim Andrew about the link between sustainability and community development, as well as the strategy behind some other developments announced as part of its updated climate strategy — such as its new Sustainable from the Start product development philosophy and two new internal carbon pricing programs meant to embed climate-centric thinking into everyday business decisions. Andrew, an avid scuba diver who joined PepsiCo about 4.5 years ago after heading strategy and innovation at Royal Philips, took over as CSO after Simon Lowden retired last fall. “I think speed is of the essence, not just for PepsiCo, but for the whole world, for the planet and all the people in it,” Andrew told me when I asked for the motivation behind the accelerated goal. Following is a transcript of our discussion, edited for clarity and length. The Frito-Lay facility in Modesto, California. PepsiCo accelerates efforts to build a more resilient and sustainable food system, reducing absolute GHG emissions more than 4 percent by 2030 across entire value chain and pledging to net-zero emissions by 2040. Photo courtesy of PepsiCo Heather Clancy: The goals were finalized alongside the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Did that experience influence the final shape of the climate goals? Was anything adapted or reconsidered because of what was going on? Jim Andrew: Certainly COVID-19 has been a challenge for everyone on multi levels. But what I think it’s done, it’s really shone a light on the need to be even bolder and move even faster. What has it done? It has, I think, sharpened the focus on the need to move urgently. We all saw that the food system is probably more fragile than we thought. We saw that the need for a food system that is sustainable, that is regenerative, that is inclusive, it’s probably bigger than we thought. In that respect, it didn’t influence what we wanted to do, but it probably helped re-emphasize the need to be big and be fast. Clancy: You mentioned a couple of interim goals to the 2040 one. I’m just curious if you have other short-term milestones that we should expect or watch for. What should we watch for? And how will PepsiCo disclose them? Andrew: You should watch for transparency, consistency and regularity in our reporting. We are completely open in that. Any goal we set, believe me, there’s a lot of work behind coming up with those goals. We put as much work into ensuring transparent reporting because it helps us be accountable — both internally and externally, candidly — and also helps us track progress. We’re a company that likes to set a big objective out there and then go get it. One of the big parts of my job is mobilizing the organization. I’ve got history in sustainability, but I’m a business guy. I didn’t major in environmental science. I’m a business guy working to drive in partnership with our CEO, Ramon Laguarta, and the rest of my executive peers to really drive the organization forward. Having clear goals, having really good data integrity, is at the heart of all of our ESG reporting. That’s important because then we know how we’re doing. It also builds trust. That’s something that we take really importantly. So what are you going to see from us? We’re going to report our progress annually in our sustainability report. We have one coming up in a few months and will be happy to talk to you again, when that comes out. Anytime we can provide real-time updates, we will. All of the reporting entities, we’re in alignment with — the Global Reporting Initiative, the CDP, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. We just issued our first [TCFD] report. So, we are going to be transparent; you’re going see it on a regular basis. Our objective is set some bold goals, and then go get them and hold ourselves accountable. Clancy: Since you brought it up, how will you engage the PepsiCo organization to deliver, especially when we’re all in this new age of remote work? Andrew: It’s been incredibly exciting to me to see just in four months the level of excitement in our organization. We’re 260,000-odd people around the world, 200-plus countries and territories. We’re a big complex organization, but there’s a level of interest and excitement. People get it. You ask me, how am I going to engage? There’s three things that you’ve got to do. The first is you’ve got to excite people. With PepsiCo, when you announce an ambitious goal, like our climate goal, people get excited and they get energized. Honestly, a lot of our partners — our bottlers, our co-manufacturers, our suppliers — I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me and say, “Hey, this is really exciting. How can we help? We’re in on it.” So the first thing you got to do internally and also externally is excite and a big goal does that. You know, make no small plans? I think that’s one of the real keys to make sustainability work. You got to embed it in the business strategy, the business processes and the actions everybody takes every day. The second is, there is a level of education that’s important. When we talk to people internally about regenerative agriculture, Scope 3 emissions, those are terms that to most people are new. So we need to introduce those terms. We need to educate people on why the goals matter, but most importantly, how are we going to achieve them. Because that’s what it’s all really about, and we’re doing that across the company. Because we’re Scope 3, it’s got to be across your whole supply chain. We’ve rolled out, as part of the climate goal, a really well-done employee training program specific to our employees to help them understand the role of us as a company, and then the role of them as individuals. What can they do to mitigate climate change? And then finally, it’s about engagement, it’s how do we take that excitement, take that education and then really engage people to drive real action. Because ultimately, it’s about action, it’s about results, it’s about moving the needle. And so that’s everything from, how do we give people the tools? How do we put it in their incentives? How do we talk about it on a regular basis? How do we measure it clearly, because what gets measured gets done, all those things. So: Excite, Educate and Engage. Clancy: How will the Sustainable from the Start Program be implemented, and which product divisions will be first to adopt it? Andrew: That’s a great question, because this is one of my real beliefs and one of my real emphases, which is how do you get sustainability not as something that happens “over there,” but that is really part of the day-to-day business, part of the day-to-day work. Because if it’s part of what we do every day, then it happens and that’s how you really drive action. So, we’re looking at where there are business processes where we can embed sustainability. New product development is a great example. Everybody, every part of the company is interested in and cares about what happens in new product development. So we started this program