Global soft drinks icon PepsiCo has pledged to travel a “steep but critical path” to reach net zero emissions within 20 years, with milestone plans to reach a reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs) of more than 40% by the end of the decade powered by a growing number renewable energy power purchase agreements (PPAs).

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The US company, which has a food and beverage portfolio encompassing such brands as Lays, Quaker, Tropicana and Gatorade, aims to cut GHG emissions across its direct operations by 75% and its supply chain by 40% by 2030, actions expected to lead to a more than 26 million metric tons of reduction – the equivalent of taking more than 5 million cars off the road for a full year.

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

“Climate action is core to our business as a global food and beverage leader and propels our journey to deliver positive outcomes for the planet and people. Our ambitious climate goal will guide us on the steep but critical path forward – there is simply no other option but immediate and aggressive action.”

Jim Andrew, PepsiCo’s chief sustainability officer, added: “It's long overdue that companies move beyond just minimizing their environmental impact, they must actively work to improve and regenerate the planet.”

PepsiCo said its emissions target was in line with the Business Ambition for 1.5°C pledge and classed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) led ‘science based targets’ initiative as the “most ambitious designation” available to businesses shifting to net zero operations.

WRI senior associate Nate Aden said: "Companies have a vital role to play in driving down global emissions, and it is encouraging to see major players, such as PepsiCo, taking ambitious action."

While PepsiCo said its climate action plan revolved around “mitigation, reducing GHG emissions to decarbonise [its] operations and supply chain, and resilience, reducing vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change by incorporating climate risk into business continuity plans”, it noted that it was also sourcing renewable energy through PPAs, such as announced today with developer Orsted covering output from two wind projects in Texas and Nebraska that would cover 25% of the company’s total US electricity use.

The deal, for power from the 298MW Haystack in Nebraska and the 367MW Western Trail in Texas, were “another demonstration of [Orsted’s] ability to provide customised solutions across multiple geographies to support achievement of corporate sustainability ambitions”, said Orsted Onshore’s chief commercial officer Vishal Kapadia.

PepsiCo VP of global sustainabilyt Roberta Barbieri said: "Sourcing renewable electricity is a critical step in our journey to more than double our science-based climate goal, reducing absolute greenhouse gas emissions by more than 40% by 2030 across our value chain, and our pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, one decade earlier than called for in the Paris Agreement.”

Last year PepsiCo met its goal of sourcing 100% renewable electricity in the US and setd a new target of using 100% renewables across “all of its company owned and controlled operations globally [by the end of the decade] and across its entire franchise and third-party operations by 2040”.

Web retail giant Amazon claims to the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy after a recent 3.4GW clean power buying-spree that spanned 26 wind and solar projects in eight countries took its total renewable energy supply portfolio to 6.5GW, outstrippingfellow tech giant Google, which has 5.5GW of clean procurement under contract globally.