Playing its part to save the planet from “impending doom”, PepsiCo is leading the charge in promoting global warming fears. Just this year, the company sponsored Al Gore’s Live Earth concerts and it joined the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) – a group of corporations and environmental special interest groups that are “calling for the federal government to enact national legislation to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”
The problem for PepsiCo is social pressure from global warming fears is harming Aquafina – the nation’s top selling brand of bottled water.
Responding to the populist theme of combating global warming, elected officials are pursuing efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of bottled water.
The mayor of San Francisco justified a ban on the purchase of bottled water by the city government stating, “As the city advances its Local Climate Action Plan to combat global warming, it is paramount that we initiate policies that limit the most significant contributions to climate change.”
The mayor said that the annual use of plastic water bottles by U.S. consumers “required about 47 million gallons of oil, the equivalent of one billion pounds of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere.”
San Francisco is not an isolated case. Salt Lake City Mayor Ross (Rocky) Anderson prompted the U.S. Conference of Mayors to adopt a resolution to promote tap water as a way to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
Special interest groups are also targeting bottled water. Corporate Accountability International recently launched ‘‘Think Outside the Bottle” – a nationwide campaign to discourage bottled water consumption.
Ironically, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of PepsiCo’s “partners” in USCAP, is a leading critic of bottled water. A NRDC water specialist recently said, “No one should be drinking bottled water and thinking they're doing something good for the planet.”
Most disturbingly, Ms. Nooyi is keeping her shareholders in the dark about the impact of global warming regulation on PepsiCo.
For example, in its 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), PepsiCo acknowledges high-energy prices are a business risk but it fails to disclose that global warming regulation will bring about a significant increase in energy prices. PepsiCo also fails to mention that global warming alarmism is a threat to its brands.
Not only is PepsiCo’s global warming strategy hurting its business, it also threatens to undermine the public policy goal of limited government. In addition to harming the economy, a Kyoto Protocol type cap-and-trade regulatory scheme would create a massive growth in government.
Politically, onerous legislation can only pass Congress with lobbying support from business – special interest groups alone don’t have the muscle to get laws passed. By participating in USCAP, PepsiCo is increasing the likelihood of regulation.
Fueled by a distortion of reality we are witnessing the gradual destruction of capitalism at the hands of CEOs, social activists, power hungry politicians and Hollywood. On the 50th anniversary of “Atlas Shrugged”, the real inconvenient truth is watching Ayn Rand’s words become reality.