PepsiCo’s Lobbying for Cap and Trade Hit at Annual Meeting

Nooyi photoNLPC is the sponsor of a shareholder proposal that asks PepsiCo to report on its lobbying priorities. Here are my remarks today at the PepsiCo annual meeting in Plano, Texas:

I regret that PepsiCo opposes this resolution asking for a report on the company’s lobbying priorities. I would think that management would welcome the opportunity to explain its priorities.

PepsiCo is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership 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. According to the Heritage Foundation, this bill 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.

If consumers have to spend all their money on their electric bills, how are they going to buy potato chips?

Cap and Trade was formulated, of course, as a response to global warming.  But then along came Climategate. Hacked emails and other documents originating from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia were placed on the internet.

The emails showed that scientists at East Anglia and/or collaborating scientists elsewhere:

1) Sought to exaggerate data supportive of global warming.

2) Sought to suppress data at odds with global warming, including the use of a “trick” to “hide the decline” in temperatures.

3) Sought to exclude scientists skeptical of global warming from peer-reviewed journals, so that their research could be dismissed because it was not peer-reviewed.

4) Destroyed original climate data on which some CRU findings were based.

5) Exhibited a harsh and politically motivated prejudice toward skeptics, contrary to the spirit and ethics of scientific inquiry. CRU director Phil Jones characterized the death of a skeptic as “cheering news.”

Phil Jones had to step down, and no matter how cheery he is, he has now conceded that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995. Jones also has conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

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. 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, it’s 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.

BP, ConocoPhillips, and Caterpillar have withdrawn from the Climate Action Partnership.  This company should do the same. Like PepsiCo, BP runs TV commercials showing windmills. BP tried to pretend it is not an oil company. We were supposed to believe that BP stood for Beyond Petroleum. Maybe if BP had stuck to core mission, we would not have this disaster in the Gulf.

PepsiCo’s should stick to ITS core mission. The company is not a political organization, but it acts like one. Yesterday, I had a member of my staff go through this — Performance with a Purpose 2009.

The word “green” appears 3 times.
Climate Change 6 times.
Carbon 12 times.

“Sustain” or “sustainability” 23 times.

“Environment” or “environmental” 40 times.

Conversely, the words “consumer choice” or “consumer preference” appear 5 times

Freedom 0 times.

Liberty 0.

Free Enterprise 0.
Capitalism 0.
Free choice 0.

The federal government is in the process of becoming the dominant force in the energy, financial, housing and health care sectors of the economy. One would think this would raise alarms about what’s in store the rest. One would think that PepsiCo would be at the barricades trying to protect its shareholders and customers.

And if the company can’t do that, can’t it at least be neutral? Instead, PepsiCo functions as an instrument of the political and cultural Left.

photo: PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi


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