UC Berkeley and PepsiCo today (Sept. 21, 2023) announced a renewed partnership that will retain PepsiCo as the official beverage partner of the campus for the next decade. The new relationship with PepsiCo will expand the company's support of Berkeley's efforts toward sustainability, equity, and health and wellness.
As part of the agreement and PepsiCo's pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) business model, the company will supply Berkeley with energy-efficient beverage distribution and cooling equipment, while also providing funds to support campus priorities related to sustainability. In addition, PepsiCo has committed to supporting Berkeley's drive to eliminate non-essential, single-use plastics on campus. By 2024, 90% of the company's beverages sold at Berkeley will be available in non-single-use plastic containers.
By 2030, PepsiCo also will prohibit providing any of its products to the campus, including giveaway items, that use single-use plastics in their composition or packaging. Berkeley's roadmap follows the UC Sustainable Practices Policy, which includes potential reporting obligations and timelines. The campus's goal is to implement changes ahead of these deadlines.
The partnership will also further support the campus's health and wellness goals. PepsiCo will offer a selection of products that will enable Berkeley Dining, Cal Athletics, International House, the Student Union and the campus's beverage vending machines to meet the UC Berkeley Food and Beverage Choices Policy guidelines around sugar-sweetened beverages. PepsiCo will also work with the campus to prioritize marketing low-to-no-sugar PepsiCo product options.
"We are proud to continue a relationship with PepsiCo, a partner who understands our UC-wide sustainable goals and is committed to helping UC Berkeley prioritize our own sustainable initiatives," said Russ Chung, chief procurement officer at Berkeley and sustainable procurement co-chair of the UC Sustainability Steering Committee. "In conversations with EcoVadis, a global ratings company for business sustainability, they confirmed the best way to make a difference in this space is to partner with large companies who are willing to work toward the same goals. This will drive impact, not only at our campus, but across the globe. PepsiCo is such a partner and working with us to reduce and ultimately eliminate single-use plastic beverage bottles on campus."
In addition to supporting campus priorities and initiatives, the approximately $14 million investment in the partnership over 10 years will:
- Provide the campus with significant capital investment in emerging beverage technologies
- Guarantee wholesale prices at competitive pricing
- Support the campus's emergency preparedness with products relevant to disaster relief
- Support the Career Center with career opportunities and educational programming for Berkeley students
- Provide a donation to the campus's Pepsi ASCEND (Accelerating Success Can Enable New Dimensions) scholarship fund
- Provide monetary support and/or complementary product donations to campus departments in support of special events and programming that benefit Berkeley students, employees, visitors and fans
- Explore opportunities to further Berkeley research and innovation initiatives, and impactful projects and programs
"PepsiCo is excited to continue our partnership with UC Berkeley as its official beverage partner for the next 10 years," said Shay Hobby, senior vice president of commercial, PepsiCo Beverages North America, West Division. "With similar values around sustainability, wellness and equity, we know our partnership will continue to make a positive impact on the community and students at Berkeley."
PepsiCo was selected as the campus's official beverage partner following a seven-month collaborative process led by the University Partnership Program's Beverage Working Group, which included representatives from The Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC), Graduate Assembly, ASUC Student Union, Berkeley Dining, Intercollegiate Athletics, Office of Sustainability, Berkeley Recreation and Wellbeing, Supply Chain Management, University Health Services and UC Berkeley faculty.
The company was awarded the partnership based on scoring in the following criteria: products and beverage services, including quality, variety and pricing; sustainability compliance and collaboration; health and wellness; campus engagement; financial consideration; and support and alignment with campus values.