called Sustainable from the Start, and it really puts sustainability at the heart of product design and new product development, because what it does is it encourages, but it also enables product development teams to make environmental impact a part of their decision-making from the very beginning as they think about the whole product life cycle. We’ve rolled out some tools that really help, because you’ve got to make it simple. The less friction that we can introduce, the easier it’s going to be. So we gave people a set of tools, so that they can estimate, for example, the carbon and the water footprint of products and development, and what are the choices that they make early that are going to affect those footprints. And then they can compare that data to some best practice benchmarks that we’ve built in, so they know what good looks like and they can make more informed decisions. Things like recyclability impediments. If people don’t know, they will not be able to make the kind of decisions that they will if they’re informed. That gets back to the education point I was making as well. If they’re informed and they’re energized and they’re motivated, then they’re going to make decisions that will have big impacts as we move through the life cycle. A big focus of the Sustainable from the Start program is reducing GHG emissions, sure, but also things like discouraging the use of non-recyclable packaging, because that’s really important. So we’ve conducted life-cycle analyses, carbon footprints. We’ve done it for about a quarter of all of our brands now, and we’ve got plans to get all of them done. When you’re a company as big as PepsiCo, you’ve got a lot of brands, so it takes a little while to go through. We’ll have more to share on this — again, transparency, openness. But it’s a great business tool that we’re actively embedding, so that people are thinking about this, from the beginning, as a part of their day-to-day jobs. Because I think that’s one of the real keys to make sustainability work. You got to embed it in the business strategy, the business processes and the actions everybody takes every day. A farmer gives her livestock water in Cucungara, Peru. The success of infrastructure projects piloted by PepsiCo and the IDB in these rural communities has attracted additional support from international public sector partners that has been used to fund new infrastructure, including pipe systems and treatment plants. Photo courtesy of PepsiCo Clancy: Can you share more detail about the internal carbon pricing programs? Why are you embracing them now? Did they take effect? When will they take effect? Andrew: That’s another great example of where we’re trying to take environmental sustainability considerations and just put them in the normal flow of business. So, we’re going to have to collaborate and get employees involved, and also partners and suppliers and everything. There’s a couple that we mentioned. One is, how do we eliminate the carbon impact of employee business air travel? A lot of people travel; a lot of people may or may not fully understand what the implications are of that. What we have done is we have said that anytime any employee is going to travel by air for business, we’re going to put a price on that. And then we’re going to take that money, and we’re going to deploy it with a third party into our supply chain. It’s not something that’s out there, it’s put into our supply chain, to fully eliminate the impact of the emissions from that flight. And it’s flight by flight. And it allows every employee, every time they book a flight, to see that their choice has an impact and also that we as a company will do something. Again, it’s about how do you excite people because people get excited about, “Hey, I can do something.” It’s about how you educate them, because it’s right there, it’s going to be in the booking tool. We are programming it, as we speak. Then it’s ultimately about how you engage them, so they go do something. So that’s one. We’re rolling it out now. By the middle of this year, it’ll be up and running, full go. Then we’re also looking at how we build the carbon impact into carrier selection for third-party logistics. We’re working with our procurement team, so that the climate goals are a part of the consideration when they’re choosing carriers. Because what this will do is it will help you enforce, again, climate considerations and business decisions, which will help drive GHG reductions. And then we’re going to learn from these things, and we’re going to look for where can we continue to expand across other business processes, ways to just embed this into the everyday thinking in activities. Clancy: Those are great examples. Thank you for being so specific. Andrew: The carrier selection is being piloted right now. The employee air travel right now, obviously, we’ve got to do a little programming and not a lot of people are flying a whole lot right now. But the carrier selection program is being piloted right now. Clancy: The pandemic has underscored the fragility of the recycling infrastructure around the world, as well as the food system. What new investments is PepsiCo making to improve collection? And what steps are you taking to increase the use of recycled content in your packaging? Andrew: We have a very clear vision, and that’s a world where packaging never becomes waste. That is front and center for everything we do in packaging. There’s really three things that we have to [enforce that policy]. The first is reduce plastic use. The second is improve recycling, and the third is reinvent our packaging. Let me talk about those now and answer your question. To improve recycling, especially as you say, given some of the challenges, this is a systemic change that is necessary and it requires a lot of partnerships across the full value chain. It requires collaboration between the public sector and the private sector. And it really is how do we work together end-to-end for a circular economy for plastics? We set goals, and then we go and we work really hard to go achieve them. But you’ve got to be transparent along the way about what’s working, what’s not. Specifically to your question, in the last three years, we’ve pledged more than $65 million globally for recycling and collection. A little over a year ago we issued our first green bond. It was a $1 billion green bond. We’ve allocated just about half of that, I think it was $447 million, of the proceeds to projects that advance sustainability. Roughly $200 million of that was specifically to procure recycled PET in our North American beverage packaging. You want to talk about creating a market, that’s creating a market. We have brands, whole brands that are [using] 100 percent recycled PET in Europe. We’ve targeted 100 percent recycled PET in nine countries for our lineup of Pepsi-branded beverage bottles by the end of 2022. We’re working to both support the recycling infrastructure in partnership with other people in