DUBAI: The world needs to come together to tackle environmental crises as “no one person has the solution,” PepsiCo Middle East CEO Aamer Sheikh told the World Government Summit on Wednesday.
“You have to have a plan, clear intentions and an objective which you then have to hold yourself accountable to, to make sure you’re following through and reaching your goals,” Sheikh said in a session titled “Can We Live in Harmony with Nature.”
But he warned that any solution needs to involve people at the government, corporate and individual level.
Sheikh said that when he was first appointed CEO at PepsiCo, sustainability was the starting point of the conversation.
“It should not take a calamity to bring us together,” he told delegates, adding: “We are taking the lead and aim to bring like-minded people together.”
He said that the company started selling Aquafina water in infinitely recyclable metal cans, and is partnering with the Dubai Can initiative to launch a program encouraging the UAE’s population to use refillable bottles.
The company also recently launched its first electric truck in Saudi Arabia.
PepsiCo signed an agreement with the Arab Youth at COP27, encouraging younger entrepreneurs and researchers to discover ways to tackle issues like climate change and pollution.
“Education, youth engagement and collaboration are important to create a better environment for ourselves and the future. Cutting edge technology will have a hand in saving us,” the CEO said.
But Sheikh warned that the world was running out of time, and that even with initiatives like COP28, more intent behind actions and decision making was needed.
“We must hold governments and corporations accountable,” he said.
Alongside innovation, education, youth involvement and collaboration are key pillars to finding solutions to global issues including pollution, climate change and food supply, he added.
The CEO said he believed in the younger generation’s ability to solve these issues, noting that they question the status quo and are concerned with sustainability.
Shareholders, customers and the workforce are more engaged in tackling issues and now expect to see results, he added.
“It is not just about creating value and growth but also about bringing about positive change,” Sheikh said.
“Sustainability is our priority; we include the element in all of our decision making in the company.
“It is up to all of us to maintain and save the world we are living in.”