Item 1. Business.
When used in this report, the terms “we,” “us,” “our,” “PepsiCo” and the “Company” mean PepsiCo, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries, collectively. Certain terms used in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are defined in the Glossary included in Item 7. of this report.
We were incorporated in Delaware in 1919 and reincorporated in North Carolina in 1986. We are a leading global food and beverage company with a complementary portfolio of brands, including Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. Through our operations, authorized bottlers, contract manufacturers and other third parties, we make, market, distribute and sell a wide variety of convenient beverages, foods and snacks, serving customers and consumers in more than 200 countries and territories.
We are organized into seven reportable segments (also referred to as divisions), as follows:
1)Frito-Lay North America (FLNA), which includes our branded food and snack businesses in the United States and Canada;
2)Quaker Foods North America (QFNA), which includes our cereal, rice, pasta and other branded food businesses in the United States and Canada;
3)PepsiCo Beverages North America (PBNA), which includes our beverage businesses in the United States and Canada;
4)Latin America (LatAm), which includes all of our beverage, food and snack businesses in Latin America;
5)Europe, which includes all of our beverage, food and snack businesses in Europe;
6)Africa, Middle East and South Asia (AMESA), which includes all of our beverage, food and snack businesses in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia; and
7)Asia Pacific, Australia and New Zealand and China Region (APAC), which includes all of our beverage, food and snack businesses in Asia Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, and China region.
Frito-Lay North America
Either independently or in conjunction with third parties, FLNA makes, markets, distributes and sells branded snack foods. These foods include branded dips, Cheetos cheese-flavored snacks, Doritos tortilla chips, Fritos corn chips, Lay’s potato chips, Ruffles potato chips and Tostitos tortilla chips. FLNA’s branded products are sold to independent distributors and retailers. In addition, FLNA’s joint venture with Strauss Group makes, markets, distributes and sells Sabra refrigerated dips and spreads.
Quaker Foods North America
Either independently or in conjunction with third parties, QFNA makes, markets, distributes and sells cereals, rice, pasta and other branded products. QFNA’s products include Aunt Jemima mixes and syrups, Cap’n Crunch cereal, Life cereal, Quaker Chewy granola bars, Quaker grits, Quaker oatmeal, Quaker rice cakes, Quaker simply granola and Rice-A-Roni side dishes. QFNA’s branded products are sold to independent distributors and retailers.
PepsiCo Beverages North America
Either independently or in conjunction with third parties, PBNA makes, markets and sells beverage concentrates, fountain syrups and finished goods under various beverage brands including Aquafina, Diet Mountain Dew, Diet Pepsi, Gatorade, Mountain Dew, Pepsi, Propel and Tropicana. PBNA operates its own bottling plants and distribution facilities and sells branded finished goods directly to independent distributors and retailers. PBNA also sells concentrate and finished goods for our brands to authorized and independent bottlers, who in turn sell our branded finished goods to independent distributors and retailers in certain markets. PBNA also, either independently or in conjunction with third parties, makes, markets, distributes and sells ready-to-drink tea and coffee products through joint ventures with Unilever (under the Lipton brand name) and Starbucks, respectively. Further, PBNA manufactures and distributes certain brands licensed from Keurig Dr Pepper Inc., including Crush, Dr Pepper and Schweppes, and certain juice brands licensed from Dole Food Company, Inc. (Dole) and Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. (Ocean Spray). In 2020, we acquired Rockstar Energy Beverages (Rockstar), an energy drink maker with whom we had a distribution agreement prior to the acquisition. See Note 14 to our consolidated financial statements for further information about our acquisition of Rockstar.
Either independently or in conjunction with third parties, LatAm makes, markets, distributes and sells a number of snack food brands including Cheetos, Doritos, Emperador, Lay’s, Marias Gamesa, Rosquinhas Mabel, Ruffles, Sabritas, Saladitas and Tostitos, as well as many Quaker-branded cereals and snacks. LatAm also, either independently or in conjunction with third parties, makes, markets, distributes and sells beverage concentrates, fountain syrups and finished goods under various beverage brands including 7UP, Gatorade, H2oh!, Manzanita Sol, Mirinda, Pepsi, Pepsi Black, San Carlos and Toddy. These branded products are sold to authorized and independent bottlers, independent distributors and retailers. LatAm also, either independently or in conjunction with third parties, makes, markets, distributes and sells ready-to-drink tea products through an international joint venture with Unilever (under the Lipton brand name).
Either independently or in conjunction with third parties, Europe makes, markets, distributes and sells a number of snack food brands including Cheetos, Chipita, Doritos, Lay’s, Ruffles and Walkers, as well as many Quaker-branded cereals and snacks, through consolidated businesses, as well as through noncontrolled affiliates. Europe also, either independently or in conjunction with third parties, makes, markets, distributes and sells beverage concentrates, fountain syrups and finished goods under various beverage brands including 7UP, Diet Pepsi, Lubimy Sad, Mirinda, Pepsi, Pepsi Max and Tropicana. These branded products are sold to authorized and independent bottlers, independent distributors and retailers. In certain markets, however, Europe operates its own bottling plants and distribution facilities. Europe also, as part of its beverage business, manufactures and distributes SodaStream sparkling water makers and related products. Further, Europe makes, markets, distributes and sells a number of dairy products including Agusha, Chudo and Domik v Derevne. Europe also, either independently or in conjunction with third parties, makes, markets, distributes and sells ready-to-drink tea products through an international joint venture with Unilever (under the Lipton brand name).
Africa, Middle East and South Asia
Either independently or in conjunction with third parties, AMESA makes, markets, distributes and sells a number of snack food brands including Chipsy, Doritos, Kurkure, Lay’s, Sasko, Spekko and White Star, as well as many Quaker-branded cereals and snacks, through consolidated businesses, as well as through noncontrolled affiliates. AMESA also makes, markets, distributes and sells beverage concentrates, fountain syrups and finished goods under various beverage brands including 7UP, Aquafina, Mirinda, Mountain Dew and Pepsi. These branded products are sold to authorized and independent bottlers, independent distributors and retailers. In certain markets, however, AMESA operates its own bottling plants and distribution facilities. AMESA also, either independently or in conjunction with third parties, makes, markets, distributes and sells ready-to-drink tea products through an international joint venture with Unilever (under the Lipton brand name). In 2020, we acquired Pioneer Food Group Ltd. (Pioneer Foods), a food and beverage company in South Africa with exports to countries across the globe. See Note 14 to our consolidated financial statements for further information about our acquisition of Pioneer Foods.
Asia Pacific, Australia and New Zealand and China Region
Either independently or in conjunction with third parties, APAC makes, markets, distributes and sells a number of snack food brands including BaiCaoWei, Cheetos, Doritos, Lay’s and Smith’s, as well as many Quaker-branded cereals and snacks, through consolidated businesses, as well as through noncontrolled affiliates. APAC also makes, markets, distributes and sells beverage concentrates, fountain syrups and finished goods under various beverage brands including 7UP, Aquafina, Mirinda, Mountain Dew and Pepsi. These branded products are sold to authorized and independent bottlers, independent distributors and retailers. APAC also, either independently or in conjunction with third parties, makes, markets, distributes and sells ready-to-drink tea products through an international joint venture with Unilever (under the Lipton brand name). Further, APAC licenses the Tropicana brand for use in China on co-branded juice products in connection with a strategic alliance with Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Corp. (Tingyi). In 2020, we acquired all of the outstanding shares of Hangzhou Haomusi Food Co., Ltd. (Be & Cheery), one of the largest online snacks companies in China. See Note 14 to our consolidated financial statements for further information about our acquisition of Be & Cheery.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020 resulted in challenging operating environments and affected almost all of the more than 200 countries and territories in which our products are made, manufactured, distributed or sold, including as a result of travel bans and restrictions, quarantines, curfews, restrictions on public gatherings, shelter in place and safer-at-home orders, business shutdowns
and closures. We expect that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact our business operations, including our employees, customers, consumers, bottlers, contract manufacturers, distributors, joint venture partners, suppliers and other third parties with which we do business. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic will impact our future business operations and financial results remains uncertain and will continue to depend on numerous evolving factors outside our control.
