On September 14, 2022, ADM (formerly known as Archers Daniel Midland) an industrial agriculture colossus, and PepsiCo announced a groundbreaking 7.5-year strategic commercial agreement to closely collaborate on projects that aim to significantly expand regenerative agriculture across their shared North American supply chains.
Hopefully, their approach will be true regenerative agriculture, which helps restore local watersheds and biodiversity while rebuilding topsoil (as originally documented in to the 2002 book, The Restoration Economy) , and not just a greenwashing campaign focused on just a few aspects of regenerative agriculture, such as no-till, which can sometimes lead to greater use of herbicides when improperly practiced.
This strategic partnership is expected to reach up to 2 million acres by 2030, and represents a trailblazing effort by two global companies that share ambitious carbon reduction goals.
The companies’ capabilities span the food and agriculture value chains, creating a unique, large-scale platform to support farmers’ transition to regenerative agriculture, while building their resilience to climate change.
“Building a better food system is essential to the future health of the earth and all of us,” said Jim Andrew, Chief Sustainability Officer, PepsiCo.
“At its core, PepsiCo is an agricultural company, working to spread regenerative agriculture practices that restore the earth and reduce carbon emissions to 7 million acres by 2030. This partnership with ADM marks a sea change in how PepsiCo engages with strategic partners and is expected to help us reach almost one-third of that goal. By enabling greater collaboration through strategic partnerships like this one, we can strengthen the livelihoods and resilience of the farmers we work with, while building a more sustainable future together,” he added.
The long-term agreement will initially enroll corn, soy and wheat farmers across Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Nebraska, with the opportunity for future expansion, to increase visibility across the value chain and integrate a range of multi-year farmer-first regenerative agriculture initiatives, including cover crops, reduced tillage, nutrient management, diverse rotations, and responsible pesticide use.
The companies plan to share resources and collaborate to create value throughout the supply chain by providing participants with technical and financial assistance, offering access to peer regenerative farming networks, hosting educational field days, and tracking results using trusted, third-party measurement systems.
Reaching the strategic partnership’s goals could eliminate 1.4 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses – equivalent to the amount of electricity used to power 275,000 homes per year – at the farm level, while creating meaningful shared value directly for farmers.
“Sustainability is fundamental to ADM: Our growth strategy is underpinned by demand for more sustainable products, and our culture compels us to act,” said ADM Chief Sustainability Officer Alison Taylor.
“Last year, we expanded on our Strive 35 sustainability goals with a commitment to reduce our Scope 3 emissions by 25% by 2035, and expanding regenerative agriculture practices – as we have with our recent strategic partnerships with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Farmers Business Network – will be key to reaching that goal. Today’s announcement is a major step forward, as we work with a partner whose values align with our own to scale up regenerative agriculture in a way few other companies can. We’re excited to take the next big step in reducing carbon and making our entire food system more sustainable,” she continued.
pep+ is PepsiCo’s strategic, end-to-end business transformation with sustainability and human capital at the center of how the company will create growth and value.
As part of those ambitions, the company is working to spread regenerative practices across 7 million acres of land by 2030—an area approximately equal to its entire agricultural footprint—and says it’s striving to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040.
ADM’s Strive 35 sustainability goals include reducing absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 25%, energy intensity by 15%, water intensity by 10%, and achieving a 90% landfill diversion rate by 2035 against a 2019 baseline.
In 2021, ADM additionally committed to a new, aggressive environmental goal to reduce Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2035 while accelerating its target date to achieve a completely deforestation-free supply chain from 2030 to 2025. The company has also committed to work with the Science Based Targets Initiative with the aim of obtaining approval of its climate targets and alignment with ambitious global goals to limit rising temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Photo is by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay.