Frito-Lay’s Sunchips Brand and National Geographic Join Forces to Launch the “Green Effect”

April 21, 2009

PepsiCo’s Snack Unit Kicks Off National Initiative on Earth Day to Help Consumers Turn Their Green Ideas into Action

PLANO, Texas - Inspired by the belief that small steps can create big change, SunChips, PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division’s popular line of multigrain snacks, and National Geographic today announced the launch of the Green Effect, a national initiative that encourages consumers to take their own small steps toward helping the planet. Starting on Earth Day, consumers can submit their ideas on how to make their communities greener, for the chance to win one of five $20,000 grants that will help turn their green ideas into reality.

“When the SunChips brand first started its sustainability journey, we discovered there are so many innovative ideas out there, which can have a positive impact on the planet. While we’re very proud of the steps we’ve taken, we believe that mobilizing people to take their own steps can create big change,” said Gannon Jones, vice president, portfolio marketing, Frito-Lay North America. “By partnering with National Geographic, we’re offering consumers the opportunity to bring those ideas to life in their communities.  Our goal for the Green Effect is to start a groundswell by inspiring those individuals and organizations who want to improve the world around them in a sustainable way.”

Participants can upload their ideas to from April 22 to June 8, 2009 in an essay that describes their green idea, its impact on the local community and how the grant money will be used.

Ten finalists will be selected in early July 2009 by a panel of judges including National Geographic’s Boyd Matson. Ultimately, five winners will be selected – four by a second panel of prestigious judges and one by consumers through online voting.  Each of the five winners will receive a $20,000 grant to fund their green project. Additionally, the winners and their earth-friendly ideas will be profiled in National Geographic magazine and will travel to Washington, DC to share their projects with environmental leaders.

"Can one person make a difference? Absolutely,” said Boyd Matson, National Geographic Weekend host and Green Effect judge. “The power of small steps is that every step counts; they build on each other so that eventually you can make a big difference. Not only do we want to challenge consumers to submit their ideas, but we also want to inspire them – even if it’s just to listen and learn about something they hadn’t thought of before - so that the Green Effect takes on a life of its own.”

The Green Effect initiative is the second collaboration between Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo, and National Geographic. Earlier this year, Frito-Lay and National Geographic teamed up to create a unique editorial supplement entitled, “Solutions for A Better World: A Lighter Footprint.” The supplement, which was polybagged with National Geographic magazine, detailed the world’s current dependency on fossil fuels and delves into the realities of alternative solutions including; solar energy, wind power, biofuels, recycling and water conservation. The Solutions supplement allowed National Geographic editors additional paging to discuss critical issues facing the world today.

“We have a long history and a deep commitment to reporting on environmental issues in the magazine,” said Chris Johns’ editor-in-chief of National Geographic magazine. “We were delighted that Frito-Lay’s support provided us the additional opportunity to share more information with our readers on this incredibly important subject.”

The Green Effect program is another small step in the SunChips brand’s sustainability journey.  Most recently, the SunChips brand announced that in 2010, it will introduce the first fully compostable snack chip bag made from plant-based renewable materials.

On Earth Day 2008, the SunChips brand celebrated a major milestone by inaugurating a solar concentrator field at Frito-Lay’s Modesto, California facility.  There, the power of the sun is harnessed to help in the production of SunChips snacks. The Modesto plant is one of seven Frito-Lay plants across the country that makes SunChips snacks.

In 2008, the city of Greensburg, Kansas was tragically struck by a devastating tornado that destroyed nearly all of the community.  When the city decided to rebuild as an eco-friendly town, the SunChips brand stepped up to help rebuild the community.  The brand raised funds to re-plant trees and donated $1 million to help build the business incubator which houses 10 local businesses and helps provide the economic infrastructure to support the return of Greensburg residents.

SunChips multigrain snacks, originally introduced in 1991, contain a full serving of whole grains, 0 grams of trans fats, and are made with sunflower oil.  SunChips snacks, available in Original, Harvest Cheddar, French Onion, Garden Salsa and Peppercorn Ranch flavors, provide 18 grams of whole grains per one ounce serving from a blend of corn, oats and wheat.

Frito-Lay North America is the $11 billion convenient foods business unit of PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), which is headquartered in Purchase, NY.  In addition to Frito-Lay, PepsiCo business units include Pepsi-Cola, Quaker Foods, Gatorade and Tropicana.  Learn more about Frito-Lay at the corporate Web site,, and the Snack Chat blog,

The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. National Geographic reflects the world through its magazines, television programs, films, music and radio, books, DVDs, maps, exhibitions, school publishing programs, interactive media and merchandise. National Geographic magazine, the Society’s official journal, published in English and 31 local-language editions, is read by more than 40 million people each month. The National Geographic Channel reaches 305 million households in 34 languages in 165 countries. National Geographic Digital Media receives more than 12 million visitors a month. National Geographic has funded more than 9,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program combating geography illiteracy. For more information, visit