Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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Water Scarcity is a huge global problem, with even greater ramifications for India. What is PepsiCo India doing in this regard?

According to the World Resources Institute, India is the 13th most water-stressed country in the world. Globally 844 million people lack basic drinking water access which roughly translates to more than 1 of every 10 people on the planet. Out of which, for 17% of the global population that lives in India, the country has only 4% of global water resources . Therefore, access to water is a fundamental right which is at a risk both globally and in India. Through our water initiatives our goal is to drive water security to assure business continuity while positively contributing to communities.

This has been made possible through a 2-pronged approach focusing:

  • on intensive water conservation and recharge efforts both within and outside the fence – covering innovative irrigation practices like direct seeding of rice, community water recharge initiatives
  • And, reducing the consumption of water in our manufacturing facilities

Our philanthropic arm, PepsiCo Foundation has been working with many partners like WaterAid, Safe Water Access & Water.Org to provide access to clean drinking water to communities. In line with the Jal Jeevan Mission of Government of India, this year, the company has further invested USD $3 million to positively impact 2,00,000 farming communities in West Bengal and Maharashtra to provide safe drinking water access in PepsiCo’s potato sourcing geographies. With  regard to water conservation, PepsiCo India  has created 200 new water supply schemes & harvested over 18 million of rainwater through rainwater harvesting structures thereby creating huge positive impact for communities.

PepsiCo India also works with Alternative Development Initiatives under our Sustainable Water Resource Development and Management Program to work towards groundwater recharge and conservation, agriculture development, livelihood enhancement, and community and gender empowerment in several rural communities around the manufacturing plants. In agriculture space, PepsiCo India conducts capacity building training programs for the farmers to teach them crop diversification  techniques for less consumption of water and better water management practices.

To create efficient water resource management, what is the importance of partnerships?

The water challenges are for real & no single company or Govt. can address the challenges alone, hence . PepsiCo and its partners in India actively work on key sustainability areas and water management. To achieve this, the PepsiCo Foundation has invested more than $46 million since 2005 as a founding partner or early investor in programmes with partners like Safe Water Network, Water.org, WaterAid and many other NGOs and multilateral agencies worldwide to provide safe water access to communities.

In India, PepsiCo India work on several programmes that focus on water replenishment, rainwater harvesting and water supply infrastructure. Communities are at the helm of these partnerships- the company ensures capacity building of the communities to take care of the shared water resources that are created through the program, to ensure sustainability. The water stewardship program focuses on ensuring self-sufficiency of the communities to monitor ground water levels, taking readings from the rain gauges, water quality monitoring etc. to instil ownership  & maintenance of the water assets. Our partnership with WaterAid helps us to achieve our goal to improve water security for communities in India. PepsiCo has  already helped more than 44 million people to gain access to safe water since 2006, far surpassing the company’s goal to support 25 million people worldwide by 2030. Of these 21 million beneficiaries are in India. PepsiCo India also works with Alternative Development Initiatives under our Sustainable Water Resource Development and Management Program to work towards groundwater recharge and conservation, agriculture development, livelihood enhancement, and community and gender empowerment in several rural communities around our manufacturing plants. In 2019, PepsiCo replenished over 4.4 billion litres of water through its community water programs.

What is PepsiCo’s strategy to address water challenges in the coming years?

In the coming years, the company continues to work on our water commitments, creating value for the communities through capacity building & water resources whether its piped water supply systems to complement the Govt.’s efforts through “Har Ghar Jal Se Nal Yojana’. We will continue to drive Wash and hygiene practices in the communities focusing on creating model schools exhibiting best practices on water rooftop rain water harvesting, waste management programs, diverting run-off from the handwashing stations to cultivate nurseries etc. to create a cadre of responsible future generations. It is essential to partner with Govt. to tap into convergence opportunities to scale up the replicate the programs at the district-wide level through advocacy. Therefore, will continue to engage with the government, advocate with district departments and provide technical support for scale-up of project models across districts. Additionally, will work alongside other organisations and movements to generate public interest and awareness of water conservation and quality issues.

PepsiCo India  will continue its Community Water replenishment journey & is committed to achieve positive water impact across all its High-Risk plants by 2021. In addition to this, the PepsiCo Foundation has also set a new goal to reach 100 million people worldwide with safe water access by 2030.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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