See “Item 1A. Risk Factors” for discussion of the risks and uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, see “Our Business Risks” in Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and Note 1 to our consolidated financial statements for further information related to the impact of COVID-19 on our 2020 financial results.
Our Distribution Network
Our products are primarily brought to market through direct-store-delivery (DSD), customer warehouse and distributor networks and are also sold directly to consumers through e-commerce platforms and retailers. The distribution system used depends on customer needs, product characteristics and local trade practices.
We, our independent bottlers and our distributors operate DSD systems that deliver beverages, foods and snacks directly to retail stores where the products are merchandised by our employees or our independent bottlers. DSD enables us to merchandise with maximum visibility and appeal. DSD is especially well-suited to products that are restocked often and respond to in-store promotion and merchandising.
Some of our products are delivered from our manufacturing plants and distribution centers, both company and third-party operated, to customer warehouses. These less costly systems generally work best for products that are less fragile and perishable, and have lower turnover.
We distribute many of our products through third-party distributors. Third-party distributors are particularly effective when greater distribution reach can be achieved by including a wide range of products on the delivery vehicles. For example, our foodservice and vending business distributes beverages, foods and snacks to restaurants, businesses, schools and stadiums through third-party foodservice and vending distributors and operators.
Our products are also available and sold directly to consumers on a growing number of company-owned and third-party e-commerce websites and mobile commerce applications.
Ingredients and Other Supplies
The principal ingredients we use in our beverage, food and snack products are apple, orange and pineapple juice and other juice concentrates, aspartame, corn, corn sweeteners, flavorings, flour, grapefruit, oranges and other fruits, oats, potatoes, raw milk, rice, seasonings, sucralose, sugar, vegetable and essential oils, and wheat. We also use water in the manufacturing of our products. Our key packaging materials include plastic resins, including polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polypropylene resins used for plastic beverage bottles and film packaging used for snack foods, aluminum, glass, closures, cardboard and paperboard cartons. In addition, we continue to integrate recyclability into our product development process and support the increased use of recycled content, including recycled PET, in our packaging. Fuel, electricity and natural gas are also important commodities for our businesses due to their use in our and our business partners’ facilities and the vehicles delivering our products. We employ specialists to secure
adequate supplies of many of these items and have not experienced any significant continuous shortages that would prevent us from meeting our requirements. Many of these ingredients, raw materials and commodities are purchased in the open market. The prices we pay for such items are subject to fluctuation, and we manage this risk through the use of fixed-price contracts and purchase orders, pricing agreements and derivative instruments, including swaps and futures. In addition, risk to our supply of certain raw materials is mitigated through purchases from multiple geographies and suppliers. When prices increase, we may or may not pass on such increases to our customers. In addition, we continue to make investments to improve the sustainability and resources of our agricultural supply chain, including the development of our initiative to advance sustainable farming practices by our suppliers and expanding it further globally. See Note 9 to our consolidated financial statements for further information on how we manage our exposure to commodity prices.
We also maintain voluntary supply chain finance agreements with several participating global financial institutions, pursuant to which our suppliers, at their sole discretion, may elect to sell their accounts receivable with PepsiCo to such global financial institutions. These agreements have not had a material impact on our business or financial results. See “Our Financial Results – Our Liquidity and Capital Resources” in Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations for further information.
Our Brands and Intellectual Property Rights
We own numerous valuable trademarks which are essential to our worldwide businesses, including Agusha, Amp Energy, Aquafina, Aquafina Flavorsplash, Arto Lifewtr, Aunt Jemima, BaiCaoWei, Bare, Bokomo, Bolt24, bubly, Cap’n Crunch, Ceres, Cheetos, Chester’s, Chipita, Chipsy, Chokis, Chudo, Cracker Jack, Crunchy, Diet Mountain Dew, Diet Mug, Diet Pepsi, Diet 7UP (outside the United States), Domik v Derevne, Doritos, Driftwell, Duyvis, Elma Chips, Emperador, Evolve, Frito-Lay, Fritos, Fruktovy Sad, G2, Gamesa, Gatorade, Grandma’s, H2oh!, Health Warrior, Imunele, Izze, J-7 Tonus, Kas, KeVita, Kurkure, Lay’s, Life, Lifewtr, Liquifruit, Lubimy, Manzanita Sol, Marias Gamesa, Matutano, Mirinda, Miss Vickie’s, Moirs, Mother’s, Mountain Dew, Mountain Dew Code Red, Mountain Dew Game Fuel, Mountain Dew Ice, Mountain Dew Kickstart, Mountain Dew Zero Sugar, Mug, Munchies, Muscle Milk, Naked, Near East, Off the Eaten Path, O.N.E., Paso de los Toros, Pasta Roni, Pearl Milling Company, Pepsi, Pepsi Black, Pepsi Max, Pepsi Zero Sugar, PopCorners, Pronutro, Propel, Quaker, Quaker Chewy, Rice-A-Roni, Rockstar Energy, Rold Gold, Rosquinhas Mabel, Ruffles, Sabritas, Safari, Sakata, Saladitas, San Carlos, Sandora, Santitas, Sasko, 7UP (outside the United States), 7UP Free (outside the United States), Sierra Mist, Sierra Mist Zero Sugar, Simba, Smartfood, Smith’s, Snack a Jacks, SoBe, SodaStream, Sonric’s, Spekko, Stacy’s, Sting, Stubborn Soda, SunChips, Toddy, Toddynho, Tostitos, Trop 50, Tropicana, Tropicana Pure Premium, Tropicana Twister, V Water, Vesely Molochnik, Walkers, Weetbix, White Star, Ya and Yachak. We also hold long-term licenses to use valuable trademarks in connection with our products in certain markets, including Dole and Ocean Spray. We also distribute Bang Energy drinks and various Keurig Dr Pepper Inc. brands, including Dr Pepper in certain markets, Crush and Schweppes. Joint ventures in which we have an ownership interest either own or have the right to use certain trademarks, such as Lipton, Sabra and Starbucks. Trademarks remain valid so long as they are used properly for identification purposes, and we emphasize correct use of our trademarks. We have authorized, through licensing arrangements, the use of many of our trademarks in such contexts as snack food joint ventures and beverage bottling appointments. In addition, we license the use of our trademarks on merchandise that is sold at retail, which enhances brand awareness.
We either own or have licenses to use a number of patents which relate to certain of our products, their packaging, the processes for their production and the design and operation of various equipment used in our businesses. Some of these patents are licensed to others.
Our businesses are affected by seasonal variations. Our beverage, food and snack sales are generally highest in the third quarter due to seasonal and holiday-related patterns and generally lowest in the first quarter. However, taken as a whole, seasonality has not had a material impact on our consolidated financial results.
Our customers include wholesale and other distributors, foodservice customers, grocery stores, drug stores, convenience stores, discount/dollar stores, mass merchandisers, membership stores, hard discounters, e-commerce retailers and authorized independent bottlers, among others. We normally grant our independent bottlers exclusive contracts to sell and manufacture certain beverage products bearing our trademarks within a specific geographic area. These arrangements provide us with the right to charge our independent bottlers for concentrate, finished goods and Aquafina royalties and specify the manufacturing process required for product quality. We also grant distribution rights to our independent bottlers for certain beverage products bearing our trademarks for specified geographic areas.