the supply chain, public entities, competitors, because this is something that we all have to work on. And then we’re also working at driving demand because if we drive demand and make clear what our commitments are, that helps support the investments that people need to make all along the chain. [Editor’s note: PepsiCo brands using 100 percent PET for their packaging include LIFEWTR, Tazo Tea and Naked Juice.] Clancy: The PepsiCo Foundation has invested considerably in cultivating economic growth and opportunities for women and disadvantaged communities around the world. How does the PepsiCo corporate sustainability team collaborate on those projects? How do they shape the execution of your strategy? How are they aligned? Andrew: We work very closely with the foundation. Again, this is a great example of where we work to use the scale and the reach that PepsiCo has to have a positive impact really across communities around the world, where we operate and to really show some leadership in helping to build a food system that’s sustainable, regenerative and inclusive, to your point. So what we’re always trying to do is work on both people and planet. The foundation and the business have very much those objectives. A good example of collaboration — in addition to the climate news we announced — was the announcement where PepsiCo, in particular our Latin American operations, with our CEO there, Paula Santilli, and the PepsiCo Foundation announced that they are expanding the social and environmental impact partnership that we have with the Inter-American Development Bank. We will go another five years through 2026. It’s a nearly $6 million investment. It builds on the heels of what has been a very successful investment in a partnership over the last 14 years. Over the last 14 years, we’ve supported about 19 million people across Latin America and the Caribbean, on five big pillars of things that are really, really important: water access; nutrition; sustainable agriculture; inclusive recycling; and disaster relief programs. There’s a great example of where the business, the foundation and third parties have been able to collaborate in ways that are more powerful. It’s one of those one plus one plus one equals probably seven. A lot of people have had been helped by a partnership that none of the organizations could do by themselves. Clancy: What’s on your mind right now that I haven’t asked about that you feel like we should talk about more? Andrew: This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot. The challenges that the world is facing, when it comes to climate — again, go back to our recent climate announcement, which is top of mind — are challenges where no company, no government, no NGO can do it themselves. The need for collaboration, for partnership, for working together, has never been higher. These are difficult challenges. These are not things that can be solved by any one entity, and they’re not things that are there to be solved overnight. But they are also things that we can’t wait on. The science is clear, the need is clear; the time to act is now. All of us have to find partners to move forward. There’s going to be some mistakes, there’s going be some things that won’t work but together, we have to work together, find those areas of common interest and where we can complement each other, and then move forward with urgency. That’s why we looked and said: “We want big goals, we want goals that will motivate not only ourselves internally, but also other folks externally.” I’ve gotten a lot of calls from people saying, “Hey, great, how do we team up? I see you’re interested in this; how can we work together on that?” That’s what we need. I wake up every day, I wake up every morning, and I worry about what’s going on and sustainability and how PepsiCo is going to drive forward and meet our goals and move the needle on things. But I also think about, how can we do that with others? So, to me, that’s so important and I’m not sure that is fully appreciated by everybody who needs to work together. Clancy: There is a certain amount of skepticism about some of these big alliances right now. How do you keep them relevant and authentic? Andrew: You have to be open, transparent; you’ve got to build trust; and then you’ve got to show results. I think if those things happen, a lot of problems are going to take care of themselves. Back to the question you asked about milestones, transparency. We don’t set goals that we don’t think we can achieve. We don’t know always how we’re going to achieve them because they are big goals, and they’re bold, and they’re aggressive. But that’s what’s needed. But we don’t set ones just to get a headline or, as much as I love talking to you, we don’t set big goals just to be able to go do interviews. We set goals, and then we go and we work really hard to go achieve them. But you’ve got to be transparent along the way about what’s working, what’s not. How are we doing? Clancy: I just have one last question. What’s your most important priority as a chief sustainability officer at this time? Andrew: Oh, that’s easy. I’ve probably got the best job in the company because I get a combination of the chief sustainability role, and also some business responsibilities, which are all about sustainability. But the most important thing is easy, which is achieving the goals we’ve set. That’s hard to do, but easy to say. But that’s the priority. Ultimately it’s about how do we make the planet better for both the planet and for the people on the planet. How do we drive forward results around climate? How do we reduce emissions? How do we increase our renewable electricity to 100 percent globally? How do we end up at net-zero? That’s what is the most important part of my job. That’s what motivates me, because that’s what ultimately will show up and create real change. I need to work with a whole lot of people internally — 260,000 people have all got to be pulling in that direction. It starts at the top and goes all the way down to our frontline workers, but it also is true externally. But that’s my priority 1, 2, 3, working in every way that I can, with everybody to help us achieve the results that we know are necessary for the planet and the people on it. Pull Quote I’ve got history in sustainability, but I’m a business guy. I think that’s one of the real keys to make sustainability work. You got to embed it in the business strategy, the business processes and the actions everybody takes every day. We set goals, and then we go and we work really hard to go achieve them. But you’ve got to be transparent along the way about what’s working, what’s not. Topics Corporate Strategy Corporate Social Responsibility Net-Zero Carbon Pricing Collective Insight The GreenBiz Interview Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off PepsiCo CSO Jim Andrew

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PepsiCo CSO on embedding sustainability into ‘day-to-day business’

