Sunrise brief: PepsiCo doubles goals to address ‘severe’ climate change impacts

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PepsiCo, Inc. said it plans to more than double its climate goal, targeting a reduction of absolute greenhouse gas emissions across its value chain by more than 40% by 2030. The company also pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040.

The beverage and food behemoth said it plans to reduce absolute GHG emissions across its direct operations by 75% and its indirect value chain by 40% by 2030, based on a 2015 baseline.

“The severe impacts from climate change are worsening, and we must accelerate the urgent systemic changes needed to address it,” said PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta.

Ramon Laguarta

Image: PepsiCo

PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes 23 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales. It operates in more than 200 countries and territories around the world and employs around 260,000 people. It said its emissions reduction plan will cover areas such as agriculture, packaging, distribution, and operations.

The company installed solar panels at its global headquarters in Purchase, New York, and has other solar resources at Frito-Lay facilities in California and Arizona, as well as PepsiCo beverage facilities those same states.

The company said its plan includes both mitigation, reducing GHG emissions to decarbonize its operations and supply chain, and resilience, reducing vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change by continuing to incorporate climate risk into business continuity plans.  The company said it will work to reduce virgin plastic use and increase recycled content in its packaging.

PepsiCo said it met its 2020 target to source 100% renewable electricity in the U.S. and set a new target to source 100% renewable electricity across all of its company owned and controlled operations globally by 2030, and across its entire franchise and third-party operations by 2040.

PepsiCo is also expected to achieve 100% renewable electricity in Mexico and Australia this year. Doing so would bring the total number of countries fully sourcing renewable energy in PepsiCo’s direct operations to 15, and meet roughly 60% of its direct global electricity needs through renewable sources. Twelve countries in PepsiCo’s Europe sector currently source 100% renewable electricity.

PepsiCo said it is supporting new renewable energy generation capacity through power purchase agreements. The company  finalized agreements with renewable energy company Ørsted for two new wind projects in Texas and Nebraska that will meet nearly a quarter of PepsiCo’s total U.S. electricity needs.

Groups urge a halt to utility shutoffs

More than 600 utility-justice, environmental, racial justice, labor, and faith groups sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris urging their administration to halt utility shutoffs nationwide to protect public health.

The groups urge President-elect Biden to ban utility service shutoffs for up to 12 months after the pandemic emergency ends.

image: Wikimedia commons

The No Shutoffs Coalition said it has advocated for a federal moratorium on utility shutoffs since the Covid-19 crisis began. It wrote a draft executive order that it said would instruct the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use authority under the Public Health Service Act to enact a national moratorium on residential disconnections of all water, electricity, broadband, heat, and other necessary utility services for nonpayment.

The proposed order would also mandate safe restoration for previously disconnected homes. It would last the full duration of the Covid-19 national emergency, and at least 12 months following its end.

The push for executive action comes after what the coalition said was Congress’s failure to enact a moratorium in the Covid-19 relief bill passed in December. Although Congress allocated $6 billion in funding toward electricity bill relief, “that funding does not meet the scale of the crisis,” the coalition said in a statement. The spending bill also included $638 million for a new low-income water-assistance program, “far short of what’s needed,” it said.

“America’s utility shutoffs crisis is a human rights crisis,” said Jean Su, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s energy justice program.

The coalition said that a study from Duke University last June found that water and utility shutoff moratoria reduced the average growth rate of Covid-19 by 2.6%.

Harrison Street buys solar assets

Real estate investor Harrison Street said it bought five portfolios of commercial and industrial solar assets from Ecoplexus, a global developer and owner of renewable energy projects. Terms were not disclosed.

The portfolio comprises 101.9 MW of operating solar capacity from Ecoplexus’ Distributed Generation portfolio in California and its Community Solar Garden portfolio in Minnesota. The assets will generate 142 million kWh of solar power for the State of California, and investment grade municipalities, universities, schools, and hospitals under long-term contacts.

Since 2018, Harrison Street has invested nearly $400 million in equity across investments in wind, solar, power, hydroelectric, and district energy. The acquisition expands the firm’s renewable energy portfolio to more than 337 MW.

Watch this space?

Orlando-based real estate developer and property management company Avalon Park Group said it has formed a team with partners from Switzerland and Singapore to build a 300 MW PV facility in Volusia County, Florida, near Daytona Beach.

As a start, Avalon signed a contract to buy 6,253 acres for the proposed project. Further details were not available.

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