Not-so-secret ingredient: sugar; secret ingredient: tar sands.

Why Soda Companies?

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Dr. Pepper are the three largest beverage and snack companies in the United States. They own and operate some of the largest vehicle fleets in the country — together upwards of 100,000 cars and trucks in North America — making them a major consumer of oil.

These three companies generated a combined total profit of over $66 billion in 2012. PepsiCo alone owns 22 billion-dollar brands (including Gatorade, Lay's, Cheetos, and Quaker Oats), the largest number of billion-dollar food and beverage brands owned by any company worldwide. To support these operations, PepsiCo operates tens of thousands of distribution routes and hundreds of manufacturing facilities. Coca-Cola, the largest soda company in the world, generated 5.32 million metric tons of carbon pollution in 2011, while together Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Dr. Pepper emitted more than 11.7 million tons of carbon pollution in 2011.

Each of these companies has taken steps to reduce their carbon pollution, from buying high-efficiency vehicles to changing delivery, production, and packaging. But there is enormous potential to lead the nation in further reducing fuel use and driving fuel-efficient technology and practices.

These companies care deeply about consumer feedback, so when consumers ask them to lead on climate solutions, we know they will listen. Washington, D.C., remains gridlocked, and oil companies continue their multimillion-dollar climate-denial PR campaign. But these companies have three great reasons to act without delay: First, to protect and strengthen their brand by being climate leaders; second, to reduce fuel usage and save money; and third, to do the right thing for their next generation of customers.

To date, the climate movement has largely given big corporate oil consumers a free pass. Those days are over. With the Future Fleet Campaign, the Sierra Club and ForestEthics are shining a bright spotlight on the need for greater corporate leadership to head off a climate crisis, starting with oil consumption.

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