Pepsi Aims For 'Water Balance'
By Sara Jerome
PepsiCo executives say prioritizing water conservation means pushing the issue at plants around the world.
"It is absolutely necessary for us to diffuse the [conservation] message and let the people in the regions and in the plants take their own approach, which is very different around the world," said Liese Dallbauman, director for water stewardship at PepsiCo, in an interview with Ooksanews.
The company allows individual regions to put their own spin on conversation messaging. For instance, in the Middle East, posters in the plants show "a little cartoon sheik, saying, 'Save some water,'" she said.
Offsets are one way that PepsiCo conserves water, according to Dallbauman.
“The water we use is a debit. We are spending something. We want to offset that," she said in the Denver Post.
Dallbauman defined a "positive water balance" as the point when a company "puts back or conserves as much as we take out at the country level." The company says it has achieved a "positive water balance" in a major market.
"In 2009, the India PepsiCo business for the first time achieved Positive Water Balance," Dallbauman said.
But some critics dispute that.
The India Resource Center, an anti-globalization group, called PepsiCo's claims of having achieved 'positive water balance' in India “misleading” and said they didn’t “stand up to scrutiny.”
The Public Services International Research Unit also took issue with Pepsi's India efforts, along with similar industry efforts.
"These corporate actions fall into three categories – reducing the water footprint of their own products; supporting the water efficiency of other users; and promoting recharge schemes and rainwater harvesting. Only the third of these, however, mitigates the local impact of their water abstractions," the group said in a report on global corporate water initiatives.
The "balance" idea may look different as the soda giant pushes beyond India.
"Positive Water Balance looks at quantity of water, but people also have to have enough clean water. So Positive Water Balance is evolving into something called Positive Water Impact to make more and/or better water available," Dallbauman said.
To read about Coca-Cola's water conservation efforts, including its push toward "water neutrality," check out this piece on Water Online.
Image credit: "Retro Pepsi Sign," © 2011 SWF Photography, used under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/