PepsiCo pledges $437.5 million for racial equality initiatives

PepsiCo pledges $437.5 million for racial equality initiatives

PepsiCo has announced a five-year, $437.5 million commitment in support of efforts to address inequality and create opportunity for Black communities and increase Black representation within the multinational company.

The commitments include $25 million to fund scholarships for students transferring from two- to four-year colleges and in support of trade/certificate and academic two-year degree programs at community colleges; $6.5 million in community impact grants aimed at addressing systemic issues; $1 million to replicate the company's community support program in Chicago and expand its Food for Good initiative in African-American communities nationwide; and $5 million for a Community Leader Fellowship program for Black nonprofit CEOs that will provide participants with executive education and networking opportunities as well as grants for their organizations.  

Over the next five years, the company also plans to invest $50 million in efforts to strengthen local Black-owned businesses, spend an additional $350 million with Black-owned suppliers, and expand its supplier pipeline through advocacy and outreach initiatives. Internally, the company will work to increase the number of African Americans in managerial positions by more than two hundred and fifty, or 30 percent; accelerate recruitment efforts at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs); and implement ongoing professional development efforts as well as training to reduce unconscious bias in the workplace.

"Whilst there are areas [where] we have made progress in the fight against systemic racism and inequality — including pay equity and the diversity of our frontline workforce — we know we cannot keep pointing to what we did decades ago," wrote PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta in a blog post. "The promise of our journey remains unfulfilled. We have much work to do going forward, and to echo Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "The time is always right to do what is right."

Ramon Laguarta. "PepsiCo's journey to racial equality: A message from our CEO." PepsiCo press release 06/18/2020. "The next step in our equality journey." PepsiCo press release 06/18/2020.