PepsiCo CSO on embedding sustainability into ‘day-to-day business’

February 1, 2021 by  
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PepsiCo CSO on embedding sustainability into ‘day-to-day business’ Heather Clancy Mon, 02/01/2021 – 02:00 The number of companies proclaiming their intent to go net-zero by 2050 has expanded exponentially in the past 12 months, but the ones short-cutting that commitment by a decade are a rarer breed. In mid-January, PepsiCo joined that club with a strategy to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent across its entire value chain by 2030 and to reach the elusive net-zero emissions status 10 years before it’s called for by the Paris Agreement. The latter commitment is one touted by members of The Climate Pledge, orchestrated by Amazon and Global Optimism, although PepsiCo isn’t a member of that campaign as of this writing. The same week that PepsiCo announced its new ambition, the company’s foundation extended the terms of its 14-year-long relationship with the Inter-American Development Bank — with initiatives including a fund meant to promote the inclusion of women in regenerative, sustainable agricultural models in Latin America. The extension will see $6 million more invested through 2026, initially in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Guatemala. Even though the foundation is a separate entity, there is a close link between its mission and the company’s sustainability goals, according to senior executives. These initiatives, for example, are thought of in terms of years rather than months. “We have to have the certainty that the community will invest the time and willingness to go on with a program for several years, and we need to create awareness,” said PepsiCo’s Latin America CEO, Paula Santilli, when I asked her about how communities are selected. “We choose mathematically and analytically and concentrate on those communities on the wrong side of the poverty line.” I’ve got history in sustainability, but I’m a business guy. In addition to Santilli, I recently chatted with PepsiCo Chief Sustainability Officer Jim Andrew about the link between sustainability and community development, as well as the strategy behind some other developments announced as part of its updated climate strategy — such as its new Sustainable from the Start product development philosophy and two new internal carbon pricing programs meant to embed climate-centric thinking into everyday business decisions. Andrew, an avid scuba diver who joined PepsiCo about 4.5 years ago after heading strategy and innovation at Royal Philips, took over as CSO after Simon Lowden retired last fall. “I think speed is of the essence, not just for PepsiCo, but for the whole world, for the planet and all the people in it,” Andrew told me when I asked for the motivation behind the accelerated goal. Following is a transcript of our discussion, edited for clarity and length. The Frito-Lay facility in Modesto, California. PepsiCo accelerates efforts to build a more resilient and sustainable food system, reducing absolute GHG emissions more than 4 percent by 2030 across entire value chain and pledging to net-zero emissions by 2040. Photo courtesy of PepsiCo Heather Clancy: The goals were finalized alongside the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Did that experience influence the final shape of the climate goals? Was anything adapted or reconsidered because of what was going on? Jim Andrew: Certainly COVID-19 has been a challenge for everyone on multi levels. But what I think it’s done, it’s really shone a light on the need to be even bolder and move even faster. What has it done? It has, I think, sharpened the focus on the need to move urgently. We all saw that the food system is probably more fragile than we thought. We saw that the need for a food system that is sustainable, that is regenerative, that is inclusive, it’s probably bigger than we thought. In that respect, it didn’t influence what we wanted to do, but it probably helped re-emphasize the need to be big and be fast. Clancy: You mentioned a couple of interim goals to the 2040 one. I’m just curious if you have other short-term milestones that we should expect or watch for. What should we watch for? And how will PepsiCo disclose them? Andrew: You should watch for transparency, consistency and regularity in our reporting. We are completely open in that. Any goal we set, believe me, there’s a lot of work behind coming up with those goals. We put as much work into ensuring transparent reporting because it helps us be accountable — both internally and externally, candidly — and also helps us track progress. We’re a company that likes to set a big objective out there and then go get it. One of the big parts of my job is mobilizing the organization. I’ve got history in sustainability, but I’m a business guy. I didn’t major in environmental science. I’m a business guy working to drive in partnership with our CEO, Ramon Laguarta, and the rest of my executive peers to really drive the organization forward. Having clear goals, having really good data integrity, is at the heart of all of our ESG reporting. That’s important because then we know how we’re doing. It also builds trust. That’s something that we take really importantly. So what are you going to see from us? We’re going to report our progress annually in our sustainability report. We have one coming up in a few months and will be happy to talk to you again, when that comes out. Anytime we can provide real-time updates, we will. All of the reporting entities, we’re in alignment with — the Global Reporting Initiative, the CDP, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. We just issued our first [TCFD] report. So, we are going to be transparent; you’re going see it on a regular basis. Our objective is set some bold goals, and then go get them and hold ourselves accountable. Clancy: Since you brought it up, how will you engage the PepsiCo organization to deliver, especially when we’re all in this new age of remote work? Andrew: It’s been incredibly exciting to me to see just in four months the level of excitement in our organization. We’re 260,000-odd people around the world, 200-plus countries and territories. We’re a big complex organization, but there’s a level of interest and excitement. People get it. You ask me, how am I going to engage? There’s three things that you’ve got to do. The first is you’ve got to excite people. With PepsiCo, when you announce an ambitious goal, like our climate goal, people get excited and they get energized. Honestly, a lot of our partners — our bottlers, our co-manufacturers, our suppliers — I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me and say, “Hey, this is really exciting. How can we help? We’re in on it.” So the first thing you got to do internally and also externally is excite and a big goal does that. You know, make no small plans? I think that’s one of the real keys to make sustainability work. You got to embed it in