We rely on and provide financial incentives to our customers to assist in the distribution and promotion of our products to the consumer. For our independent distributors and retailers, these incentives include volume-based rebates, product placement fees, promotions and displays. For our independent bottlers, these incentives are referred to as bottler funding and are negotiated annually with each bottler to support a variety of trade and consumer programs, such as consumer incentives, advertising support, new product support, and vending and cooler equipment placement. Consumer incentives include pricing discounts and promotions, and other promotional offers. Advertising support is directed at advertising programs and supporting independent bottler media. New product support includes targeted consumer and retailer incentives and direct marketplace support, such as point-of-purchase materials, product placement fees, media and advertising. Vending and cooler equipment placement programs support the acquisition and placement of vending machines and cooler equipment. The nature and type of programs vary annually.
Changes to the retail landscape, including increased consolidation of retail ownership, the rapid growth of sales through e-commerce websites and mobile commerce applications, including through subscription services and other direct-to-consumer businesses, the integration of physical and digital operations among retailers, as well as the international expansion of hard discounters, and the current economic environment, including in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, continue to increase the importance of major customers. In 2020, sales to Walmart Inc. (Walmart) and its affiliates, including Sam’s Club (Sam’s), represented approximately 14% of our consolidated net revenue, with sales reported across all of our divisions, including concentrate sales to our independent bottlers, which were used in finished goods sold by them to Walmart. The loss of this customer would have a material adverse effect on our FLNA, QFNA and PBNA divisions.
See “Off-Balance-Sheet Arrangements” in “Our Financial Results – Our Liquidity and Capital Resources” in Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations for further information on our independent bottlers.
Our beverage, food and snack products are in highly competitive categories and markets and compete against products of international beverage, food and snack companies that, like us, operate in multiple geographies, as well as regional, local and private label manufacturers and economy brands and other competitors, including smaller companies developing and selling micro brands directly to consumers through e-commerce platforms or through retailers focused on locally-sourced products. In many countries in which our products are sold, including the United States, The Coca-Cola Company is our primary beverage competitor. Other beverage, food and snack competitors include, but are not limited to,
Campbell Soup Company, Conagra Brands, Inc., Kellogg Company, Keurig Dr Pepper Inc., The Kraft Heinz Company, Link Snacks, Inc., Mondelēz International, Inc., Monster Beverage Corporation, Nestlé S.A., Red Bull GmbH and Utz Brands, Inc.
Many of our food and snack products hold significant leadership positions in the food and snack industry in the United States and worldwide. In 2020, we and The Coca-Cola Company represented approximately 22% and 20%, respectively, of the U.S. liquid refreshment beverage category by estimated retail sales in measured channels, according to Information Resources, Inc. However, The Coca-Cola Company has significant carbonated soft drink (CSD) share advantage in many markets outside the United States.
Our beverage, food and snack products compete primarily on the basis of brand recognition and loyalty, taste, price, value, quality, product variety, innovation, distribution, advertising, marketing and promotional activity (including digital), packaging, convenience, service and the ability to anticipate and effectively respond to consumer preferences and trends, including increased consumer focus on health and wellness and the continued acceleration of e-commerce and other methods of distributing and purchasing products. Success in this competitive environment is dependent on effective promotion of existing products, effective introduction of new products and reformulations of existing products, increased efficiency in production techniques, effective incorporation of technology and digital tools across all areas of our business, the effectiveness of our advertising campaigns, marketing programs, product packaging and pricing, new vending and dispensing equipment and brand and trademark development and protection. We believe that the strength of our brands, innovation and marketing, coupled with the quality of our products and flexibility of our distribution network, allows us to compete effectively.
Research and Development
We engage in a variety of research and development activities and invest in innovation globally with the goal of meeting the needs of our customers and consumers and accelerating growth. These activities principally involve: innovations focused on creating consumer preferred products to grow and transform our portfolio through development of new technologies, ingredients, flavors and substrates; development and improvement of our manufacturing processes including reductions in cost and environmental footprint; implementing product improvements to our global portfolio that reduce added sugars, sodium or saturated fat; offering more products with functional ingredients and positive nutrition including whole grains, fruit, vegetables, dairy, protein, fiber, micronutrients and hydration; development of packaging technology and new package designs, including reducing the amount of plastic in our packaging and developing recyclable and sustainable packaging; development of marketing, merchandising and dispensing equipment; further expanding our beyond the bottle portfolio including innovation for our SodaStream business; investments in technology and digitalization including data analytics to enhance our consumer insights and research; continuing to strengthen our omnichannel capabilities, particularly in e-commerce; and efforts focused on reducing our impact on the environment including reducing water use in our operations and our agricultural practices.
Our research centers are located around the world, including in Brazil, China, India, Ireland, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States, and leverage consumer insights, food science and engineering to meet our strategy to continually innovate our portfolio of convenient foods and beverages.
The conduct of our businesses, including the production, storage, distribution, sale, display, advertising, marketing, labeling, content, quality, safety, transportation, packaging, disposal, recycling and use of our products, as well as our employment and occupational health and safety practices and protection of personal information, are subject to various laws and regulations administered by federal, state and local governmental agencies in the United States, as well as to laws and regulations administered by
government entities and agencies in the more than 200 other countries and territories in which our products are made, manufactured, distributed or sold. It is our policy to abide by the laws and regulations around the world that apply to our businesses.
The U.S. laws and regulations that we are subject to include, but are not limited to: the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and various state laws governing food safety; the Food Safety Modernization Act; the Occupational Safety and Health Act and various state laws and regulations governing workplace health and safety; various federal, state and local environmental protection laws, as discussed below; the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act; the Federal Trade Commission Act; the Lanham Act; various federal and state laws and regulations governing competition and trade practices; various federal and state laws and regulations governing our employment practices, including those related to equal employment opportunity, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Act and the National Labor Relations Act and those related to overtime compensation, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act; data privacy and personal data protection laws and regulations, including the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018; customs and foreign trade laws and regulations, including laws regarding the import or export of our products or ingredients used in our products and tariffs; laws regulating the sale of certain of our products in schools; laws regulating our supply chain, including the 2010 California Transparency in Supply Chains Act and laws relating to the payment of taxes. We are also required to comply with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act. We are also subject to various state and local statutes and regulations, including state consumer protection laws such as Proposition 65 in California, which requires that a specific warning appear on any product that contains a substance listed by the State of California as having been found to cause cancer or birth defects, unless the amount of such substance in the product is below a safe harbor level.
We are subject to numerous similar and other laws and regulations outside the United States, including but not limited to laws and regulations governing food safety, international trade and tariffs, supply chain, including the U.K. Modern Slavery Act, occupational health and safety, competition, anti-corruption and data privacy, including the European Union General Data Protection Regulation. In many jurisdictions, compliance with competition laws is of special importance to us due to our competitive position in those jurisdictions, as is compliance with anti-corruption laws, including the U.K. Bribery Act. We rely on legal and operational compliance programs, as well as in-house and outside counsel and other experts, to guide our businesses in complying with the laws and regulations around the world that apply to our businesses.
