Reduce Pesticide Use

2017 – PepsiCo, Inc.



Synthetic pesticide use is expected to grow 7% annually and reach $61.5 billion in market value by 2017.


Correlations between pesticide exposure and increased cancer risk can be found in a number of studies. According to the U.S. President’s Cancer Panel, approximately forty chemicals found in EPA-registered pesticides are classified as “known, probable or possible” cancer-causing agents.  In July, 2016, scientists and health providers released a scientific Consensus Statement as a national call to action to significantly reduce exposures to chemicals and pesticides.


Practices such as applying glyphosate to crops before harvesting—a protocol that makes harvesting easier but may result in increased pesticide residues on crops—are raising concerns. In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration announced it planned to begin testing for glyphosate residues on foods.


Neonicotinoids have been implicated as a contributor to the decline of pollinator populations.  With crops reliant on pollinators valued between $235-$577 billion, chronic declines in populations pose a threat to our economy and global food system. 


Consumer interest in knowing how food is grown and its impacts on health and the environment is growing. According to a Consumers Reports survey, eighty-six percent of people believe it is critical to reduce pesticide exposure.   


Given these concerns, regulatory actions are increasing:

·         In 2013, the EU banned three neonicotinoids;

·         In 2016, Minnesota enacted restrictions on neonicotinoids, and is seeking legislative authority to regulate seeds treated with pesticides before they're planted;

·         In 2015, EPA proposed a ban on the insecticide chlorpyrifos for agricultural use;

·         In 2016, California regulators proposed rules banning farmers from spraying pesticides within a quarter mile of any school or day care facility. 


Further several companies are tracking and reducing pesticide use:

·         Unilever discloses amounts of pesticides avoided by farmers using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices;

·         Whole Foods’ has committed to reduce pesticide use and its “Responsibly Grown Pesticide Policy targets pesticides which pose the greatest risk to consumers [and] pollinators”;

·         Sysco’s IPM Program reduced pesticide use by nearly 900,000 pounds over three years. Sysco also tracks pesticides avoided that affect pollinators. 


PepsiCo’s disclosures, in contrast, do not provide sufficient information to determine how it is effectively managing pesticide risks. PepsiCo’s Sustainable Farming Initiative guides growers to “optimize” the use of pesticides. However it does not disclose metrics, detailed goals or progress. Further, its 2025 Performance with Purpose 2025 Agenda, which provides specific details on a range of sustainability-related issues, is notably silent on pesticides.


RESOLVED: Shareholders request that the Board publicly report on company strategies or policies currently deployed, or under consideration, to protect public health and pollinators through reduced pesticide usage in the supply chain.


Supporting Statement: While the company has the discretion to determine the precise content of the policy, proponents believe the report should include:


·         Practices and measures, including technical assistance and incentives, provided to growers to avoid or minimize the use of pesticides;

·         Quantitative metrics tracking amount of pesticides avoided.