The company said the cash would be used to fund the distribution of ‘essential goods’, including meals, personal protective equipment and health transportation.
Funds will be used to support the most vulnerable groups in society, particularly the elderly and children. Globally, PepsiCo is already in the process of distributing 50m nutritious meals to ‘at risk populations’ by supporting food banks and other partners.
The European countries receiving funding are: Italy, Spain, Germany, France, UK, Benelux, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey.
PepsiCo is currently finalising partnerships in each country with the aim of ensuring money is directed to support those most in need. The cash includes a US$600,000 donation made to the Red Cross in late March. This is already being used to support vulnerable people in Italy, Spain and France – currently the worst-hit countries in the region.
The food and beverage giant revealed it will announce additional programmes in the ‘coming days and weeks’ to meet ‘hyper-local needs’ as coronavirus continues to spread and community needs evolve. This will include additional support in Europe, the company revealed.
In addition, the PepsiCo Foundation is offering a two-to-one match for all employee charitable contributions to a group of non-profits providing COVID-19 relief for the next four weeks, contributing up to $2m to support non-profits chosen by its employees.
“This unprecedented crisis requires all hands on deck, and companies have a big role to play in directing critical resources to the most vulnerable. Food is at the heart of what PepsiCo does, and we believe the best way we can support communities during this difficult time is by leveraging our expertise and capabilities, along with help from our partners, to bring food to our neighbours who need it most,” Ramon Laguarta, chairman and CEO, said.
“We’re activating our global resources to do this now and provide other essential relief, and we will continue to do so as the world unites to tackle COVID-19.”
Global response to coronavirus crisis
In addition to targeted regional responses, PepsiCo said it is also investing in global partnerships that provide scale solutions.
The company revealed it is working closely with its ‘peers, suppliers, customers and other leading foundations’ to identify joint impact investing programs that can expand and sustain access to critical nutrition resources for families affected by COVID-19.
PepsiCo’s other international efforts include:
- $15.8m in North America, which has the most recorded cases of COVID-19 in the world. PepsiCo’s efforts focus primarily on increasing access to nutrition for out-of-school children in the US – 22 million of whom receive low-cost or free meals via the country’s National School Lunch program. The company is also funding protective gear for healthcare workers, investing in testing and screening services, and providing financial support for restaurant workers who have lost their jobs due to coronavirus.
- $6.5 million in Latin America to help prepare for the expected increase in COVID-19 impact by strengthening local food bank capabilities. PepsiCo’s food bank support will enable the stock of key food staples, provision of meals and staff transportation, and training of food bank staff on methods to reduce COVID-19 transmission.
- $7.2 million in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. According to PepsiCo, this region requires a unique response due to its ‘booming populations and diverse, emerging economies’. PepsiCo is investing to scale meal distribution among the most food insecure populations in partnership with leading NGOs.
- $3.3 million in Asia Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, and China. The company already provided early funding for protective gear for healthcare workers in China – where the novel coronavirus originated - and South Korea. PepsiCo will also help alleviate hunger among the most vulnerable people in the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Australia.
Other international food corporations have also rallied around efforts to support their suppliers and the communities in which they operate. Unilever, for instance, has committed €500m of cash flow relief across its extended value chain and will contribute €100m to help fight the pandemic through donations of soap, sanitiser and bleach. Meanwhile, Swiss food giant Nestlé has pledged to donate food, medical nutrition and bottled water as well as CHF10m for ‘immediate deployment in countries where it is needed most’.