In addition, certain jurisdictions have either imposed, or are considering imposing, new or increased taxes on the manufacture, distribution or sale of our products, ingredients or substances contained in, or attributes of, our products or commodities used in the production of our products. These taxes vary in scope and form: some apply to all beverages, including non-caloric beverages, while others apply only to beverages with a caloric sweetener (e.g., sugar). Similarly, some measures apply a single tax rate per ounce/liter on beverages containing over a certain level of added sugar (or other sweetener) while others apply a graduated tax rate depending upon the amount of added sugar (or other sweetener) in the beverage and some apply a flat tax rate on beverages containing a particular substance or ingredient, regardless of the level of such substance or ingredient.
In addition, certain jurisdictions have either imposed, or are considering imposing, product labeling or warning requirements or other limitations on the marketing or sale of certain of our products as a result of ingredients or substances contained in such products or the audience to whom products are marketed. These types of provisions have required that we highlight perceived concerns about a product, warn consumers to avoid consumption of certain ingredients or substances present in our products, restrict the age of consumers to whom products are marketed or sold or limit the location in which our products may be available. It is possible that similar or more restrictive requirements may be proposed or enacted in the future.
In addition, certain jurisdictions have either imposed or are considering imposing regulations designed to increase recycling rates or encourage waste reduction. These regulations vary in scope and form from deposit return systems designed to incentivize the return of beverage containers, to extended producer responsibility policies and even bans on the use of some types of single-use plastics. It is possible that similar or more restrictive requirements may be proposed or enacted in the future.
We are also subject to national and local environmental laws in the United States and in foreign countries in which we do business, including laws related to water consumption and treatment, wastewater discharge and air emissions. In the United States, our facilities must comply with the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and other federal and state laws regarding handling, storage, release and disposal of wastes generated onsite and sent to third-party owned and operated offsite licensed facilities and our facilities outside the United States must comply with similar laws and regulations. In addition, continuing concern over climate change may result in new or increased legal and regulatory requirements (in or outside of the United States) to reduce or mitigate the potential effects of greenhouse gases, or to limit or impose additional costs on commercial water use due to local water scarcity concerns. Our policy is to abide by all applicable environmental laws and regulations, and we have internal programs in place with respect to our global environmental compliance. We have made, and plan to continue making, necessary expenditures for compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations. While these expenditures have not had a material impact on our business, financial condition or results of operations to date, changes in environmental compliance requirements, and any expenditures necessary to comply with such requirements, could adversely affect our financial performance. In addition, we and our subsidiaries are subject to environmental remediation obligations arising in the normal course of business, as well as remediation and related indemnification obligations in connection with certain historical activities and contractual obligations, including those of businesses acquired by us or our subsidiaries. While these environmental remediation and indemnification obligations cannot be predicted with certainty, such obligations have not had, and are not expected to have, a material impact on our capital expenditures, earnings or competitive position.
In addition to the discussion in this section, see also “Item 1A. Risk Factors.”
PepsiCo believes that human capital management, including attracting, developing and retaining a high quality workforce, is critical to our long-term success. Our Board and its Committees provide oversight on a broad range of human capital management topics, including corporate culture, diversity and inclusion, pay equity, health and safety, training and development and compensation and benefits.
We employed approximately 291,000 people worldwide as of December 26, 2020, including approximately 120,000 people within the United States. We are party to numerous collective bargaining agreements and believe that relations with our employees are generally good.
Protecting the safety, health, and well-being of our associates around the world is PepsiCo’s top priority. We strive to achieve an injury-free work environment. We also continue to invest in emerging technologies to protect our employees from injuries, including leveraging fleet telematics and distracted driving technology, resulting in reductions in road traffic accidents, and deploying wearable ergonomic risk reduction devices. In addition, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have remained focused on the health and safety of our associates, especially our frontline associates who continue to make, move and sell our products during this critical time, including by implementing new safety protocols in our facilities, providing personal protective equipment and enabling testing.
We believe that our culture of diversity and inclusion is a competitive advantage that fuels innovation, enhances our ability to attract and retain talent and strengthens our reputation. We continually strive to
improve the attraction, retention, and advancement of diverse associates to ensure we sustain a high-caliber pipeline of talent that also represents the communities we serve. As of December 26, 2020, our global workforce was approximately 25% female, while management roles were approximately 41% female. As of December 26, 2020, approximately 43% of our U.S. workforce was comprised of racially/ethnically diverse individuals, of which approximately 30% of our U.S. associates in managerial roles were racially/ethnically diverse individuals. Direct reports of our Chief Executive Officer include 7 executives globally who are racially/ethnically diverse and/or female.
We are also committed to the continued growth and development of our associates. PepsiCo supports and develops its associates through a variety of global training and development programs that build and strengthen employees' leadership and professional skills, including career development plans, mentoring programs and in-house learning opportunities, such as PEP U Degreed, our internal global online learning resource. In 2020, PepsiCo employees completed over 875,000 hours of training.
We are required to file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC at http://www.sec.gov.
Our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements and amendments to those documents filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (Exchange Act), are also available free of charge on our Internet site at http://www.pepsico.com as soon as reasonably practicable after such reports are electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC.
Investors should note that we currently announce material information to our investors and others using filings with the SEC, press releases, public conference calls, webcasts or our corporate website (www.pepsico.com), including news and announcements regarding our financial performance, key personnel, our brands and our business strategy. Information that we post on our corporate website could be deemed material to investors. We encourage investors, the media, our customers, consumers, business partners and others interested in us to review the information we post on these channels. We may from time to time update the list of channels we will use to communicate information that could be deemed material and will post information about any such change on www.pepsico.com. The information on our website is not, and shall not be deemed to be, a part hereof or incorporated into this or any of our other filings with the SEC.
Item 1A. Risk Factors.
The following risks, some of which have occurred and any of which may occur in the future, can have a material adverse effect on our business or financial performance, which in turn can affect the price of our publicly traded securities. These are not the only risks we face. There may be other risks we are not currently aware of or that we currently deem not to be material but may become material in the future.
The impact of COVID-19 continues to create considerable uncertainty for our business.
Our global operations continue to expose us to risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Authorities around the world have implemented numerous measures to try to reduce the spread of the virus and such measures have impacted and continue to impact us, our business partners and consumers. While some of these measures have been lifted or eased in certain jurisdictions, other jurisdictions have seen a resurgence of COVID-19 cases resulting in reinstitution or expansion of such measures.
We have seen and could continue to see changes in consumer demand as a result of COVID-19, including the inability of consumers to purchase our products due to illness, quarantine or other restrictions, store closures, or financial hardship. We also continue to see shifts in product and channel preferences, particularly an increase in demand in the e-commerce channel, which has impacted and could continue to impact our sales and profitability. Reduced demand for our products or changes in consumer purchasing patterns, as well as continued economic uncertainty, can adversely affect our customers’ financial condition, which can result in bankruptcy filings and/or an inability to pay for our products. In addition, we may also continue to experience business disruptions as a result of COVID-19, resulting from temporary closures of our facilities or facilities of our business partners or the inability of a significant portion of our or our business partners’ workforce to work because of illness, quarantine, or travel or other governmental restrictions. Any sustained interruption in our or our business partners’ operations, distribution network or supply chain or any significant continuous shortage of raw materials or other supplies, including personal protective equipment or sanitization products, can negatively impact our business. We have also incurred, and expect to continue to incur, increased employee and operating costs as a result of COVID-19, such as costs related to expanded benefits and frontline incentives, the provision of personal protective equipment and increased sanitation, allowances for credit losses, upfront payment reserves and inventory write-offs, which have negatively impacted and may continue to negatively impact our profitability. In addition, the increase in certain of our employees working remotely has resulted in increased demand on our information technology infrastructure, which can be subject to failure, disruption or unavailability, and increased vulnerability to cyberattacks and other cyber incidents. Also, continued economic uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in volatility in the global capital and credit markets which can impair our ability to access these markets on terms commercially acceptable to us, or at all.