the business strategy, the business processes and the actions everybody takes every day. The second is, there is a level of education that’s important. When we talk to people internally about regenerative agriculture, Scope 3 emissions, those are terms that to most people are new. So we need to introduce those terms. We need to educate people on why the goals matter, but most importantly, how are we going to achieve them. Because that’s what it’s all really about, and we’re doing that across the company. Because we’re Scope 3, it’s got to be across your whole supply chain. We’ve rolled out, as part of the climate goal, a really well-done employee training program specific to our employees to help them understand the role of us as a company, and then the role of them as individuals. What can they do to mitigate climate change? And then finally, it’s about engagement, it’s how do we take that excitement, take that education and then really engage people to drive real action. Because ultimately, it’s about action, it’s about results, it’s about moving the needle. And so that’s everything from, how do we give people the tools? How do we put it in their incentives? How do we talk about it on a regular basis? How do we measure it clearly, because what gets measured gets done, all those things. So: Excite, Educate and Engage. Clancy: How will the Sustainable from the Start Program be implemented, and which product divisions will be first to adopt it? Andrew: That’s a great question, because this is one of my real beliefs and one of my real emphases, which is how do you get sustainability not as something that happens “over there,” but that is really part of the day-to-day business, part of the day-to-day work. Because if it’s part of what we do every day, then it happens and that’s how you really drive action. So, we’re looking at where there are business processes where we can embed sustainability. New product development is a great example. Everybody, every part of the company is interested in and cares about what happens in new product development. So we started this program called Sustainable from the Start, and it really puts sustainability at the heart of product design and new product development, because what it does is it encourages, but it also enables product development teams to make environmental impact a part of their decision-making from the very beginning as they think about the whole product life cycle. We’ve rolled out some tools that really help, because you’ve got to make it simple. The less friction that we can introduce, the easier it’s going to be. So we gave people a set of tools, so that they can estimate, for example, the carbon and the water footprint of products and development, and what are the choices that they make early that are going to affect those footprints. And then they can compare that data to some best practice benchmarks that we’ve built in, so they know what good looks like and they can make more informed decisions. Things like recyclability impediments. If people don’t know, they will not be able to make the kind of decisions that they will if they’re informed. That gets back to the education point I was making as well. If they’re informed and they’re energized and they’re motivated, then they’re going to make decisions that will have big impacts as we move through the life cycle. A big focus of the Sustainable from the Start program is reducing GHG emissions, sure, but also things like discouraging the use of non-recyclable packaging, because that’s really important. So we’ve conducted life-cycle analyses, carbon footprints. We’ve done it for about a quarter of all of our brands now, and we’ve got plans to get all of them done. When you’re a company as big as PepsiCo, you’ve got a lot of brands, so it takes a little while to go through. We’ll have more to share on this — again, transparency, openness. But it’s a great business tool that we’re actively embedding, so that people are thinking about this, from the beginning, as a part of their day-to-day jobs. Because I think that’s one of the real keys to make sustainability work. You got to embed it in the business strategy, the business processes and the actions everybody takes every day. A farmer gives her livestock water in Cucungara, Peru. The success of infrastructure projects piloted by PepsiCo and the IDB in these rural communities has attracted additional support from international public sector partners that has been used to fund new infrastructure, including pipe systems and treatment plants. Photo courtesy of PepsiCo Clancy: Can you share more detail about the internal carbon pricing programs? Why are you embracing them now? Did they take effect? When will they take effect? Andrew: That’s another great example of where we’re trying to take environmental sustainability considerations and just put them in the normal flow of business. So, we’re going to have to collaborate and get employees involved, and also partners and suppliers and everything. There’s a couple that we mentioned. One is, how do we eliminate the carbon impact of employee business air travel? A lot of people travel; a lot of people may or may not fully understand what the implications are of that. What we have done is we have said that anytime any employee is going to travel by air for business, we’re going to put a price on that. And then we’re going to take that money, and we’re going to deploy it with a third party into our supply chain. It’s not something that’s out there, it’s put into our supply chain, to fully eliminate the impact of the emissions from that flight. And it’s flight by flight. And it allows every employee, every time they book a flight, to see that their choice has an impact and also that we as a company will do something. Again, it’s about how do you excite people because people get excited about, “Hey, I can do something.” It’s about how you educate them, because it’s right there, it’s going to be in the booking tool. We are programming it, as we speak. Then it’s ultimately about how you engage them, so they go do something. So that’s one. We’re rolling it out now. By the middle of this year, it’ll be up and running, full go. Then we’re also looking at how we build the carbon impact into carrier selection for third-party logistics. We’re working with our procurement team, so that the climate goals are a part of the consideration when they’re choosing carriers. Because what this will do is it will help you enforce, again, climate considerations and business decisions, which will help drive GHG reductions. And then we’re going to learn from these things, and we’re going to look for where can we continue to expand across other business processes, ways to just embed this into the everyday thinking in activities. Clancy: Those are great examples. Thank you for being so specific. Andrew: The carrier selection is being piloted right now. The employee air travel right now, obviously, we’ve got to do a little programming and not a lot