I was sitting in the Student Union Memorial Center at the University of Arizona the other day eating a bag of Sun Chips and I noticed a little green symbol down in the bottom right corner of the bag. The words “we buy green energy credits” were printed around it. I never noticed it before, but apparently the symbol has been on all Sun Chips bags, owned by Frito-Lay, since 2007.
What is a green energy credit you may ask? According to the Sun Chips Web site the renewable energy credits they purchase help support innovations in renewable electricity. With titles like “Healthier Planet” and “Healthier You” dancing across their Web site the brand seems to have a true vested interest in the health of our future planet and population. They have managed to put their money where their mouth is, as one of their plants, in Modesto California, is powered by solar energy.
After noticing the green logo on the bag I starting wondering about what other products or services I consume, which are made by companies who buy green energy credits.
After poking around on the internet I discovered a program called the Green Power Partnership, a program created by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that recognizes companies, businesses and institutions making great strides in green energy causes and contributions. The EPA co-sponsors the annual award program, 25 were given this year, with the Center for Resource Solutions and the U.S. Department of Energy.
PepsiCo, Inc., which acts as an umbrella for several businesses including Frito-Lay, Tropicana, Pepsi-Cola, Gatorade and Quaker foods was the recipient of the one of the programs Green Power Leadership Awards last year. The EPA has yet to publish the awards for 2009.
You may be thinking, “wow Pepsi produce’s a lot of products that are consumed through plastic bottles and containers,” which clearly doesn’t help the environment because plastic doesn’t break down naturally. You may feel just a little bit better knowing that PepsiCo, Inc. increased its green purchase amount by millions of kilowatts last year to keep pace with the huge company’s growth and was awarded the EPA’s Green Power Partner of the Year in 2007.
Producing and buying the equivalent of 100 percent of the energy they purchase in the US, PepsiCo is on the EPA’s National Top 50 and Fortune 500 lists of green power buyers. Other companies who do this include: Whole Foods Market, Johnson and Johnson and Starbucks. You may not have to feel so guilty next time you are drinking your coffee or pumping your face wash from a plastic container. This is because although those containers are choking the planet as we know it, you’re helping people who are investing in a more sustainable environment.