The theme of this year’s World Water Week in Stockholm is Water and Food Security, so discussions of PepsiCo’s work to conserve resources in agriculture are front and center.
On Monday, PepsiCo and the Columbia Water Center (CWC) at the Earth Institute, Columbia University convened a panel titled Water and Energy Efficiencies in Food Supply Chains: Leveraging Partnerships. We started the discussion by describing PepsiCo’s ReCon program, which focuses on identifying, quantifying, and prioritizing opportunities to conserve resources in our operating plants. We then devoted most of the session to the conservation challenges and opportunities in our agriculture supply chain.
Ian Hope-Johnstone, director of agricultural sustainability, described the actions PepsiCo and our partners have taken to improve India’s potato productivity while using less water; our collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank in supporting Mexican sunflower farmers; and i-crop, a system that allows integrated management of water, nutrient, and crop practices appropriate to a farm’s specific climate and geography.
Professor Upmanu Lall, director of the Columbia Water Center focused his presentation on the challenges and successes the Center has faced in working with farmers in India to ensure that their crops get exactly the right amount of water – not too little and not too much. He described a variety of different moisture sensors, with costs ranging from more than $250 to less than $10. The more economic ones use simple, affordable technologies to show farmers the level of water in the soil.
Both presentations showed the impact that PepsiCo, in collaboration with our partners, have already had, as well as the incredible opportunities that lie ahead to make our water management processes and tools even smarter and more efficient, while benefitting local farmers and their communities.