PepsiCo and Walmart have recently announced a partnership for a 7-year period to pursue US$ 120 million worth of investments focused on supporting U.S. and Canadian farmers in their efforts to improve soil health and water quality. Through establishment as well as scaling of financial, agronomic and social programs, it aims to enable as well as accelerate the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices on more than 2 million acres of farmland and deliver approximately 4 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions and removals by 2030 – roughly equivalent to the amount of electricity needed to power 778,300 homes for one year.1
Commenting on the voluntary adoption of regenerative agriculture practices, Jeff Huffman, Owner & Operator of Island Farms LLC in Maxwell, Neb., stated – “From my perspective, embracing regenerative agriculture is essential. It’s good for farmers, not only because it’s beneficial to the environment and our food quality, but also for the profitability of our businesses. If you use less fertilizer and you grow a bigger crop, or if you use less water and can still grow the same size of crop, it strengthens your farm in a way that benefits the bottom line and our environment for generations to come.”
The businesses of PepsiCo as well as Walmart are dependent on farmers to grow ingredients that are used to make the delicious products that consumers enjoy every day. With a supply chain for the two companies that stretches across North America and involves a large volume of critical crops – including potatoes, oats, corn, wheat, soybean and rice – sustainability will look different from commodity to commodity, region to region and even farm to farm. The collaboration between PepsiCo and Walmart offers a voluntary, flexible approach to regenerative agriculture that gives farmers a seat at the table, recognizes the diversity of agriculture and that one size does not fit all.
“Successful sustainability starts and ends with trust. At PepsiCo, we work very hard to earn the trust of the farmer so they understand that we are investing in their legacy and they can hand their farm down to the next generation,” stated Jim Andrew, Chief Sustainability Officer, PepsiCo. “Farmers know their business better than anyone else, and what we hear from them is that for regenerative agriculture to make business sense, three things need to happen. They need economic support, social and cultural support, and agronomic support. This strategic collaboration with Walmart will advance our shared goal to have farmers’ backs as they transform farming in a way that benefits the planet and people.”
“At Walmart, our sustainability strategy is built to make the everyday choice the sustainable choice for our customers. This collaboration with PepsiCo is a great example of how we are prioritizing the expansion of regenerative agricultural practices among farmers across North America so that we can continue to make quality products affordable and accessible for customers. This collaboration aims to help elevate farmer livelihoods, engage them on how to more sustainably manage soil health, increase yields and create a model that others can mimic across other product categories, including encouraging additional investments in regenerative agriculture by other brands,” stated Jane Ewing, Senior Vice President for sustainability at Walmart.
PepsiCo and Walmart have a shared focus on providing support for the farming communities while improving soil and water health, including lowering carbon emissions. Being the biggest convenient food and beverage company in North America, a resilient food system is essential to PepsiCo’s business and its ability to meet its ambitious pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) goals, which include driving the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices across 7 million acres by 2030 – an area approximately the size of PepsiCo’s agricultural footprint – and reducing absolute GHG emissions by more than 40% across its entire value chain by 2030 (against a 2015 baseline) while striving toward net-zero emissions by 2040.
“This effort is a new model for PepsiCo, marking our first, large-scale strategic collaboration focused on sustainable agriculture with a retail partner,” said Steven Williams, Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo Foods North America. “Farmers are critical to our business, and many of the brands our consumers know and love rely on ingredients that we source straight from the farm. By joining forces with Walmart, we’ll be empowering farmers through education, upfront investment in outcomes, peer coaching, and cost-sharing – and hopefully inspiring others to join us.”
This collaboration is an excellent example of how Walmart is prioritizing purposeful collaborations to accelerate the adoption of regenerative practices in line with its goal to protect, restore or more sustainably manage 50 million acres of land and 1 million square miles of ocean by 2030 along with the Walmart Foundation.