By Marc Stoiber
The concept of brand has rippled, or expanded, greatly with the rise of sustainability.
Suddenly, it isn’t all about limiting interaction to times revolving around consumption. Companies are thinking about how the consumer can do more, impacting the environment during use or at disposal, for example. And they’re also going further and further up the supply chain to ensure virtuous behavior – knowing that journalists are growing more vocal about environmental infractions that previously remained hidden.
Speaking with Robert ter Kuile, PepsiCo’s senior director of environmental sustainability, I learned that this ripple is now spreading beyond the consumer entirely, and into their community.
Ter Kuile, who speaks about innovation in water use this week at GLOBE 2012, said that his company is digging deep into local communities to find water saving opportunities that produce both positive environmental and consumer impact.
“If you start thinking outside your watershed, you’ll miss nuances of the local situation that you really need to pay attention to” ter Kuile said. “It’s about breaking down the watershed where we operate, and analyzing the situation across the spectrum – from farms to the supply chain to runoff.”
Ter Kuile used PepsiCo’s Casa Grande, Arizona facility as an example. The plant operates at near net zero waste and zero landfill. It is powered entirely by renewable resources – solar and biomass. And a new water filtration plant cleans used water to US drinking water standards, enabling it to be reused in operations and eliminating wasteful ‘one-pass’ water. It isn’t hard to see how this story would make the news in a desert city, and earn a positive glow for the company.