Keurig Dr Pepper on June 3 announced unified Corporate Responsibility (CR) commitments to deliver positive impact, less than a year after the merger of Burlington, Massachusetts-based Keurig Green Mountain and Dallas, Texas-based Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
KDP’s new “Drink Well. Do Good.” CR platform was developed following extensive analysis across the company’s expansive hot and cold beverage operations, and is focused in four areas where, as a combined company, KDP believes it can drive the greatest impact: Environment; Supply Chain; Health and Well-being; and Communities.
KDP Chairman and CEO Bob Gamgort said, “As we formed Keurig Dr Pepper 11 months ago, we recognized the unique opportunity to assess our combined footprint, address the urgent issue of plastic waste in the environment and, ultimately, create a positive impact on the people and places we touch. The result is our new vision for corporate responsibility, backed up by specific goals that will set the pace for our transformation.”
“The entire KDP organization has quickly united behind our new ‘Drink Well. Do Good.’ platform, and we are eager to harness the power of our more than 25,000 employees in this important work,” said Monique Oxender, KDP chief sustainability officer. “Our new goals build from existing programs such as our conversion to recyclable K-Cup pods—already complete in Canada and on track to complete in the U.S. in 2020—and expanded partnerships with leading organizations like The Nature Conservancy and the Closed Loop Fund. We will seek opportunities to rapidly test, learn and apply to meet the urgent need for action and to create positive, lasting change for generations to come.”
“KDP is firmly committed to reducing its environmental footprint while restoring resources for a circular economy,” the company says.
Eliminating packaging waste is a top priority, with a focus on holistic solutions that start with smart design for recyclability or compostability and reducing the amount of material used. KDP strategies are designed to close the loop through use of recycled content and broad engagement and investment to improve and increase recycling in communities across North America.
In addition to reaffirming that it remains on track to make all K-Cup pods recyclable by the end of 2020, the company is introducing the following new packaging goals: Convert to 100 percent recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025, and use 30 percent post-consumer recycled content across packaging portfolio by 2025.
With the announcement of these goals, KDP will also become a signatory to the “New Plastic Economy Global Commitment,” an initiative of The Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Reflecting the urgency of the issue, KDP is expanding collaboration with a number of stakeholders, including industry groups, NGOs and investment firms, to move the company’s packaging commitments “beyond independent ambitions to collective action.” This includes key partnerships and investments with The Recycling Partnership (TRP), the Closed Loop Fund (CLF) and, as a founding member, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)’s new ReSource: Plastic activation hub.
Erin Simon, WWF director of sustainability R&D, said, “ReSource: Plastic seeks to help companies translate aspirational commitments into meaningful and measurable action on plastic waste. Keurig Dr Pepper’s leadership role within ReSource will strengthen the data-driven and collaborative foundation of the activation hub, and will hopefully inspire a sea change across other companies as we work to stop the flow of plastic into nature.”
The unified environmental goals are:
• Send zero waste to landfills across operations by 2025
• Obtain 100 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2025
• Improve water use efficiency by 20 percent by 2025
• Partner with the company’s highest water-risk operating communities to replenish 100 percent of water used for KDP beverages in those communities by 2025
In addition to the KDP commitment to 100 percent renewable electricity, the company is joining the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) to develop new, unified comprehensive carbon reduction goals in the future.
KDP will “continue to be a leader of sustainable practices in the coffee supply chain, engaging suppliers, farmers and both local and international organizations to benefit coffee farmers and their communities in the short and long term.” The company is the largest buyer of Fair Trade coffee in the world and is working toward achieving its commitment to responsibly source 100 percent of its coffee and brewers by 2020. KDP’s social impact investments have reached more than 630,000 people in coffee communities, increasing farmer yields, profitability and resiliency, and the company is on track to meet its previously set goal of significantly improving the lives of 1 million people in its supply chain by 2020.
“We are forever grateful to Keurig Dr Pepper. Having a leader in the coffee industry recognize that a long-term sustainable future for coffee depends on agricultural research blazed a trail for the rest of the coffee industry to follow,” said Tim Schilling, founder of World Coffee Research. “The result is an amazing collaboration to create a nonprofit, global coffee research center that will hopefully change the future of coffee.”
KDP is continuing to explore how the model of engagement and impact it has long applied to coffee can apply to its newly expanded supply chain, including commodities such as aluminum, apples, corn and other sweeteners, and is working to set broader responsible sourcing goals beyond its coffee commitments in the future.
Health and well-being
KDP says it is committed to providing a balanced portfolio of beverage options and the resources consumers need to make informed choices for themselves and their families.
“Our growing portfolio contains more low- and no-calorie choices than ever before, and new smaller-size options are available across our family of brands,” the company says.
It will continue to collaborate with the American Beverage Association and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for the Balanced Calorie Initiative, with a collective industry goal to reduce beverage calories 20 percent per person nationally by 2025.
KDP is committed to giving back and engaging its employees to build stronger, healthier communities. The company invests in local communities, with a goal to provide play opportunities to 13.5 million children and families by 2020 through its “Let’s Play” initiative, a collaboration with national nonprofits KaBoom! and Good Sports. Since 2011, KDP has led more than 100 community playground build projects in underserved areas and has provided grants to build or improve more than 2,300 play spaces across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. In addition, KDP has provided more than 1,700 sports equipment grants to youth-serving organizations in need.