PepsiCo Labs pushes digital startups to unlock environmental sustainability solutions

August 01, 2022 — PepsiCo is on track to elevate its supply chain in Europe and collaborate with start-ups to pilot new technologies that will drive environmentally sustainable solutions.

Six start-ups were selected through a program focused on engaging the start-up community to showcase emerging technologies. Over the next 12 months, PepsiCo plans to foster new collaborations on the project.

The program is led by PepsiCo Labs. The team identifies and collaborates with breakthrough technology companies to drive growth, unlock shared potential and develop solutions.

PepsiCo aims to scale performance technologies throughout the supply chain in 2023 and beyond.

Accelerate positive change
Katharina Stenholm, Director of Sustainability at PepsiCo Europe, believes in the value of harnessing a digital future to accelerate positive change for people and the planet.

“We are responsible for using our resources efficiently and reducing our overall emissions, but we cannot do it alone. By embracing smart collaborations through PepsiCo Labs, we can unlock game-changing solutions and play our part in scaling technology innovations. It’s part of our commitment to addressing sustainability issues throughout our supply chain and driving PepsiCo Positive forward.

Pilot launches will take place in locations across Europe, including Turkey, Belgium and Portugal, with testing focused on four key areas:

Efficiency and automation
Turkey will test Pulse Industrial and BrenPower monitors, which detect steam trap failures through an AI system. The technologies aim to reduce the carbon impact at PepsiCo factories by reducing steam losses and improving overall efficiency.

Sustainable cleaning and hygiene technologyPepsiCo Labs has identified six startups that could unlock sustainability solutions across the supply chain and plans to collaborate with more throughout the year.
Portugal will test Ozo Innovations, which harnesses advanced electrochemical technology for smarter and safer hygiene in manufacturing plants. Ozo’s elocube converts cold water and salt into a powerful combined electrolysis cleaning and disinfection solution. If successful, the technology will “revolutionize cleaning processes by reducing the consumption of chemicals, water and energy”.

Using a patented conversion process, UBQ Materials transforms unsorted household waste, including all organic and non-recyclable plastics, into a bio-based thermoplastic with a positive climate footprint. PepsiCo will test this new material in Lay’s displays across Turkey, allowing for greater circularity.

Security Matters has developed an invisible “marker” system enabling physical and digital tracking to identify, track and sort packaging waste, which is connected to a blockchain system. PepsiCo will test this technology to enable closed-loop recycling monitoring, authentication of sustainability claims and improved waste sorting.

Water recovery
Elateq will be tested in Belgium and provides electrochemical wastewater treatment to remove pathogens, organic and inorganic contaminants in water, using less energy. If successful, the technology will reduce the overall carbon footprint at PepsiCo’s factories and promote a circular water system.

“PepsiCo Labs was launched to propel PepsiCo into the future. We aspire to be at the forefront of technological innovations by integrating solutions from start-ups on a global scale”, explains David Schwartz, vice president of PepsiCo Labs.

“It is a privilege to collaborate with six innovative start-ups as they pilot new technologies and develop solutions that aim to solve global sustainability challenges. We hope that by working together, we can accelerate the growth of these promising start-ups while placing sustainability and innovation at the heart of our business.

Technology is driving the industry
PepsiCo Labs has developed more than 30 start-ups in over 200 countries. This includes WINT technology, which has successfully created a positive impact on water in the supply chain.

The technology uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms to prevent water leaks at PepsiCo plants by using digital monitors to collect water flow data, which is then analyzed through pairing models and machine learning.

It is estimated that PepsiCo can reduce its annual water consumption by approximately 20-25% using WINT’s technology.

This project is part of the wider PepsiCo Positive (pep+) program; an end-to-end transformation announced last year. This work is part of PepsiCo’s ambition to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 75% by 2030, which is on track according to PepsiCo’s ESG Summary.

Good for the planet
The company’s latest announcement follows PepsiCo’s recent goal to reach net zero by 2040 and – ten years before the Paris agreement – to decarbonize its entire value chain.

Meanwhile, in packaging highlights, PepsiCo Europe revealed plans to phase out fossil-based virgin plastic in all of its crisp bags by 2030. The food and beverage giant has proposed to use 100% recycled or renewable plastic instead, reducing by up to 40% earlier this year.

The company also urged policymakers to set specific targets for flexible packaging to boost collection, sorting and recycling.

By Elizabeth Green

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