Last week, PepsiCo received the Stockholm Industry Water Award and announced that it reached its goal of improving global water use efficiency by more than 20 percent per unit of production – four years ahead of the original 2015 target date based on a 2006 baseline.
We are proud of these accomplishments but we know there is more work to do. At PepsiCo, we believe that social, economic and environmental sustainability is critical for the continued health and success of communities and for the long-term, profitable growth of our business. As a leading global food and beverage company – water stewardship and sustainable agriculture are truly part of our business.
World Water Week’s theme – water and food security – highlighted the importance of maintaining our dedication to responsible water stewardship and agricultural productivity, particularly as we heard dire statistics on water scarcity and the lack of food worldwide.
In Stockholm, our own Sanjeev Chadha, President of PepsiCo Middle East and Africa, noted in his remarks at both the opening plenary and award ceremony that water plays a crucial and complex role in many facets of our society. It truly sits at the nexus of food, energy, health and education. In order to ensure water and food security for the next billion, we need to continue to collaborate, share best practices, and drive creative thinking.
The importance of partnerships and collaboration was echoed throughout World Water Week, and will continue to be a key component of our approach to water stewardship and sustainable agriculture. In fact, despite all the formal panels that occur throughout the week some of the most meaningful content is generated on the sidelines. For example, we had a side lunch one day with a variety of organizations involved in farmer verification programs. The discussions were introductory, and helped us form some next steps on what types of training programs are needed and who we might be able to work with. PepsiCo is eager to lead on this issue and is excited about moving the agenda forward.
Agriculture is building in the importance it plays in food security and the forum not only allowed us to extend our knowledge on the critical area of water and the role it has, but extended our discussions into areas such as the impact of climate volatility, knowledge transfer and new agriculture technologies that will bring advancements to global farming as well as the investment opportunities to make that happen.
World Water Week highlighted many of the immense challenges that we all face as the population of our planet grows. The good news is that we are seeing leadership from companies, NGOs and governments from all over the world. As Mr. Chadha said in Stockholm, “there is no question that we are living in an age of incredible promise.” Now, we must continue to turn the tide on water and food security to ensure that we can deliver the Recipe for the Next Billion.