On Tuesday, PepsiCo CEO and chairman Ramon Laguarta announced on Twitter that the CPG conglomerate would be committing $400 million to fund several initiatives centered around racial justice and equality.
The $400 million will be spent over the next five years as part of an effort to “to lift up Black communities and increase Black representation at PepsiCo,” according to a statement from Laguarta. Laguarta said that the stark need for such a commitment was driven home by a letter he received “from a long-time PepsiCo associate,” which called upon the company to take tangible action against racism.
“PepsiCo at this time has an opportunity to look at our African American employees and community with wide-open eyes and heart and to work hand-in-hand to address the plagues many of us all too often face each day,” the employee wrote.
In recent weeks, Laguarta said that he and the company’s senior leadership team had met with Black community leaders and members of Mosaic, PepsiCo’s African American employee resource group, to discuss what sort of action the company could take to improve not only within its own walls but also externally.
Laguarta said that the company made improvements when it came to “pay equity and the diversity of our frontline workforce” but still had work to do in other areas.
“We know we cannot keep pointing to what we did decades ago,” he continued in the statement. “The promise of our journey remains unfulfilled.”
PepsiCo also included a breakdown of how the funds will be used over the next half-decade and other commitments PepsiCo is making to the diversity of its workforce and more. The list includes several promises, such as adding 100 Black associates to the executive team, increasing the number of Black managers by 30%, earmarking $6.5 million for community impact grants that “address systemic issues” and investing $50 million in Black-owned businesses and $10 million in particular for Black-owned restaurants.
In addition, the company will be rethinking its training, recruiting and other procedures. It will expand employee recruiting efforts at historically Black colleges and universities and increase the number of Black voices that contribute to marketing creative. PepsiCo will also roll out implicit bias training and create new inclusion training tools.
“These steps are only the beginning,” the announcement concluded. “Over the next few years, we will expand our pursuit of racial and social justice in communities around the world. We proudly stand with our Black associates, Black communities, and we believe unequivocally that Black lives matter.”