The impact of COVID-19 has heightened, or in some cases manifested, certain of the other risks discussed herein. The extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business remains uncertain and will continue to depend on numerous evolving factors that we are not able to accurately predict and which will vary by jurisdiction and market, including the duration and scope of the pandemic, the development and availability of effective treatments and vaccines, global economic conditions during and after the pandemic, governmental actions that have been taken, or may be taken in the future, in response to the pandemic, and changes in consumer behavior in response to the pandemic, some of which may be more than just temporary.
Reduction in future demand for our products would adversely affect our business.
Demand for our products depends in part on our ability to anticipate and effectively respond to shifts in consumer trends and preferences, including the types of products our consumers want and how they browse for, purchase and consume them. Consumer preferences continuously evolve due to a variety of factors, including: changes in consumer demographics, consumption patterns and channel preferences (including continued rapid increases in the e-commerce and online-to-offline channels); pricing; product quality; concerns or perceptions regarding packaging and its environmental impact (such as single-use and other plastic packaging); and concerns or perceptions regarding the nutrition profile and health effects of, or location of origin of, ingredients or substances in our products. Concerns with any of the foregoing could lead consumers to reduce or publicly boycott the purchase or consumption of our products. Consumer preferences are also influenced by perception of our brand image or the brand images of our products, the success of our advertising and marketing campaigns, our ability to engage with our consumers in the manner they prefer, including through the use of digital media, and the perception of our use, and the use of social media. These and other factors have reduced in the past and could continue to reduce consumers’ willingness to purchase certain of our products. Any inability on our part to anticipate
or react to changes in consumer preferences and trends, or make the right strategic investments to do so, including investments in data analytics to understand consumer trends, can lead to reduced demand for our products, lead to inventory write-offs or erode our competitive and financial position, thereby adversely affecting our business. In addition, our business operations are subject to disruption by natural disasters or other events beyond our control that could negatively impact product availability and decrease demand for our products if our crisis management plans do not effectively resolve these issues.
Damage to our reputation or brand image can adversely affect our business.
Maintaining a positive reputation globally is critical to selling our products. Our reputation or brand image has in the past been, and could in the future be, adversely impacted by a variety of factors, including: any failure by us or our business partners to maintain high ethical, social, business and environmental practices, including with respect to human rights, child labor laws and workplace conditions and employee health and safety; any failure to achieve our sustainability goals, including with respect to the nutrition profile of our products, packaging, water use and our impact on the environment; any failure to address health concerns about our products or particular ingredients in our products, including concerns regarding whether certain of our products contribute to obesity; our research and development efforts; any product quality or safety issues, including the recall of any of our products; any failure to comply with laws and regulations; consumer perception of our advertising campaigns, sponsorship arrangements, marketing programs and use of social media; or any failure to effectively respond to negative or inaccurate comments about us on social media or otherwise regarding any of the foregoing. Damage to our reputation or brand image has in the past and could in the future decrease demand for our products, thereby adversely affecting our business.
Issues or concerns with respect to product quality and safety can adversely affect our business.
Product quality or safety issues, including alleged mislabeling, misbranding, spoilage, undeclared allergens, adulteration or contamination, whether as a result of failure to comply with food safety laws or otherwise, have in the past and could in the future reduce consumer confidence and demand for our products, cause production and delivery disruptions, require product recalls and result in increased costs (including payment of fines and/or judgments) and damage our reputation, all of which can adversely affect our business. Failure to maintain adequate oversight over product quality or safety can result in product recalls, litigation, government investigations or inquiries or civil or criminal proceedings, all of which may result in fines, penalties, damages or criminal liability. Our business can also be adversely affected if consumers lose confidence in product quality, safety and integrity generally, even if such loss of confidence is unrelated to products in our portfolio.
Any inability to compete effectively can adversely affect our business.
Our products compete against products of international beverage, food and snack companies that, like us, operate in multiple geographies, as well as regional, local and private label and economy brand manufacturers and other competitors, including smaller companies developing and selling micro brands directly to consumers through e-commerce platforms or through retailers focused on locally sourced products. In many countries in which our products are sold, including the United States, The Coca-Cola Company is our primary beverage competitor. Our products compete primarily on the basis of brand recognition and loyalty, taste, price, value, quality, product variety, innovation, distribution, advertising, marketing and promotional activity, packaging, convenience, service and the ability to anticipate and effectively respond to consumer preferences and trends. Our business can be adversely affected if we are unable to effectively promote or develop our existing products or introduce new products, if our competitors spend more aggressively than we do or if we are otherwise unable to effectively respond to pricing pressure or compete effectively, and we may be unable to grow or maintain sales or category share or we may need to increase capital, marketing or other expenditures.
Failure to attract, develop and maintain a highly skilled and diverse workforce can have an adverse effect on our business.
Our business requires that we attract, develop and maintain a highly skilled and diverse workforce. Our employees are highly sought after by our competitors and other companies and our continued ability to compete effectively depends on our ability to attract, retain, develop and motivate highly skilled personnel for all areas of our organization. Any unplanned turnover or unsuccessful implementation of our succession plans to backfill current leadership positions, including the Chief Executive Officer, or failure to attract, develop and maintain a highly skilled and diverse workforce, including with key capabilities such as e-commerce and digital marketing and data analytic skills, can deplete our institutional knowledge base, erode our competitive advantage or result in increased costs due to increased competition for employees, higher employee turnover or increased employee benefit costs. In addition, failure to attract, retain and develop associates from underrepresented communities can damage our business results and our reputation. Any of the foregoing can adversely affect our business.
Water scarcity can adversely affect our business.
We and our business partners use water in the manufacturing and sourcing of our products. Lack of available water of acceptable quality, increasing focus by governmental and non-governmental organizations, investors, customers and consumers on water scarcity and increasing pressure to conserve and replenish water in areas of scarcity and stress may lead to: supply chain disruption; adverse effects on our operations or the operations of our business partners; higher compliance costs; capital expenditures (including investments in the development of technologies to enhance water efficiency and reduce consumption); higher production costs, including less favorable pricing for water; the interruption or cessation of operations at, or relocation of, our facilities or the facilities of our business partners; failure to achieve our sustainability goals relating to water use; perception of our failure to act responsibly with respect to water use or to effectively respond to legal or regulatory requirements concerning water scarcity; or damage to our reputation, any of which can adversely affect our business.
Changes in the retail landscape or in sales to any key customer can adversely affect our business.
The retail landscape continues to evolve, including rapid growth in e-commerce channels and hard discounters. Our business will be adversely affected if we are unable to maintain and develop successful relationships with e-commerce retailers and hard discounters, while also maintaining relationships with our key customers operating in traditional retail channels (many of whom are also focused on increasing their e-commerce sales). Our business can be adversely affected if e-commerce channels and hard discounters take significant additional market share away from traditional retailers or we fail to find ways to create more powerful digital tools and capabilities for our retail customers to enable them to grow their businesses. In addition, our business can be adversely affected if we are unable to profitably expand our own direct-to-consumer e-commerce capabilities. The retail industry is also impacted by increased consolidation of ownership and purchasing power, particularly in North America, Europe and Latin America, resulting in large retailers or buying groups with increased purchasing power, impacting our ability to compete in these areas. Consolidation also adversely impacts our smaller customers’ ability to compete effectively, resulting in an inability on their part to pay for our products or reduced or canceled orders of our products. Further, we must maintain mutually beneficial relationships with our key customers, including Walmart, to compete effectively. Any inability to resolve a significant dispute with any of our key customers, a change in the business condition (financial or otherwise) of any of our key customers, even if unrelated to us, a significant reduction in sales to any key customer, or the loss of any of our key customers can adversely affect our business.