of people are flying a whole lot right now. But the carrier selection program is being piloted right now. Clancy: The pandemic has underscored the fragility of the recycling infrastructure around the world, as well as the food system. What new investments is PepsiCo making to improve collection? And what steps are you taking to increase the use of recycled content in your packaging? Andrew: We have a very clear vision, and that’s a world where packaging never becomes waste. That is front and center for everything we do in packaging. There’s really three things that we have to [enforce that policy]. The first is reduce plastic use. The second is improve recycling, and the third is reinvent our packaging. Let me talk about those now and answer your question. To improve recycling, especially as you say, given some of the challenges, this is a systemic change that is necessary and it requires a lot of partnerships across the full value chain. It requires collaboration between the public sector and the private sector. And it really is how do we work together end-to-end for a circular economy for plastics? We set goals, and then we go and we work really hard to go achieve them. But you’ve got to be transparent along the way about what’s working, what’s not. Specifically to your question, in the last three years, we’ve pledged more than $65 million globally for recycling and collection. A little over a year ago we issued our first green bond. It was a $1 billion green bond. We’ve allocated just about half of that, I think it was $447 million, of the proceeds to projects that advance sustainability. Roughly $200 million of that was specifically to procure recycled PET in our North American beverage packaging. You want to talk about creating a market, that’s creating a market. We have brands, whole brands that are [using] 100 percent recycled PET in Europe. We’ve targeted 100 percent recycled PET in nine countries for our lineup of Pepsi-branded beverage bottles by the end of 2022. We’re working to both support the recycling infrastructure in partnership with other people in the supply chain, public entities, competitors, because this is something that we all have to work on. And then we’re also working at driving demand because if we drive demand and make clear what our commitments are, that helps support the investments that people need to make all along the chain. [Editor’s note: PepsiCo brands using 100 percent PET for their packaging include LIFEWTR, Tazo Tea and Naked Juice.] Clancy: The PepsiCo Foundation has invested considerably in cultivating economic growth and opportunities for women and disadvantaged communities around the world. How does the PepsiCo corporate sustainability team collaborate on those projects? How do they shape the execution of your strategy? How are they aligned? Andrew: We work very closely with the foundation. Again, this is a great example of where we work to use the scale and the reach that PepsiCo has to have a positive impact really across communities around the world, where we operate and to really show some leadership in helping to build a food system that’s sustainable, regenerative and inclusive, to your point. So what we’re always trying to do is work on both people and planet. The foundation and the business have very much those objectives. A good example of collaboration — in addition to the climate news we announced — was the announcement where PepsiCo, in particular our Latin American operations, with our CEO there, Paula Santilli, and the PepsiCo Foundation announced that they are expanding the social and environmental impact partnership that we have with the Inter-American Development Bank. We will go another five years through 2026. It’s a nearly $6 million investment. It builds on the heels of what has been a very successful investment in a partnership over the last 14 years. Over the last 14 years, we’ve supported about 19 million people across Latin America and the Caribbean, on five big pillars of things that are really, really important: water access; nutrition; sustainable agriculture; inclusive recycling; and disaster relief programs. There’s a great example of where the business, the foundation and third parties have been able to collaborate in ways that are more powerful. It’s one of those one plus one plus one equals probably seven. A lot of people have had been helped by a partnership that none of the organizations could do by themselves. Clancy: What’s on your mind right now that I haven’t asked about that you feel like we should talk about more? Andrew: This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot. The challenges that the world is facing, when it comes to climate — again, go back to our recent climate announcement, which is top of mind — are challenges where no company, no government, no NGO can do it themselves. The need for collaboration, for partnership, for working together, has never been higher. These are difficult challenges. These are not things that can be solved by any one entity, and they’re not things that are there to be solved overnight. But they are also things that we can’t wait on. The science is clear, the need is clear; the time to act is now. All of us have to find partners to move forward. There’s going to be some mistakes, there’s going be some things that won’t work but together, we have to work together, find those areas of common interest and where we can complement each other, and then move forward with urgency. That’s why we looked and said: “We want big goals, we want goals that will motivate not only ourselves internally, but also other folks externally.” I’ve gotten a lot of calls from people saying, “Hey, great, how do we team up? I see you’re interested in this; how can we work together on that?” That’s what we need. I wake up every day, I wake up every morning, and I worry about what’s going on and sustainability and how PepsiCo is going to drive forward and meet our goals and move the needle on things. But I also think about, how can we do that with others? So, to me, that’s so important and I’m not sure that is fully appreciated by everybody who needs to work together. Clancy: There is a certain amount of skepticism about some of these big alliances right now. How do you keep them relevant and authentic? Andrew: You have to be open, transparent; you’ve got to build trust; and then you’ve got to show results. I think if those things happen, a lot of problems are going to take care of themselves. Back to the question you asked about milestones, transparency. We don’t set goals that we don’t think we can achieve. We don’t know always how we’re going to achieve them because they are big goals, and they’re bold, and they’re aggressive. But that’s what’s needed. But we don’t set ones just to get a headline or, as much as I love talking to you, we don’t set big goals just to be able to go do interviews. We set goals, and then we go and we work really hard to go achieve them. But you’ve got to be transparent along