PepsiCo explains how it measured the carbon footprint of Walkers Crisps

LONDON - In a Q&A with Marketing, Martyn Seal, PepsiCo Europe Sustainability Director, explains how it measured the carbon footprint of Walkers Crisps.

1. Why did PepsiCo decide to calculate the carbon footprint of Walkers Crisps?
 
PepsiCo is committed to becoming a more environmentally sustainable company and reducing its carbon footprint. Calculating the lifecycle carbon footprint of our products allows us to determine where in the supply chain we need to target our efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Walkers is our biggest brand, which is why it was the first to be footprinted.
 
In 2007, Walkers became the first consumer brand in the world to launch the Carbon Trust's Carbon Reduction Label. Since then, we've also calculated the carbon footprint of Quaker Oats, Oatso Simple Original and Oatso Simple Golden Syrup.
 
2. Which products have been footprinted and carry the Carbon Reduction Label?

 
34.5g and 50 g bags of Walkers core range have been footprinted and carry the Carbon Reduction Label. We have also footprinted and introduced the Label to 1kg packs of Quaker Oats, and Oatso Simple Original and Oatso Simple Golden Syrup.
 
3. Describe the process and lifecycle of a packet of Walkers Crisps?
  
We asked the Carbon Trust to calculate the footprint of a standard bag of Walkers crisps by:
* Drawing up a map of the key stages in our supply chain - from growing potatoes and sunflower seeds, to getting the crisps on the shelves, to finally disposing of the packet
* Looking at the energy consumption directly involved in each of these stages and converting this into the resulting amount of carbon emissions
* Adding up the carbon emissions from each of these stages to get the calculated value
The lifecycle of a packet of Walkers:

The lifecycle of a packet of Walkers:

1: Our raw materials: Potatoes, sunflowers and seasoning  & packaging (53%) 
2: Manufacture: Producing crisps from potatoes 34% 
3: Distribution (10%)
4: Disposal of the empty packs (3%)

 
4. Did calculating the carbon footprint throw up any surprises in terms of your energy consumption?
 
Our work to understand the lifecycle of our products has shown us that the majority of our carbon footprint happens outside our direct operations (see above). This is why we are working with our suppliers to develop joint carbon minimisation strategies and reduce our collective impact on the environment.

5. Are there any variations between the flavours? If so what?

 
There's very little difference between flavours, however, as Ready Salted crisps are seasoned only with salt, their production generates slightly lower levels of emissions than other more complex flavours.

6. What did you reduce the carbon footprint by?

 
Between 2007 and 2009, Walkers reduced its carbon footprint by 7%, creating an overall saving of 4,800 tonnes of CO2e.
 
7. Did you have an original target?

 
Our target was to reduce our carbon footprint by 3% between 2007 and 2009, meaning that we more than doubled our original target.
 
8. What was the original carbon footprint and what has it come down to?

 
Walkers first signed up to the Carbon Reduction Label in 2007. At that time, the standard to measure carbon footprints was still being developed. We used a draft version to calculate the carbon footprint of a standard bag of Walkers crisps. Using that draft version, we calculated a figure of 75g.
 
The requirements for calculating a carbon footprint are now specified by PAS 2050, which is a British Standards Institute guideline for product carbon footprinting. Using this final standard, we now find that the original 2007 carbon footprint figure for a standard bag of Walkers crisps was 85g.
 
Factoring in the 7% reduction in carbon emissions achieved between 2007 and 2009, the carbon footprint of a packet of Walkers crisps is now 80g.

9. Has the process helped make any monetary saving, if so from where?
 
In order to lower our emissions, we've improved our energy efficiency, which has yielded an annual saving of £400,000.
 
10.  What kind of consumer feedback have you had regarding the label?
 
Since adopting the Label, we have commissioned regular research into consumer awareness and understanding of the label. The findings have been positive and show that knowledge and understanding of the Carbon Reduction label has increased substantially since its launch in 2007. The most recent survey* reveals that 90% of consumers say they are aware of carbon labelling. Additionally, over three quarters of people (76%) say that it makes them more aware of the environmental impact of the products and services they choose to buy.
 
*Ref: Populus, January 2009.
 

11. Besides putting the label on pack, have you done any other consumer-facing marketing around the achievement?
 

The launch of the Label was supported with extensive PR activity, and ongoing media relations continue to drive awareness of the scheme.
 
12.  Would you encourage other companies to take this step? Why?

 
Absolutely. By footprinting our products and better understanding where the ‘hot spots' in our supply chain are, we've been able to develop a targeted carbon reduction strategy.
Our experience has proven that introducing the Carbon Reduction Label, and making a public commitment to reduce carbon emissions, is a powerful means of galvanising action throughout the business.
 
In addition, our research* shows that consumers value the Carbon Reduction Label. Over half (52%) of those polled said they were more likely to buy a product carrying the Label, while a significant majority (66%) said that they believe the Label helped them to be more aware of their carbon footprint when shopping.
 
 *Ref: Populus, January 2009.

13.  What other sustainability drives has PepsiCo UK undertaken recently?

 
* At our Walkers manufacturing sites, we're developing the technology which will enable us to capture the water extracted from potatoes before frying, and use it for all our factories' water needs, allowing us to disconnect completely from the water mains and achieve zero water intake
* We are exploring options for renewable energy generation for each of our UK manufacturing sites, including a wind turbine at our Walkers factory in Skelmersdale, an anerobic digestion plant at Copella in Boxford (which will convert waste apple peel to energy), and a CHP biomass boiler at our Quaker factory in Cupar (to convert oat husks to heat and energy).
* In 2008, PepsiCo UK doubled its share of electricity from renewable from 8% to 16% - exceeding the initial target, and substantially ahead of UK average of 5.5%
* In 2008, we reduced our total waste to landfill by 39%
 
For more information, please see www.pepsico.co.uk/environment

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