Disruption of our supply chain may adversely affect our business.
Many of the raw materials and supplies used in the production of our products are sourced from countries experiencing civil unrest, political instability or unfavorable economic conditions. Some raw materials and supplies, including packaging materials such as recycled PET, are available only from a limited number of suppliers or from a sole supplier or are in short supply when seasonal demand is at its peak. There can be no assurance that we will be able to maintain favorable arrangements and relationships with suppliers or that our contingency plans will be effective to prevent disruptions that may arise from shortages or discontinuation of any raw materials and other supplies that we use in the manufacture, production and distribution of our products. The raw materials and other supplies, including agricultural commodities and fuel, that we use for the manufacturing, production and distribution of our products are subject to price volatility and fluctuations in availability caused by many factors, including changes in supply and demand, weather conditions (including potential effects of climate change), fire, natural disasters, disease or pests (including the impact of greening disease on the citrus industry), agricultural uncertainty, health epidemics or pandemics or other contagious outbreaks, governmental incentives and controls (including import/export restrictions, such as new or increased tariffs, sanctions, quotas or trade barriers), political uncertainties, acts of terrorism, governmental instability or currency exchange rates. Many of our raw materials and supplies are purchased in the open market. The prices we pay for such items are subject to fluctuation. If price changes result in unexpected or significant increases in the costs of any raw materials or other supplies, we may be unwilling or unable to increase our product prices or unable to effectively hedge against price increases to offset these increased costs without suffering reduced volume, revenue, margins and operating results.
Political and social conditions can adversely affect our business.
Political and social conditions in the markets in which our products are sold have been and could continue to be difficult to predict, resulting in adverse effects on our business. The results of elections, referendums or other political conditions (including government shutdowns) in these markets, including the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, have in the past and could continue to impact how existing laws, regulations and government programs or policies are implemented or result in uncertainty as to how such laws, regulations, programs or policies may change, including with respect to tariffs, sanctions, environmental and climate change regulations, taxes, benefit programs, the movement of goods, services and people between countries, relationships between countries, customer or consumer perception of a particular country or its government and other matters, and has resulted in and could continue to result in exchange rate fluctuation, volatility in global stock markets and global economic uncertainty or adversely affect demand for our products, any of which can adversely affect our business. In addition, political and social conditions in certain cities throughout the U.S. as well as globally have resulted in demonstrations and protests, including in connection with political elections and civil rights and liberties. Our operations, including the distribution of our products and the ingredients or other raw materials used in the production of our products, may be disrupted if such events persist for a prolonged period of time, including due to actions taken by governmental authorities in affected cities and regions, which can adversely affect our business.
Our business can be adversely affected if we are unable to grow in developing and emerging markets.
Our success depends in part on our ability to grow our business in developing and emerging markets, including Mexico, Russia, the Middle East, Brazil, China, South Africa and India. There can be no assurance that our products will be accepted or be successful in any particular developing or emerging market, due to competition, price, cultural differences, consumer preferences, method of distribution or otherwise. Our business in these markets has been and could continue in the future to be impacted by economic, political and social conditions; acts of war, terrorist acts, and civil unrest, including demonstrations and protests; competition; tariffs, sanctions or other regulations restricting contact with
certain countries in these markets; foreign ownership restrictions; nationalization of our assets or the assets of our business partners; government-mandated closure, or threatened closure, of our operations or the operations of our business partners; restrictions on the import or export of our products or ingredients or substances used in our products; highly inflationary economies; devaluation or fluctuation or demonetization of currency; regulations on the transfer of funds to and from foreign countries, currency controls or other currency exchange restrictions, which result in significant cash balances in foreign countries, from time to time, or can significantly affect our ability to effectively manage our operations in certain of these markets and can result in the deconsolidation of such businesses; the lack of well-established or reliable legal systems; increased costs of doing business due to compliance with complex foreign and U.S. laws and regulations that apply to our international operations, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.K. Bribery Act and the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act; and adverse consequences, such as the assessment of fines or penalties, for any failure to comply with laws and regulations. Our business can be adversely affected if we are unable to expand our business in developing and emerging markets, effectively operate, or manage the risks associated with operating, in these markets, or achieve the return on capital we expect from our investments in these markets.
Changes in economic conditions can adversely impact our business.
Many of the jurisdictions in which our products are sold have experienced and could continue to experience uncertain or unfavorable economic conditions, such as recessions or economic slowdowns, which have and could continue to result in adverse changes in interest rates, tax laws or tax rates; volatile commodity markets; highly inflationary economies, devaluation, fluctuation or demonetization; contraction in the availability of credit; demonetization, austerity or stimulus measures; the effects of any default by or deterioration in the creditworthiness of the countries in which our products are sold; or a decrease in the fair value of pension or post-retirement assets that could increase future employee benefit costs and/or funding requirements of our pension or post-retirement plans. In addition, we cannot predict how current or future economic conditions will affect our business partners, including financial institutions with whom we do business, and any negative impact on any of the foregoing may also have an adverse impact on our business.
Future cyber incidents and other disruptions to our information systems can adversely affect our business.
We depend on information systems and technology, including public websites and cloud-based services, for many activities important to our business, including communications within our company, interfacing with customers and consumers; ordering and managing inventory; managing and operating our facilities; protecting confidential information; maintaining accurate financial records and complying with regulatory, financial reporting, legal and tax requirements. Our business has in the past and could in the future be negatively affected by system shutdowns, degraded systems performance, systems disruptions or security incidents. These disruptions or incidents may be caused by cyberattacks and other cyber incidents, network or power outages, software, equipment or telecommunications failures, the unintentional or malicious actions of employees or contractors, natural disasters, fires or other catastrophic events. Cyberattacks and other cyber incidents are occurring more frequently, are constantly evolving in nature, are becoming more sophisticated and are being carried out by groups and individuals with a wide range of expertise and motives. Cyberattacks and cyber incidents take many forms including cyber extortion, denial of service, social engineering, introduction of viruses or malware, exploiting vulnerabilities in hardware, software or other infrastructure, hacking, website defacement or theft of passwords and other credentials, unauthorized use of computing resources for digital currency mining and business email compromise. As with other global companies, we are regularly subject to cyberattacks and other cyber incidents, including many of the types of attacks and incidents described above. If we do not allocate and effectively manage the resources necessary to continue to build and maintain our information technology infrastructure, or if
we fail to timely identify or appropriately respond to cyberattacks or other cyber incidents, our business can be adversely affected, resulting in transaction errors, processing inefficiencies, data loss, legal claims or proceedings, regulatory penalties, and the loss of sales and customers.
Similar risks exist with respect to third-party providers, including cloud-based service providers, that we rely upon for aspects of our information technology support services and administrative functions, including payroll processing, health and benefit plan administration and certain finance and accounting functions, and the systems managed, hosted, provided and/or used by such third parties and their vendors. The need to coordinate with various third-party service providers, including with respect to timely notification and access to personnel and information concerning an incident, may complicate our efforts to resolve issues that arise. As a result, we are subject to the risk that the activities associated with our third-party service providers can adversely affect our business even if the attack or breach does not directly impact our systems or information.