the way about what’s working, what’s not. How are we doing? Clancy: I just have one last question. What’s your most important priority as a chief sustainability officer at this time? Andrew: Oh, that’s easy. I’ve probably got the best job in the company because I get a combination of the chief sustainability role, and also some business responsibilities, which are all about sustainability. But the most important thing is easy, which is achieving the goals we’ve set. That’s hard to do, but easy to say. But that’s the priority. Ultimately it’s about how do we make the planet better for both the planet and for the people on the planet. How do we drive forward results around climate? How do we reduce emissions? How do we increase our renewable electricity to 100 percent globally? How do we end up at net-zero? That’s what is the most important part of my job. That’s what motivates me, because that’s what ultimately will show up and create real change. I need to work with a whole lot of people internally — 260,000 people have all got to be pulling in that direction. It starts at the top and goes all the way down to our frontline workers, but it also is true externally. But that’s my priority 1, 2, 3, working in every way that I can, with everybody to help us achieve the results that we know are necessary for the planet and the people on it. Pull Quote I’ve got history in sustainability, but I’m a business guy. I think that’s one of the real keys to make sustainability work. You got to embed it in the business strategy, the business processes and the actions everybody takes every day. We set goals, and then we go and we work really hard to go achieve them. But you’ve got to be transparent along the way about what’s working, what’s not. Topics Corporate Strategy Corporate Social Responsibility Net-Zero Carbon Pricing Collective Insight The GreenBiz Interview Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off PepsiCo CSO Jim Andrew

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U.S. contributes 5 times more ocean plastic than previous estimates

November 3, 2020 by  
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The U.S. is contributing up to five times more plastic pollution to the oceans than previously thought, according to a follow-up study published in Science Advances . The study was a sequel to 2015 research, which had given a rough estimate of the waste contribution by the U.S. The new study has now revealed that Americans contributed between 1.1 and 2.2 million metric tons of plastic to the oceans in 2016. This figure is almost double the higher end of the estimates from 2015 and five times more than the lowest estimates in the earlier predictions. The study has revealed that Americans are using more plastic than ever before. The data included American waste exports that were not accounted for in their previous studies. About 88% of the country’s waste exports goes to countries with poor recycling infrastructure. Recent developments have shown that much of the plastic waste that is exported does not go through recycling systems and ends up in the oceans. Related: Flow of plastic waste in the ocean could triple by 2040 “When you consider how much of our plastic waste isn’t actually recyclable because it is low-value, contaminated, or difficult to process, it’s not surprising that a lot of it ends up polluting the environment,” said Kara Lavender Law, lead author and research professor of oceanography at the Sea Education Association. Data analysis is an important aspect that must be employed in the management of plastic waste . According to Tony Walker, an associate professor at the Dalhousie University School for Resource and Environmental Studies, there is a lack of data standards across municipalities. The researchers are now emphasizing the need to get accurate information when it comes to plastic pollution. As reported by The New York Times , only 9% of the country’s total waste goes into the recycling system. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that such waste will actually be made into new items. Plastic recycling has proven to be quite expensive, making it unrealistic for plastic manufactures to use recycled plastic. + Science Advances Via The New York Times Image via Brian Yurasits

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U.S. contributes 5 times more ocean plastic than previous estimates

Arkansas schools save millions by adopting solar power

October 22, 2020 by  
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Schools in the U.S. are using solar energy to cut down on expensive electricity bills. With funds freed up, schools can then improve the quality of education. As a  report by Generation180  shows, over 7,300 schools use the solar power approach to save on utility bills.  Generation180 is a non-profit organization that champions green energy . The group’s 2019 report indicates that about 16% of U.S. school districts had installed solar panels with a capacity to generate 1,337 megawatts of power.  One little-known Arkansas school district leads the way in adopting green energy. Once a cash-strapped area, the district has been able to generate surplus income by using solar energy. Batesville School District includes six schools that serve about 3,200 students. Just a few years ago, the school district struggled to retain its teachers due to high power bills. In 2017, the schools faced a possible shutdown due to an annual power bill of over $600,000. However, the school district managed to overturn its fortunes by adopting a solar power project.  After conducting an audit, the district realized it could save up to $2.4 million in 20 years if they installed 1,400 solar panels and energy-efficient lights/gadgets. According to Superintendant Michael Hester, the district chose this approach in a bid to increase teachers’ salaries. “Let’s use that money to start pumping up teachers’ salaries,” Hester said “It’s the way we’re going to attract and retain staff. And it’s the way we’re going to attract and retain students in this day and age of school choice.” Adopting the new initiative allowed the schools to transform their $250,000 annual deficit to a $1.8 million annual surplus. As a result, teachers’ salaries have increased by $2000 to $3000. According to Generation180, if all public schools in the U.S. adopted green solar energy, the education sector could reduce emissions equivalent to that produced by 18 coal power plants. However, many factors stand in the way of such a feat. Some factors that make the process complicated include lack of proper policy and financing. In some cases, the problem comes from communities reluctant to take steps in adopting non-conventional energy sources.  + Generation180 Via Energy News Image via Pixabay

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Arkansas schools save millions by adopting solar power

Wisdom is replacing plastic with zero-waste school supplies

October 7, 2020 by  
