Invest in Our Planet: Building Climate Resilient Supply Chains to Deliver Meaningful Impact
This year’s Earth Day theme of “Invest in Our Planet” highlights the importance of dedicating our time, resources, and energy to take action against the climate crisis. A recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) , which is the international body for assessing the science related to climate change, reiterates that agriculture can be key to mitigating the impacts of climate change through the adaptation of climate-smart practices.
Food and beverage companies like Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP) have the opportunity and responsibility to drive this transformation and build more resilient agricultural supply chains that contribute to soil health, water quality and biodiversity. Doing so, will create more economic opportunity for farmers and, ultimately, support business continuity.
Building on decades of work on climate-smart agricultural practices in coffee farming, in 2021, KDP committed to a new goal of supporting conservation and regenerative agriculture on 250,000 acres of land by 2030, which represents approximately 50% of the land we use to grow KDP’s top climate-sensitive crops.
Over the years, we’ve found that the interconnected social and environmental issues require investment and collaboration to deliver meaningful impact. That has been reinforced most recently in our early steps toward delivering on this regenerative agriculture goal. Here’s how we’re thinking about it at KDP.
Long-term investments drive impact
To effect change, investments must be long-term and data-driven. This is especially true in agriculture. Investing in multi-year trials helps to yield credible and valid results and enables informed decisions that drive impact.
For example, KDP is a founding member of World Coffee Research (WCR) and has for over a decade invested in agricultural research to help farmers adapt to climate change. This long-term, data-driven investment is helping to create a more resilient coffee supply chain by providing funds to develop climate-adapted coffee tree varietals that increase yield and farmer profitability while decreasing negative environmental impacts.
KDP is also supporting a 10-year research study for apples that evaluates the impact on production and profitability from the use of innovative rootstocks and modern planting systems in processing apple orchards and thus improves farmer livelihoods.
Collaboration is key
No single entity can solve the climate crisis alone – collective action is needed to drive change. We’ve learned that collaborating on innovative projects that benefit the entire industry allows for breakthroughs and helps to achieve scale. Moreover, cross-sector collaboration can create opportunities that more meaningfully benefit both the environment and livelihoods.
KDP is partnering with ADM, PepsiCo and Practical Farmers of Iowa to advance regenerative agriculture and conservation practices in Nebraska. We contribute funds to encourage corn and soy growers in the region to adopt methods such as cover cropping, an important on-farm agricultural practice that improves soil health by reducing soil erosion and water runoff while also contributing to reduced GHG emissions. The goal is to help farmers improve productivity, profitability and environmental outcomes.
Focus on the areas where you can make the most impact
Supply chain and sustainability issues are varied and complex, so we’ve made a strategic decision to prioritize areas where we are uniquely positioned to deliver meaningful impact. KDP has been a large purchaser of coffee for decades and, in that role, we can help address the interconnected social, economic and environmental issues throughout our supply chain.
A real-world example of this is our work with farmer impact sourcing groups in Honduras and Columbia. In partnership with Sustainable Food Lab and Rainforest Alliance, we expect to measurably boost farmer income over three years by testing a combination of innovative purchasing practices and delivering direct investments to the producer groups. When farmers have access to economic opportunities, they are better positioned to contribute positively to sustainability challenges such as climate change.
Quick fixes are not going to solve sustainability challenges and the threat posed to our food systems. It’s through long-term investments, collective action and strategic focus that KDP is using our buying power for good to build resiliency across our supply chain.