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PepsiCo Launches New Sustainability Platform for Shared Progress

Chief Sustainability Officer Todd Squarek talks exclusively with Progressive Grocer about the new initiative’s goals
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
The new pep+ Partners for Tomorrow program is part of PepsiCo's broader pep+ effort.

One might call it an e-ecosystem. To help its customers in the retail, foodservice, hospitality and other industries, PepsiCo has pooled its sustainability offerings into one digital platform.

The new pep+ Partners for Tomorrow platform was designed to offer the company’s customers a suite of solutions that they can tailor to help reach their own sustainability goals. Those farm-to-table solutions extend from regenerative agriculture to recyclability and reusability in the circular economy.

[Read more: "Pepsi Unveils New Look"]

In an exclusive interview with Progressive Grocer, PepsiCo’s head of sustainability said that the web-based platform syncs the organization's sustainability transformation and the progress of those who are part of its broad customer base. “Partners for Tomorrow is designed specifically for our customers and, of course, grocers and retail customers are a big part of what that program is meant to do,” said Todd Squarek, SVP and chief sustainability officer for PepsiCo Beverages North America in Purchase, N.Y.

The launch of the site reflects the growing prioritization of sustainability throughout the food chain. “We believe the pace is accelerating. Five years ago, it was an important component of our business and today, it is central to our business,” he noted, adding, “We know that many players in our industry and across the value chain around the world feel the same way.”

According to Squarek, customers can use the platform to engage with PepsiCo though a set of key capabilities that will help them reach their defined sustainability and ESG goals. “The capabilities we offer within Partners for Tomorrow for our customers are the ones we found over the past few years that are in most demand,” he explained.

For example, given the high level of marketplace interest in waste, the platform shares solutions related to recyclability and reusability, like the company’s CIRQU on-demand collection of recyclable beverage containers for retail and restaurant customers. “We are also piloting reusable cup solutions with different partners and our goal is to achieve 20% of all servings in 2030 in a reusable format,” Squarek reported.

The Partners for Tomorrow platform shares details on PepsiCo’s other sustainability strategies and initiatives, such as its Sow Positive Agriculture program that enables customers to make direct investments to convert agricultural land to regenerative farmed land. Users can also engage with the pep+ REnew collaboration, an initiative that helps the organization’s partners learn more about and transition to renewable energy electricity.

Education is a major component of the platform as well. “We have some customers who are perhaps at earlier stages of this journey who are looking for education and understanding, so that’s a key pillar of Partners for Tomorrow,” Squarek said.

The platform was developed to be used by a variety of operations. “Customers have different scales. Not all of them have the resources to put these initiatives into place, and we encourage smaller customers to leverage these capabilities in a way they might not be able to on their own,” he said, adding that small- and mid-sized retail and foodservice companies are crucial to achieving collective sustainability goals.

Even as the program rolls out, there are already plans to add more solutions and to widen the platform to global markets by 2024. “The current launch edition is the first version. We are in it for the long haul and we will continue to invest and build the platform,” Squarek shared. 

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