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“Waste is a design flaw.” That’s a quote from a start-up company in California that believes as guardians of the planet, it’s never too soon to take action nor too thoughtful to consider how our actions affect the environment our children will inherit. Wisdom Supply Company , a women-owned B-Corp based out of San Francisco, consists of two activists who found a way to take action against plastic waste by creating environmentally friendly supplies for the classroom. As students head back to school in whatever form 2020 brings, this duo has released a completely zero-waste solution to the typical pile of plastic and vinyl folders, binders and pencil boxes that are produced, used and tossed across the country each year. How it all began Seeing the amount of debris that cluttered the waste stream as school let out for summer, founder Heather Itzla took action by donating waste-free supplies to her local school. Knowing one school was merely a hatch mark on the long trail of establishments that rely on standard-yet-wasteful products, the self-proclaimed plastic waste activist started a business, “for the sole purpose of stopping the insane amount of plastic and vinyl waste coming out of schools every year.” Related: A guide to going green for the back-to-school season Itzla’s co-founder and fellow environmentalist Nicole Kozlowski was eager to jump on board with the idea after committing to protect “the ocean and wilderness by addressing disposable culture.” Kozlowski was already taking action as an ocean advocate by participating in ocean pollution events, where she continuously crossed paths with Itzla. Seeing their common passion unfold, the pair launched Wisdom with a focus on setting a good example for the very children that will inherit the current plastic pollution crisis without education, action and change around the topic. They hope to show the upcoming generation that there are alternatives to standardized and mass-produced plastic. Sustainable school supplies Plastic has, in fact, been an exponentially growing problem across the planet, with debris making its way into nearly every corner of the environment, including the oceans, where it is ingested by marine life. This is not only unhealthy for the animals but comes full circle in animals we rely on as food, like fish. With this in mind, Wisdom’s mission is to “disrupt what we call the shelf-to-shore pipeline” by eliminating the waste where it begins. The Wisdom Supply Co. products are all conscientiously made, packaged and shipped. Examples include cardboard binders that can be replaced for a few bucks, allowing you to reuse the metal pieces from the inside, an action that merely requires a screwdriver and a few minutes of time. This is more than a product, it’s a mindset, and one example of how a single act can significantly reduce the amount of supply waste. Other products available are plastic-free folders, paper-only planners, colored and unpainted pencils and a yellow highlighter. The company also provides a recyclable aluminum pencil tin set lined with wool that includes a pencil, metal sharpener, highlighter and natural rubber eraser. Some products are still working toward 100% plastic-free , like the Stabilo markers, which act as a regular marker, dry erase marker and watercolor all in one. The down side, as the company points out with its petition to the manufacturer, Staedtler, is a small amount of plastic film on the top of the marker as well as a plastic sharpener that, so far, is the most effective tool for the job. In addition, Wisdom Supply Co. has put together two zero-waste kits for easy shopping. One targets the elementary-age classroom and the other is appropriate through college or even the adult home office. The kits make a great end-of-year teacher’s gift, too. By signing up for the rewards program, your gift purchases will pay you back. For every $25 minimum purchase made using the shared link, you’ll earn $5 toward a future purchase, and you can redeem multiple rewards within the same purchase to earn free items. A certified B-Corp Making wise choices is only part of the reason for the company name, Wisdom Supply Co. The primary inspiration actually came from the animal world, appropriately. In 1951, a wild female Laysan albatross hatched. Five years later, she was tagged for study and released back into the wild. According the the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Wisdom is the oldest wild bird ever recorded. Even more astonishing is her consistent hatching of eggs, even at the ripe age of 69. Nearly every species of albatross is listed as threatened, making Wisdom the ideal mascot for a company dedicated to improving animal habitats. Wisdom Supply Co.’s commitment to all things environmental has earned it the coveted B-Corp certification, a designation gained by only around 3,000 companies worldwide. In addition, Itzla and Kozlowski have been acknowledged as a Best For the World honoree in recognition of their environmental performance and sustainable business practices. This places them in the top 10% of all B-Corps globally in the “Environment” category. We put Wisdom Supply Co. to the test The team at Wisdom reached out to offer a zero-waste kit for me to enjoy and review. It’s always easier to write about products I can touch and feel, and these are samples I’m proud to have in my home. There’s no greenwashing here. The tin pencil box is everything it needs to be: solid, durable, sturdy but still easy to open and close. The yellow highlighter/marker is nothing short of impressive. No plastic in sight and sans the cringe-inducing squeak from typical highlighters. I’m ridiculously excited about the metal pencil sharpener, because the electric one I used to have no longer has a cord. It’s a welcome replacement to the box knives I’ve been using as a pencil sharpener. The binder is easy to put together and will be fun to personalize with stickers or markers. Ditto for the recycled and recyclable folders. They are thick enough that you don’t have to worry about tearing with regular use.  The 2021 planner is full-size with adequate space to put multiple appointments on each date. Plus, it includes a calendar in the front for easy reference. It’s made from 100% post-consumer recycled materials, is FSC-certified and is chlorine- and ink-free. While the thoughtful products and packaging are a breath of fresh air, what I love most about this company is the transparency. It is upfront about where product(s) fall short on the 100% plastic-free pledge and educate about companies it does business with. I love that the founders have taken action to solve a problem by implementing a viable, long-term solution. They’ve removed the design flaw. That’s Wisdom. + Wisdom Supply Co. Images via Wisdom and Dawn Hammon / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Wisdom Supply Co. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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