PepsiCo Champions Farmer Economic Security, Sustainability

Jun 13, 2018 11:00 AM ET
Article

The word “sustainability” doesn’t give too many farmers the warm fuzzies, admits Margaret Henry, PepsiCo director of sustainable agriculture. She gets it. Henry grew up on a Kentucky dairy farm.

But here’s why she thinks the concept is important: In her view, it allows the food system to speak with a common language that resonates with consumers. If used properly, it instills confidence that farmers and their food-system partners are conserving natural resources.

“We actually want to minimize farmer burden,” says Henry during an interview at the 2018 Sustainable Brands conference in Vancouver. “Less farmer bothering is better.”

With full support from CEO Indra Nooyi as part of the company’s Performance with Purpose sustainability initiative, PepsiCo participates in ongoing efforts to engage farmers. The company’s global reach means Henry works with an array of farmers, such as smallholder farmers in India operating on half a hectare and oat-growers in Saskatchewan managing 15,000 acres. In the U.S., brands such as Frito-Lay source grain from hundreds of Corn Belt farmers.

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