The Friday Report Blog: December 8th, 2023

Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry

PepsiCo’s Pioneering Journey to Water Positivity by 2030

PepsiCo, a global leader in food and beverage manufacturing, is making significant strides in water conservation within its supply chain. With a commitment to becoming net water positive by 2030, PepsiCo aims to replenish more water than it uses, aspiring to be among the top water-efficient manufacturers in high-risk watersheds.

David Grant, PepsiCo’s senior director of global climate and water solutions, emphasizes the importance of collaboration with suppliers, local communities, and governments to achieve this ambitious goal. Innovative approaches have already yielded remarkable results. In India, PepsiCo successfully reused water vapor from operations, and a project in Mexico dramatically reduced freshwater demand by nearly 70%, an initiative now expanded to Brazil. Moreover, advancements in snack production have led to significant water savings.

Since 2015, PepsiCo has improved its water-use efficiency by 22% and replenished 45% of the water used in high-risk areas. Additionally, the company has invested in conservation projects and water-filtration systems to enhance access to clean drinking water globally.

Demonstrating its commitment to sharing knowledge and raising awareness, PepsiCo has introduced an open-access online course on Coursera. This educational initiative covers corporate water stewardship, the impact of water on supply chains, and water-related regulatory and ethical frameworks. This course not only enhances internal expertise but also extends learning opportunities to a broader audience, underlining the significance of water conservation in business and beyond.

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Ports of LA, Long Beach, and Singapore Pledge to Revolutionize Green Shipping

Canadian National is set to enhance its rail network with the strategic acquisition of Iowa Northern Railway, a move that aligns perfectly with the flourishing biofuels market in the U.S. This acquisition, pending regulatory approval and expected to be finalized in 2024, will integrate Iowa Northern Railway’s 275 track miles into Canadian National’s expansive U.S. rail system.

This strategic expansion is particularly significant in northern Iowa, a hub for ethanol refineries. The acquisition not only bolsters Canadian National’s presence in key agricultural and industrial markets but also enhances its competitiveness in the region. This development comes at a time when the railroad is experiencing strong grain shipping volumes, thanks in part to low Mississippi River water levels and a high demand for biofuels like ethanol.

CN President and CEO Tracy Robinson expressed optimism about the new possibilities this merger will create for customers and partners in meeting the demands of both existing and new markets. With a robust grain harvest in the U.S., Canadian National is well-positioned to navigate the shifting landscapes of domestic and international grain markets.

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Merging Rails: How Canadian National’s New Acquisition Fuels Biofuel Growth

In a landmark decision, a jury unanimously found that several major egg producers engaged in price-fixing between 2004 and 2008. This ruling marks a significant win for food industry leaders like Kraft Heinz and Nestlé. The lawsuit, initiated in 2011 in the Northern District of Illinois, accused egg producers Cal-Maine Foods, Rose Acre Farms, and industry groups of conspiring to artificially reduce hen supply, leading to higher egg prices and impacting the financials of these food giants. The jury concluded that this scheme lasted for four years, ending in 2008. 

Attorney Brandon Fox, representing the food companies, hailed the verdict as a first-time accountability for these antitrust violations. Cal-Maine Foods, the largest egg producer in the U.S., emphasized its commitment to hen welfare and stated its intent to challenge the presented damages and consider appeal options. The final determination of damages payable to the victorious companies is set for November 29. This case resolution follows heightened scrutiny of egg industry concentration and pricing, particularly in light of Cal-Maine’s significant profit increase in 2022 due to rising egg prices amidst bird flu concerns. Rose Acre Farms has stated it will reserve comments until the trial’s conclusion. 

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