NLPC is sponsoring a PepsiCo shareholder proposal asking for a report on the company’s lobbying priorities. At the PepsiCo annual tomorrow in Plano, Texas, I will argue that the company’s lobbying priorities are seriously out of whack.
I will cite PepsiCo’s membership in U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a coalition of corporations and environmental groups. USCAP’s mission is to “quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.” The House of Representatives has obliged in the form of the Waxman-Markey bill that would destroy over 1.1 million jobs, hike electricity rates 90 percent, and reduce the U.S. gross domestic product by nearly $10 trillion over the next 25 years.
Corporate membership in USCAP has become controversial in the wake of the “Climategate” scandal, and as the prospects for cap and trade have ebbed. BP, ConocoPhillips, and Caterpillar have withdrawn from the group. I will propose that PepsiCo do the same.
PepsiCo distributes Aquafina, reportedly the largest-selling brand of bottled water in the United States. Bottled water has come under attack by the same people who push global warming alarmism. They argue that Aquafina is just tap water anyway, so it needlessly adds to carbon emissions to bottle it and truck it around.
Instead of defending the rights of its own customers to buy its product, PepsiCo seeks to appease these critics by jumping on the global warming bandwagon. It has even come up with something called the Eco-Fina bottle that uses 50% less plastic, saving an estimated 75 million pounds of plastic annually. Of course, the activists aren’t fooled, accusing PepsiCo of “greenwashing.”
So for PepsiCo, its a slippery slope. Once you accept the dubious premise that your plastic bottles made from petroleum are destroying the earth, you end up having to support grandiose plans to save it, which of course necessitates massive government intervention in the economy.
Like BP, PepsiCo runs TV ads picturing windmills. Instead of trying to pretend it is not an oil company (“Beyond Petroleum”), BP management should have focused on its core mission. It would have been a lot better for the environment had the spill not occurred. At least BP is an energy company. PepsiCo has no excuse. It should get back to its core mission.