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PepsiCo South Africa continues commitment to water conservation

3rd October 2023

By: Creamer Media Reporter

     

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Food and beverage group PepsiCo South Africa is making strides in its water stewardship efforts, recognising the critical role water plays in the food system and its broader impact on the environment and communities.

Within its own operations, PepsiCo South Africa is pioneering water-efficient practices and adopting technologies that have led to significant reductions in water consumption across its manufacturing facilities and supply chain while upholding the highest standards of product quality and safety.

“Our water stewardship journey is rooted in the belief that water is not just a vital component of our business but a lifeline for communities. We are collaborating with local partners and non-governmental organisations to launch community-driven projects that enhance water access, quality and sustainability,” said PepsiCo South Africa sustainability lead Steven Wolfaardt in a statement on Tuesday.

Tackling water challenges requires collective action, and in line with this view, PepsiCo actively engages with local stakeholders, government agencies and industry peers to promote sustainable water management practices and, through dialogue, partnerships and knowledge sharing, PepsiCo aims to contribute to a water-secure future for South Africa.

One such initiative is invasive species removal in partnership with The Nature Conservancy to support the Greater Cape Town Water Fund, which is restoring ecosystem functions and replenishing water to Cape Town’s key source catchments, as well as conserving and restoring biodiversity in a critical and unique landscape.

“Since 2018, through this partnership, we have replenished 1.77-billion litres of water and contributed to creating 570 jobs, primarily for women and young adults, including 94 specially trained high-angle technicians working in remote, mountainous terrain, focusing on the removal of water-hungry alien invasive plants,” he explained.

Further, PepsiCo has partnered with WWF to manage water resources in the Southern and Northern Drakensburg and Kouga-Sondags-Langkloof areas.

Activity under this partnership includes landscape management interventions such as an alien vegetation clearing project that has replenished 567-million litres of water across three project areas in the Drakensberg and has created economic opportunities and improved local livelihoods by providing an average 18 200 days of employment through the project in the Northern Drakensberg.

PepsiCo South Africa has also invested significantly to support access to safe water, sanitation and handwashing facilities for poor communities across provinces in South Africa through strategic partnerships with the National Business Initiative, the Water Research Institute and Save Our Schools.

“These initiatives encompass the construction of resilient water infrastructure, educational programmes on responsible water use and the promotion of water conservation practices among local residents,” Wolfaardt commented.

In addition, the company partnered with key stakeholders to repair leaks in schools and reduce losses in bulk municipal systems across South Africa, with the aim of achieving water savings equal to, or higher than, the yearly water use of the PepsiCo facilities within the respective municipalities.

This project will help to offset the water use at its operations in the Mangaung, Mogalakwena, Polokwane, Madibeng and Dawid Kruiper municipalities.

The total savings achieved was over 50-million litres a month, which equates to about 65% of PepsiCo’s attributable operational water consumption in South Africa being replenished into these high-risk watersheds.

“As a member of Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), PepsiCo South Africa views water stewardship as a collective effort requiring increased collaboration, advocacy, idea-sharing and investment to address water insecurity,” said Wolfaardt, noting that the company’s commitment to water stewardship extends beyond water conservation, to water quality, biodiversity, carbon sequestration and local communities.

“We aim to fully adopt the AWS Standard at 34 of our high-water risk facilities by 2025, using it as a vehicle for advocacy, participation in good catchment governance and to help ensure that freshwater resources in high-water-risk locations are available for all water stakeholders,” he continued.

In 2023, its Parow Plant, Epping Rice, Epping Bakery, Claremont Bakery, Worcester Fruit Tree, Worcester Bakery, Cereals Atlantis, Oats Epping, Sugarbird, Weet-Bix, Malmesbury Pasta, Malmesbury Mill, Ceres Fruit Juices and Upington Dried Fruit sites will have fully adopted the standard.

“At PepsiCo, we remain committed to ensuring long-term, sustainable water security, an essential element in building a sustainable food system for our business and the broader community,” Wolfaardt concluded.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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