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Identifying Customer Education as a Sustainability Issue Faced by PepsiCo

Discuss about the Sustainability Studio for Journal of Management Education.

Sustainability is the ability to continue at a particular level. According to my opinion, it is the capability to maintain the process over the long term. The sustainability stresses meeting the needs of the present without comprising the ability of future generations. The sustainability issues create a problem in meeting the goals of the company. In this report, I have identified the customer education issue as a sustainability issue faced by PepsiCo which is a food and beverage company. Further, the solutions are given to mitigating issues. The stakeholders are identified with the engagement. The stakeholders are defined with examples. Finally, the list of the requirements of the previously identified stakeholders has been bringing in the notice.

As per my opinion customer education is the issue which a company has to face in order to sustain in the environment. Our company transforms it’s portfolio regularly by offering healthier food and wide choices of products. The customer education provides the instructional activity about the products of PepsiCo. The company provides information, skills, and abilities required to become an informed customer (Perrott, 2015). It is not all about the advertising and marketing of products. In the advertising and marketing, an attempt is made to persuade customers whereas customer education aims to provide all the relevant information to customers regarding products.

I have experienced that there has been hesitation in educating customers for many reasons. It is believed that the more knowledgeable a customer is, more likely to shop around and choose another option. It provides added leverage to the customers if they are given too much information about the product. I believe that there are some benefits which result from improving customer’s knowledge. The issue faced in providing customer education is that it drives away the potential customers. I have experienced that the customers appear to be less concerned if the information is revealed to them and the lack of differentiation in service outcomes (Markley Rountree & Koernig, 2015).

The customers require information on the sustainability of products. The customers feel ill-informed about the information of products. Such issues are acknowledged through the purchasing decision of customers (Long, Tallontire & Young, 2015). The customers require preferring more information on the products whether the products are healthy; the packaging is recyclable, use of chemicals and more. The issues in which customers are less interested are less important information and sustainability impacts such as seasonal produce and treatment of overseas suppliers.

Solutions for Mitigating the Customer Education Issue

The issue of customer education can be mitigated by the understanding of who customers are. The workshops and programs help customers to learn about the features of the product. As a result, a large segment of people can be connected to the company. As per my view, the customer education includes the following steps:

Start with the customer: Before making any strategy for the customers’ education, it is required to understand customers. The strength and lacks of products should be identified in order to present products to the customers. The customers can only be effectively educated after uncovering these facts (Gürhan-Canli, Hayran & Sarial-Abi, 2016).

Invest in content: The content is the king especially when the customers are liked to collect information online. There are online links provided by the company which educates customers and compares the quality of different products. The effective education also requires accurate and concise information.

Become hands-on: The POS displays the information about products. The customers can update themselves by using hands-on features. The customers enjoy being able to touch and feel and better resound with the offering.

The customer education issues can also be resolved by making use of social media such as Instagram, Twitter etc. It helps to target a specific group of customers and integrate the issues to increase engagement of customers. The social media platforms help to inform, educate and connect with customers on the issues (Annan-Diab & Molinari, 2017). The cause-based marketing helps to promote the issues customers and company cares about. The social media and other prospects educate and entertain customers about the products build brand awareness and increases revenue. 

As per my opinion, the stakeholders are the persons, group, and organisations who represent interest or concern in the company. They are affected by the actions, objectives, and policies of the PepsiCo.  I experienced that PepsiCo is dedicated to continued engagement with its stakeholders. It first understands the wide variety of topics to meet the expectation of stakeholders. They contribute essential external viewpoints that inform decisions and strategies of the company. I believe that stakeholders are the powerful partners who encourage the company to take action and improve progress. As a part of the company, we try to integrate the insights and expectations of stakeholders at every stage of operations (Andriof, Waddock, Husted & Rahman, 2017). It helps to receive valuable feedback from stakeholders as they have important external viewpoints which help to develop sound positions and take good decisions. Their guidance on performance helps to guide and identifies emerging issues.

Engaging Stakeholders

It is seen that the company is committed to regular engagement with the stakeholders. As a part of the company, we discuss portfolio strategy, capital allocation, sustainability, and CSR with the stakeholders to solicit feedback. The stakeholders are engaged through the active participation in the corporate governance organisations such as Harvard Law School Program on Corporate Governance, Council of institutional investors and more. The company also engages with the stakeholders on the important issues such as climate change, water scarcity, customers’ education and health. The consumers as stakeholders are engaged through social media, 24-hour toll-free phone lines and volunteer programmes (Hollebeek, Srivastava & Chen, 2016). The employees are engaged through human resource representatives, employee forums and individual action plans. The engagement with suppliers is maintained through the in-person meetings, environmental supplier programs, and the webinars. The investors are tied up through the annual general meetings and investor forums (Whitehead, 2017).