Although the cyber incidents and other systems disruptions that we have experienced to date have not had a material effect on our business, such incidents or disruptions could have a material adverse effect on us in the future. While we devote significant resources to network security, disaster recovery, employee training and other security measures to protect our systems and data, there are no assurances that such measures will protect us against all cyber incidents or systems disruptions. In addition, while we currently maintain insurance coverage that, subject to its terms and conditions, is intended to address costs associated with certain aspects of cyber incidents and information systems failures, this insurance coverage may not, depending on the specific facts and circumstances surrounding an incident, cover all losses or all types of claims that arise from an incident, or the damage to our reputation or brands that may result from an incident.
Failure to successfully complete or manage strategic transactions can adversely affect our business.
We regularly review our portfolio of businesses and evaluate potential acquisitions, joint ventures, distribution agreements, divestitures, refranchisings and other strategic transactions. The success of these transactions is dependent upon, among other things, our ability to realize the full extent of the expected returns, benefits, cost savings or synergies as a result of a transaction, within the anticipated time frame, or at all; receipt of necessary consents, clearances and approvals; and diversion of management’s attention from day-to-day operations. Risks associated with strategic transactions include integrating manufacturing, distribution, sales, accounting, financial reporting and administrative support activities and information technology systems with our company; operating through new business models or in new categories or territories; motivating, recruiting and retaining executives and key employees; conforming controls (including internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures) and policies (including with respect to environmental compliance, health and safety compliance and compliance with anti-bribery laws); retaining existing customers and consumers and attracting new customers and consumers; managing tax costs or inefficiencies; maintaining good relations with divested or refranchised businesses in our supply or sales chain; managing the impact of business decisions or other actions or omissions of our joint venture partners that may have different interests than we do; and other unanticipated problems or liabilities, such as contingent liabilities and litigation. Strategic transactions that are not successfully completed or managed effectively, or our failure to effectively manage the risks associated with such transactions, have in the past and could continue to result in adverse effects on our business.
Our reliance on third-party service providers can have an adverse effect on our business.
We rely on third-party service providers, including cloud data service providers, for certain areas of our business, including payroll processing, health and benefit plan administration and certain finance and accounting functions. Failure by these third parties to meet their contractual, regulatory and other obligations to us, or our failure to adequately monitor their performance, has in the past and could
continue to result in our inability to achieve the expected cost savings or efficiencies and result in additional costs to correct errors made by such service providers. Depending on the function involved, such errors can also lead to business disruption, systems performance degradation, processing inefficiencies or other systems disruptions, the loss of or damage to intellectual property or sensitive data through security breaches or otherwise, incorrect or adverse effects on financial reporting, litigation or remediation costs, damage to our reputation or have a negative impact on employee morale, all of which can adversely affect our business.
In addition, we continue on our multi-year business transformation initiative to migrate certain of our systems, including our financial processing systems, to enterprise-wide systems solutions. If we do not allocate and effectively manage the resources necessary to build and sustain the proper information technology infrastructure, or if we fail to achieve the expected benefits from this initiative, our business could be adversely affected.
Climate change or measures to address climate change can negatively affect our business or damage our reputation.
Climate change may have a negative effect on agricultural productivity which may result in decreased availability or less favorable pricing for certain commodities that are necessary for our products, such as potatoes, sugar cane, corn, wheat, rice, oats, oranges and other fruits (and fruit-derived oils). In addition, climate change may also increase the frequency or severity of natural disasters and other extreme weather conditions, which could impair our production capabilities, disrupt our supply chain or impact demand for our products. Also, concern over climate change may result in new or increased legal and regulatory requirements to reduce or mitigate the effects of climate change, which could result in significant increased costs and require additional investments in facilities and equipment. As a result, the effects of climate change can negatively affect our business and operations. In addition, any failure to achieve our goals with respect to reducing our impact on the environment or perception of a failure to act responsibly with respect to the environment or to effectively respond to regulatory requirements concerning climate change can lead to adverse publicity, resulting in an adverse effect on our business or damage to our reputation.
Strikes or work stoppages can cause our business to suffer.
Many of our employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements, and other employees may seek to be covered by collective bargaining agreements. Strikes or work stoppages or other business interruptions can occur if we are unable to renew, or enter into new, collective bargaining agreements on satisfactory terms and can impair manufacturing and distribution of our products, lead to a loss of sales, increase our costs or otherwise affect our ability to fully implement future operational changes to enhance our efficiency or to adapt to changing business needs or strategy, all of which can adversely affect our business.
Failure to realize benefits from our productivity initiatives can adversely affect our financial performance.
Our future growth depends, in part, on our ability to continue to reduce costs and improve efficiencies, including implementing shared business service organizational models. We continue to identify and implement productivity initiatives that we believe will position our business for long-term sustainable growth by allowing us to achieve a lower cost structure, improve decision-making and operate more efficiently. Some of these measures result in unintended consequences, such as business disruptions, distraction of management and employees, reduced morale and productivity, unexpected employee attrition, an inability to attract or retain key personnel and negative publicity. If we are unable to successfully implement our productivity initiatives as planned or do not achieve expected savings as a
result of these initiatives, we may not realize all or any of the anticipated benefits, resulting in adverse effects on our financial performance.
A deterioration in our estimates and underlying assumptions regarding the future performance of our business can result in an impairment charge that can adversely affect our results of operations.
We conduct impairment tests on our goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets annually or more frequently if circumstances indicate that impairment may have occurred. In addition, amortizable intangible assets, property, plant and equipment and other long-lived assets are evaluated for impairment upon a significant change in the operating or macroeconomic environment. A deterioration in our underlying assumptions regarding the impact of competitive operating conditions, macroeconomic conditions or other factors used to estimate the future performance of any of our reporting units or assets, including any deterioration in the weighted-average cost of capital based on market data available at the time, can result in an impairment, which can adversely affect our results of operations.
Fluctuations in exchange rates impact our financial performance.
Because our consolidated financial statements are presented in U.S. dollars, the financial statements of our subsidiaries outside the United States, where the functional currency is other than the U.S. dollar, are translated into U.S. dollars. Given our global operations, we also pay for the ingredients, raw materials and commodities used in our business in numerous currencies. Fluctuations in exchange rates, including as a result of currency controls or other currency exchange restrictions have had, and could continue to have, an adverse impact on our financial performance.
Our borrowing costs and access to capital and credit markets can be adversely affected by a downgrade or potential downgrade of our credit ratings.
Rating agencies routinely evaluate us and their ratings are based on a number of factors, including our cash generating capability, levels of indebtedness, policies with respect to shareholder distributions and our financial strength generally, as well as factors beyond our control, such as the state of the economy and our industry. We expect to maintain Tier 1 commercial paper access, which we believe will facilitate appropriate financial flexibility and ready access to global credit markets at favorable interest rates. Any downgrade or announcement that we are under review for a potential downgrade of our credit ratings, especially any downgrade to below investment grade, can increase our future borrowing costs, impair our ability to access capital and credit markets on terms commercially acceptable to us or at all, result in a reduction in our liquidity, or impair our ability to access the commercial paper market with the same flexibility that we have experienced historically (and therefore require us to rely more heavily on more expensive types of debt financing), all of which can adversely affect our financial performance.
Legal, Tax and Regulatory Risks
Taxes aimed at our products can adversely affect our business or financial performance.
