Thirsty work: Molson Coors and Pepsi-Co announce science-based climate progress

Pepsi barrel
Shutterstock Kengphotographer

North American beverage giants Pepsi-Co and Molson Coors separately have unveiled their latest sustainability reports last week, with both highlighting progress cutting greenhouse gas emissions, waste and water use.

Brewer Molson Coors revealed plans July 11 to join the Science-Based Targets (SBT) initiative, announcing an overarching goal in its sustainability update to reduce its emissions in line with a 2 degrees Celsius trajectory.

The 2C target is enshrined in the Paris Agreement and widely agreed on by scientists as the minimum action needed to avert dangerous global warming. 

In targets submitted for review by the SBT initiative, by 2025 the Molson Coors is aiming to cut emissions from within its own operations in half, and to reduce emissions from across its value chain by 20 percent, both from a 2017 baseline.

The brewer is also aiming to achieve zero waste to landfill at all of its global brewing and major manufacturing sites by 2025. Meanwhile, the Our Beer Print 2025 goals additionally include an aim to achieve a hectoliter water-to-beer ratio of 2.8, which Molson Coors estimates will save 2.1 billion gallons of water and more than 630GWh of energy by 2025. The company's current ratio is 3.57 hl/hl.

The targets await approval from the SBT committee, which assess if they are ambitious enough to put Molson Coors in line with a 2C trajectory. 

The company is also launching a new program this year offering $2 million in incentives to farmers to incorporate sustainability practices into its agricultural supply chain.

Mark Hunter, president and chief executive of Molson Coors, said he believed the firm had an important role to play in addressing climate change. "We are proud to join an elite group of nearly 430 companies in the world to commit to science-based targets," he said. "We hope that our action will inspire other companies to make the same bold commitment."

Meanwhile, U.S. drinks and snacks giant Pepsi-Co also published its latest sustainability update July 11 (PDF), which detailed its progress towards its existing SBT goals under its "Performance with Purpose" strategy.

The company cut its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2.2 percent in 2017, taking the firm 11 percent towards its overall emissions reduction goal of 20 percent by 2030 from 2015 levels, it said. This came in addition to 2.1 million metric tonne reduction in its Scope 3 emissions since 2015.

Such reductions largely were driven by upgrades to Pepsi-Co's vending and cooler equipment, which reduced greenhouse gases by 19 percent last year, according to the report.

On transport, Pepsi-Co also has focused on e-mobility, saving 1 million gallons of diesel fuel by improving the efficiency of its fleet and investing in electric vehicles. Last year it placed an order for 100 Tesla electric semi-trucks.

Pepsi-Co said it also improved its water use efficiency by around 2 percent between 2016 and 2017.

Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo chairman and CEO, hailed the firm's achievements to date, but said there was still work to do in certain areas. "Much of our early work on Performance with Purpose required us to think differently about our business and make the kinds of long-term investments — from researching and developing new, more nutritious products, to finding ways to reduce water and energy use across plants and farms — that could help us deliver on the vision of making our growth, our operations and our impact more sustainable," she said.

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