The stakeholders are the persons who own share in the business. The stakeholders have responsibilities towards the company and its success and failure. I have observed that stakeholders are affected by the actions, objectives, and policies of the company. The examples of stakeholders are given below:

Shareholders: The shareholders are a division of the stakeholder’s category. The shareholders are automatically stakeholders as they have invested funds in the business. The shareholders are more anticipated to lose their money in the event of a shutdown (Wali & Wright, 2016). They are paid at last by the company from the remaining funds.

Creditors: They lend money to the company. The creditors may or may not have a safe interest in the assets of the company. They can be paid back from the sales of the assets of the company. They are paid before the stockholders at the event of a business shut down (Cheung, et. al. 2015).

Employees: The employees are considered stakeholders as their employment is constantly tied to the success of the company. If the company fails, they may be paid compensation but loses other income streams.

Suppliers: The suppliers are stakeholders and the substantial proportion of their revenue comes from the company. If the company alters it’s purchasing policies then it impacts most to the suppliers (Khan, Serafeim & Yoon, 2016).

Local community: The local community is the most indirect party of stakeholders and stands to lose the company’s business if it fails. 

I have observed that PepsiCo addresses the requirements of identified stakeholders in its global citizen policy. It serves as the primary strategy for CSR. The stakeholders’ requirements are the requirements which are collected from the stakeholders such as business units, operation teams, customers, users, communities and subject matter experts (Fernandez-Feijoo, Romero & Ruiz, 2014). The examples identified of the stakeholder requirements are given below:

Identifying Stakeholders and Their Requirements

Business units: The business units provide detailed requirements depending on the role of stakeholders in the project. It includes functionality, features and quality requirements.

Operations: The operational requirements comprise maintenance features of the software. The operations teams contribute constraints such as related to the proficiencies of the product line of the company.

Customers: The customers may contribute ideas for the quality. For instance, customers with kids prefer small packing.

Users: The users of the products of the company asked to contribute ideas for functionality, features, usability, and value (Lawrence & Weber, 2014). The users of the products of PepsiCo are primarily interested in the quality features.

Subject matter experts: The requirements expected from the subject matter experts in the areas such as architecture, design, usability, technology, legal and compliance.


The customer education is a critical tool to assist the sustainable development. The customer education enables an opportunity to nurture potential customer relationships which actually helped PepsiCo to establish itself in the industry. The company has implemented a comprehensive education programme to understand the different requirements of customers. The above report has discussed the customer education issue as a sustainability issue faced by the PepsiCo. The discussion is also made on mitigating the issue. The stakeholders are identified with their engagement. Further, the stakeholders are identified with the examples. Finally, the requirements of the previously stakeholders are identified.


Andriof, J., Waddock, S., Husted, B. and Rahman, S.S., 2017. Unfolding stakeholder engagement. In Unfolding stakeholder thinking (pp. 19-42). Routledge.

Annan-Diab, F. and Molinari, C., 2017. Interdisciplinarity: Practical approach to advancing education for sustainability and for the Sustainable Development Goals. The International Journal of Management Education, 15(2), pp.73-83.

Cheung, S.K., Yuen, K.S., Li, K.C., Tsang, E.Y. and Wong, A., 2015. Open textbooks: engaging education stakeholders to share learning resources. International Journal of Services and Standards, 10(4), pp.225-239.

Fernandez-Feijoo, B., Romero, S. and Ruiz, S., 2014. Effect of stakeholders’ pressure on transparency of sustainability reports within the GRI framework. Journal of business ethics, 122(1), pp.53-63.

Gürhan-Canli, Z., Hayran, C. and Sarial-Abi, G., 2016. Customer-based brand equity in a technologically fast-paced, connected, and constrained environment. AMS review, 6(1-2), pp.23-32.

Hollebeek, L.D., Srivastava, R.K. and Chen, T., 2016. SD logic–informed customer engagement: integrative framework, revised fundamental propositions, and application to CRM. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, pp.1-25.

Khan, M., Serafeim, G. and Yoon, A., 2016. Corporate sustainability: First evidence on materiality. The accounting review, 91(6), pp.1697-1724.

Lawrence, A.T. and Weber, J., 2014. Business and society: Stakeholders, ethics, public policy. Tata McGraw-Hill Education.

Long, T.B., Tallontire, A. and Young, W., 2015. CSR, voluntary standards and sustainability. In Sustainability (Vol. 199, No. 218, pp. 199-218). ROUTLEDGE in association with GSE Research.

Markley Rountree, M. and Koernig, S.K., 2015. Values-based education for sustainability marketers: two approaches for enhancing student social consciousness. Journal of Marketing Education, 37(1), pp.5-24.

Perrott, B.E., 2015. Building the sustainable organization: an integrated approach. Journal of Business Strategy, 36(1), pp.41-51.

Wali, A.F. and Wright, L.T., 2016. Customer relationship management and service quality: Influences in higher education. Journal of Customer Behaviour, 15(1), pp.67-79.

Whitehead, J., 2017. Prioritizing sustainability indicators: Using materiality analysis to guide sustainability assessment and strategy. Business Strategy and the Environment, 26(3), pp.399-412.

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