With a quick read, the article appeared to describe, a short term response by Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG) of NY to scoot out from pressures to contribute container deposit revenues to NY State. PBG's pulling up roots and moving to NJ is sweetened by $34mm in tax incentives. Moving an operation under any circumstances is consequential, but in the current economic environment it is a triple threat; more loss than gain for employees, corporate profits and productivity.
Digging further into the issue of bottle return protocols, laws and the underlying intent – to keep our countryside free of litter a.k.a. environmental pollutants and drive recycling behaviors revealed a complex web of players, goals and lack of collaboration.
We all too often address symptoms – massive bottle/can build-up or case in point PBG fleeing to NJ to avoid paying NY bottle return revenue. And fail to recognize the primary issue or essence, which is in this case beverage packaging. Robert Fritz depicted oscillating behaviors (addressing symptoms only) as a car on a rocking chair – the folks in the car think they are making progress, but in reality they are going nowhere. Is there an alternative container that is not only more sustainable, but “regenerative” as Carol Sanford called it at an MIT Sustainability Lab?
Pepsi tries to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, but it falls short of their supply chain delivery of product to the end consumer. Containers are part of the Pepsi product not just the beverage inside. Let’s stop the cycle of shifting the symptoms around. Pepsi, take a systemic stakeholder view, convene the network of players and be an industry role model for redesigning beverage delivery, packaging and recycling. We have mapped some of the stakeholder network to give you a head start. In the short and long term everyone’s a winner using this model.~ Victoria G. Axelrod