economy

Expo 2020 Dubai unveils PepsiCo as premier partner

Firm to market joint-branded beverages and snacks, bearing both Expo logos and PepsiCo’s product logos, in key markets

19:06 April 16, 2018

Dubai: Expo 2020 Dubai on Monday announced PepsiCo will be the 10th of its 12 premier partners.

Under the agreement, PepsiCo will market joint-branded snacks and beverages, bearing both Expo 2020 Dubai logos and PepsiCo’s product logos, in key markets both internationally and locally.

The firm’s Middle East & North Africa (Mena) president, Omar Farid, added that new products would be developed specifically for the Expo.

Neither Expo 2020 Dubai nor PepsiCo would reveal the value of the deal, with PepsiCo global chair Indra Nooyi light-heartedly responding, “That’s for us to know and you to guess,” in response to a Gulf News question at a press conference following the signing ceremony.

From left to right: Omar Farid, President of PepsiCo Middle East and Africa, Mohammed Al Shaibani, Director General of The Ruler’s Court, Government of Dubai, Indra K Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, Shaikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, CEO and chairman of the Emirates Group and Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee and Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Expo 2020 Dubai’s Director General after the MOU signing ceremony at the Expo 2020 site in Dubai South on 16th April 2018. Photo: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

Instead, both parties preferred to talk of an alignment of purpose between Expo and PepsiCo, with Reem Al Hashemi, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, praising PepsiCo’s ‘Performance With Purpose’ programme as a model that matched the Expo’s vision and themes of sustainability, mobility and innovation.

“With PepsiCo and Expo 2020, we’re aligned across the board,” Al Hashemi said. “It is not so casual to find corporates that also have such a strong commitment with aligning themselves to making this planet a better place, and so we’ve searched diligently to find that type of alignment so that when we do have a partnership deal, the issue isn’t so much the dollar figure, it’s the kind of impact you can create.”

Nooyi highlighted PepsiCo’s efforts in water conservation, for which it won the Stockholm Industry Water Award in 2012; the use of electric and hybrid vehicles to reduce carbon footprint; and its efforts to reduce the use of plastics in its packaging and to increase re-use and recycling.

She said PepsiCo would be showcasing its reusable Drinkfinity bottle at Expo 2020. “We’re in advanced testing in Brazil and the United States — it’s actually launched in Brazil. Interestingly, it’s got great trial — the big issue is people don’t want to wash the bottle. We have to stay with it so that people actually get into the habit of washing the bottle and create a culture of reusing the bottle.”

Shaikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, CEO and chairman of the Emirates Group and Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee flanked by Indra K Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo (right) and Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Expo 2020 Dubai’s Director General. Photo: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

She noted such efforts to change consumer behaviour often foundered, but added, “You have to stick with it. That’s the key thing. Very often we try to do something and then, in two or three quarters, we tend to give up because it’s just hard to do it — it costs money, it takes time. But with Drinkfinity now we’ve stuck with it for at least two years and we are determined. We think it’s a good idea. We want to make sure that we take the time and the energy the effort and investment to actually change consumer perceptions.”

Nooyi said PepsiCo would also be using its Expo involvement to find new ideas for sustainable growth.

“The great thing about Expo of the kind that’s being planned in Dubai is that we’re going to see so many ideas coming not just from the Dubai pavilions but from the other countries. I think we’re going to be a student of what’s being suggested in the pavilions of other countries.”