It must have involved tens of thousands of marketing staff hours to come up with the "Live For Now" marketing campaign which Pepsico launched in 2012. The company press release on the campaign called it a "central governing idea for the brand globally" and "the way Pepsi behaves as a brand."
Pepsico is not only about fizzy drinks. The company includes among its many brands, popular snack items like Lays potato chips, Quaker oats and Cheetos, which explains why the company uses some 450,000 tons of palm oil annually.
The marketing types probably did not figure on the catchy phrase "Live for Now" as a likely target for environmental groups to latch on to, but latch on they did. Pepsico was included as one of the "Snack Food 20" group of companies targeted by Rainforest Action Network's year old Conflict Palm Oil campaign. In its ongoing campaign against Pepsico, Rainforest Action Network called out Pepsico as a foot dragging laggard whose use of Conflict Palm Oil could be leading to massive deforestation in tropical countries like Indonesia where palm oil is grown.
The Sierra Club was equally critical of the marketing phrase "Live For Now" and asks a critical question.
By "living for now," is the company (Pepsico) saying it could care less about tomorrow?
These environmental groups are right, we cannot afford to wait till tomorrow to take action. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) latest draft suggests that the effects of climate change maybe irreversible. I wrote previously on the greenhouse gas emissions from dirty palm oil and since that time of writing in October 2013, many corporations have made pledges to use only sustainable palm oil. One of the biggest producers of palm oil globally, Wilmar Group, even made a commitment to stop deforesting.
Key elements of those pledges have been no deforestation of primary forests and disturbance of peat lands which are a huge carbon sink. If we can leave these important elements undisturbed by the palm oil industry, it will be one additional plug against the massive effects of climate change which threaten us all now. Today.
But what about Pepsico's commitment to using sustainable palm oil? In line with their marketing phrase, they're leaving it till tomorrow.
In response to pressure on their use of Conflict Palm Oil, the company issued this statement in May 2014. It's a very nice looking statement that contains all the key words and phrases that usually calms environmental groups down. Words like "no development on High Conservation Value/High Carbon Stock forests" and "no new conversion of peatlands." In addition, Pepsico will leverage its very impressive sounding "Supplier Code of Conduct (SCoC) as a means of communicating PepsiCo's Forestry Stewardship Policy."
What do these words mean to us today in the face of this "biological holocaust" and hardships suffered by humans due to climate change? Should Californians try to adapt to drinking Pepsi instead of water?
What will this earth look like in 2020 when Pepsico finally meets its goal and uses physical sustainably produced palm oil?
I don't think anyone of us really want to know the answer. There is no stopping the weather extremes from climate change but we can sure as heck slow them down by taking action today against industries that want to continue their carbon spewing business as usual ways.
It has always been the efforts of a few that have benefitted many. Be one of the extraordinary few and let Pepsico know you're worried about climate change and that you would rather live for tomorrow.