PepsiCo Foods, Unilever and Modrobes: An Honest Discussion about Green Consumerism in Canada

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PepsiCo Foods, Unilever and Modrobes: An Honest Discussion about Green Consumerism in Canada

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Challenges, Successes, and Next Steps: @PepsiCo, @Unilever_Press & @Modrobes on #green #consumerism in #Canada http://bit.ly/NNSR2z
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - 1:40pm

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I was pleased with the authentic conversation about consumerism and corporate responsibilit. at a recent Toronto Greenhouse Event, Green Consumer Products: Unilever, PepsiCo Foods & Modrobes, The dialogue was honest and the presenters spoke with integrity about successes they are proud of and challenges they still face. Some highlights:

Success stories

Having Modrobes represented in the session provided a good balance to the multi-national presence of PepsiCo Foods and Unilever. Often, in conversations about corporate sustainability Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are left out, although in Canada they represent over 90% of business. The company's success story so far? According to Modrobes owner, Steven Sal Debus, it is changing the business from traditional manufacturing to a socially and environmentally sustainable one. Presenting the concept on the CBC television show, "Dragons' Den" secured investment to build the infrastructure required for making high quality, sustainable fabric.

For PepsiCo Foods, success has come through achieving a zero waste facility with 99% diversion from landfill, as well as reaching water use targets, among others. While those and other milestones are a source of pride for the company, Helmi Ansari, Director of Sustainability and Productivity clarifies, "We can't say that it's success yet, success is achieving net zero."

Unilever Canada's Vice President John Coyne shared similar success stories that include operational efficiencies such as zero waste to landfill, sustainable supply chain protocols and being the largest purchaser of green energy in Canada. Coyne adds that sourcing from people and organizations that are socially and environmentally sustainable is key. "We are not here for the short term, [we make] major commitments and we take it seriously."

.... And Challenges

The biggest challenge for corporate giants Unilever and PepsiCo is current economics. Specifically, the economics between consumption and sustainability, such as the short-term gain approach under which companies. Coyne notes that the practice of economics hasn't changed much and therefore creates "a roadblock to sustainability." This roadblock translates as a risk to investment in clean technologies. PepsiCo Foods "can take bigger risks that smaller businesses just cannot afford," observes Ansari.

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Meirav Even-Har is a Justmeans staff blogger. She reports on Canadian CSR issues. Meirav is an independent sustainability consultant and writer working in Toronto, Canada.

Keywords: Responsible Production & Consumption | Consumer Behaviour | Corporate Sustainability | Green Consumerism | Green Products | Modrobes Inc. | PepsiCo Foods | Responsible Business & Employee Engagement | Toronto Greenhouse | Unilever Canada | environment

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