Certain jurisdictions in which our products are sold have either imposed, or are considering imposing, new or increased taxes on the manufacture, distribution or sale of certain of our products, particularly our beverages, as a result of the ingredients or substances contained in our products. These taxes vary in scope and form: some apply to all beverages, including non-caloric beverages, while others apply only to beverages with a caloric sweetener (e.g., sugar). Similarly, some measures apply a single tax rate per ounce/liter on beverages containing over a certain amount of added sugar (or other sweetener), some apply a graduated tax rate depending upon the amount of added sugar (or other sweetener) in the beverage and others apply a flat tax rate on beverages containing any amount of added sugar (or other sweetener). For example, Poland enacted a graduated tax on all sweetened beverages, effective January 1, 2021, at a rate of PLN 0.5 (USD 0.12) per liter for drinks with a sugar (or other sweetener) content of up to 5g per 100ml and an additional PLN 0.05 (USD 0.01) for each gram of sugar (or other sweetener) over 5g. These tax measures, whatever their scope or form, have in the past and could continue to increase the cost of certain
of our products, reduce overall consumption of our products or lead to negative publicity, resulting in an adverse effect on our business and financial performance.
Limitations on the marketing or sale of our products can adversely affect our business and financial performance.
Certain jurisdictions in which our products are sold have either imposed, or are considering imposing, limitations on the marketing or sale of our products as a result of ingredients or substances in our products. These limitations require that we highlight perceived concerns about a product, warn consumers to avoid consumption of certain ingredients or substances present in our products, restrict the age of consumers to whom products are marketed or sold or limit the location in which our products may be available. For example, Mexico has imposed a stop-sign labeling scheme to signal the presence of non-caloric sweeteners and caffeine in pre-packaged foods and non-alcoholic beverages. Certain jurisdictions have imposed or are considering imposing color-coded labeling requirements where colors such as red, yellow and green are used to indicate various levels of a particular ingredient, such as sugar, sodium or saturated fat, in products. The imposition or proposed imposition of additional limitations on the marketing or sale of our products has in the past and could continue to reduce overall consumption of our products, lead to negative publicity or leave consumers with the perception that our products do not meet their health and wellness needs, resulting in an adverse effect on our business and financial performance.
Laws and regulations related to the use or disposal of plastics or other packaging can adversely affect our business and financial performance.
Certain of our products are sold in plastic or other packaging designed to be recyclable. However, not all packaging is recycled, whether due to lack of infrastructure or otherwise, and certain of our packaging is not currently recyclable. Packaging waste that displays one or more of our brands has in the past resulted in and could continue to result in negative publicity or reduced consumer demand for our products, adversely affecting our financial performance. Many jurisdictions in which our products are sold have imposed or are considering imposing regulations or policies intended to encourage the use of sustainable packaging, waste reduction or increased recycling rates or to restrict the sale of products utilizing certain packaging. These regulations vary in form and scope and include taxes to incentivize behavior, restrictions on certain products and materials, requirements for bottle caps to be tethered to bottles, bans on the use of single-use plastics, extended producer responsibility policies and requirements to charge deposit fees. For example, the European Union has imposed a minimum recycled content requirement for beverage bottles packaging and similar legislation is under consideration in several states in the United States. These laws and regulations have in the past and could continue to increase the cost of our products, impact demand for our products, result in negative publicity and require us and our business partners, including our independent bottlers, to increase our capital expenditures to invest in minimizing the amount of plastic or other materials used in our packaging or to develop alternative packaging, all of which can adversely affect our business and financial performance.
Failure to comply with personal data protection and privacy laws can adversely affect our business.
We are subject to a variety of continuously evolving and developing laws and regulations in numerous jurisdictions regarding personal data protection and privacy laws. These laws and regulations may be interpreted and applied differently from country to country or, within the United States, from state to state, and can create inconsistent or conflicting requirements. Our efforts to comply with these laws and regulations, including with respect to data from residents of the European Union who are covered by the General Data Protection Regulation or residents of the state of California who are covered by the California Consumer Privacy Act, impose significant costs and challenges that are likely to continue to increase over time. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations can result in litigation, claims, legal or regulatory proceedings, inquiries or investigations or damage to our reputation, all of which can adversely affect our business.
Increases in income tax rates, changes in income tax laws or disagreements with tax authorities can adversely affect our financial performance.
Increases in income tax rates or other changes in tax laws, including changes in how existing tax laws are interpreted or enforced, can adversely affect our financial performance. For example, economic and political conditions in countries where we are subject to taxes, including the United States, have in the past and could continue to result in significant changes in tax legislation or regulation, including as a result of any changes enacted during the new U.S. presidential administration. The increasingly complex global tax environment has in the past and could continue to increase tax uncertainty, resulting in higher compliance costs and adverse effects on our financial performance. We are also subject to regular reviews, examinations and audits by numerous taxing authorities with respect to income and non-income based taxes. Economic and political pressures to increase tax revenues in jurisdictions in which we operate, or the adoption of new or reformed tax legislation or regulation, may make resolving tax disputes more difficult and the final resolution of tax audits and any related litigation can differ from our historical provisions and accruals, resulting in an adverse effect on our financial performance.
If we are unable to adequately protect our intellectual property rights, or if we are found to infringe on the intellectual property rights of others, our business can be adversely affected.
We possess intellectual property rights that are important to our business, including ingredient formulas, trademarks, copyrights, patents, business processes and other trade secrets. The laws of various jurisdictions in which we operate have differing levels of protection of intellectual property. Our competitive position and the value of our products and brands can be reduced and our business adversely affected if we fail to obtain or adequately protect our intellectual property, including our ingredient formulas, or if there is a change in law that limits or removes the current legal protections afforded our intellectual property. Also, if, in the course of developing new products or improving the quality of existing products, we are found to have infringed on the intellectual property rights of others, directly or indirectly, such finding can damage our reputation and limit our ability to introduce new products or improve the quality of existing products, resulting in an adverse effect on our business.
Failure to comply with laws and regulations applicable to our business can adversely affect our business.
The conduct of our business is subject to numerous laws and regulations relating to the production, storage, distribution, sale, display, advertising, marketing, labeling, content (including whether a product contains genetically engineered ingredients), quality, safety, transportation, traceability, packaging, disposal, recycling and use of our products, employment and occupational health and safety, environmental matters (including pesticide use) and data privacy and protection. In addition, in many jurisdictions, compliance with competition laws is of special importance to us due to our competitive position, as is compliance with anti-corruption laws. The imposition of new laws, changes in laws or regulatory requirements or changing interpretations thereof, and differing or competing regulations and standards across the markets where our products are made, manufactured, distributed or sold, have in the past and could continue to result in higher compliance costs, capital expenditures and higher production costs, resulting in adverse effects on our business. In addition, if one jurisdiction imposes or proposes to impose new laws or regulations that impact the manufacture, distribution or sale of our products, other jurisdictions can often follow. Failure to comply with such laws or regulations can subject us to criminal or civil enforcement actions, including fines, injunctions, product recalls, penalties, disgorgement of profits or activity restrictions, all of which can adversely affect our business.
Potential liabilities and costs from litigation, claims, legal or regulatory proceedings, inquiries or investigations can have an adverse impact on our business.
We and our subsidiaries are party to a variety of litigation, claims, legal or regulatory proceedings, inquiries and investigations, including but not limited to matters related to our advertising, marketing or commercial practices, product labels, claims and ingredients, intellectual property rights, environmental, privacy, employment, tax and insurance matters and matters relating to our compliance with applicable laws and regulations. These matters are inherently uncertain and there is no guarantee that we will be successful in defending ourselves or that our assessment of the materiality of these matters and the likely outcome or potential losses and established reserves will be consistent with the ultimate outcome of such matters. Responding to these matters, even those that are ultimately non-meritorious, requires us to incur significant expense and devote significant resources, and may generate adverse publicity that damages our reputation or brand image. Any of the foregoing can adversely affect our business.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.
We have received no written comments regarding our periodic or current reports from the staff of the SEC that were issued 180 days or more preceding the end of our 2020 year and that remain unresolved.